Ad­dressed for the part

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence Up A Fire-breathing Mountain, - SU­SAN KUROSAWA

IF you wear ‘ ‘ your sex­i­est red shoes’’ on a Fri­day to the bar at Stam­ford Plaza Mel­bourne be­tween 5.30pm and 7.30pm, your first flute of Moet et Chan­don is on the house. It’s not clear if only ladies are en­cour­aged to slip on such dar­ing footwear. When it comes to the chaps, pos­si­bly just cir­cus clowns and cer­tain cruise-ship pas­sen­gers are shod in red these days, but it all sounds like good fun.

Ho­tels must be ul­tra-com­pet­i­tive these days and the Sin­ga­pore-head­quar­tered Stam­ford chain knows its way around value-add pack­ages. Its Stam­ford Plaza Mel­bourne prop­erty, fresh from a $10 mil­lion makeover, has pack­ages and deals galore; there’s no one-size-fits-all rate here.

The ho­tel fea­tures an all-suite in­ven­tory and space is not an is­sue in one, two or three­bed­room units, each equipped with good lit­tle kitchens. It’s a great op­tion for fam­ily stays or for those who want to pre­pare their own meals and snacks.

David Jones food hall is nearby, and a per­fect place to pro­vi­sion; or drop into Myer’s women’s store and have a shopper’s pick-me-up at Em­po­ria Cafe, which is lo­cated, rather dan­ger­ously, off cos­met­ics and fra­grances. Cof­fee and gooey cakes are ex­cel­lent, and light lunches (beef shank and veg pies with salad, frit­tata and the like) rep­re­sent good value, with Aus­tralian wine by the glass.

Back at Stam­ford Plaza Mel­bourne, it’s an ex­cel­lent touch, too, that all Aus­tralian-de­signed fur­nish­ings have been used in the re­fur­bish­ment. The feel of the suites is tac­tile and el­e­gant, in golds and strik­ing blues, with crys­tal lamp bases and lots of pol­ished wooden sur­faces. There are flat-screen tele­vi­sions in both the lounge room and the mas­ter bed­room, so it’s all very cosy and invit­ing.

The 283-suite prop­erty stands tall just off the so-called Paris end of Collins Street be­tween Rus­sell and Ex­hi­bi­tion streets. It’s no ur­ban hip­ster but is com­posed of 16-storey east and west tow­ers with two glass el­e­va­tors that soar up an atrium from the mar­bled lobby in the main build­ing like a ( mod­er­ately fast) launch­ing rocket. It’s al­most retro in this re­gard, a tad mini-Ve­gas.

There’s a small­ish in­door rooftop pool and two mini-gyms but you’ll need to look else­where for a pam­per­ing day spa.

While there’s a per­fectly ac­cept­able break­fast on of­fer at the ho­tel’s street-level Harry’s Restau­rant (barista cof­fee; the Ja­panese buf­fet sec­tion, in par­tic­u­lar, is fab), head down Al­fred Place to­wards Collins Street to Comme restau­rant for pe­tit de­je­uner with a stylish con­ti­nen­tal twist.

And for drinks on evenings other than Fri­day, and with footwear in op­tional colours, try the ground-floor bar at the con­vivial Comme for wines by the glass and natty cock­tails.

It’s a high-ceilinged space with jel­ly­fish-like pen­dant lights and a good lit­tle menu fea­tur­ing the likes of mini burg­ers and fries or char­cu­terie plates and bar snacks such as mar­i­nated olives or or­ganic al­monds.

And if Comme seems fa­mil­iar, this build­ing used to house the fa­bled Mi­etta’s. Lo­ca­tion wins ev­ery time.

The Stam­ford Plaza Mel­bourne fea­tures an all-suite in­ven­tory

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