IT’S THE FINALS COUNTDOWN
When it comes to city real estate, Melbourne’s Southbank is a bit of a hog. The central waterfront strip along the Yarra River brims with restaurants, outlet stores, the Arts Centre and the Crown complex. The building of new hotels within the past two years has also broadened accommodation options, with more construction to come.
“Southbank will continue to change and develop, with the NGV Contemporary art gallery starting construction soon and due to be finished in 2020,” Visit Victoria CEO Peter Bingeman says.
And with the MCG only a 25-minute walk away, as football finals fever descends, if you’re headed to the heartland for the big game, Southbank is the ideal base.
“If you don’t have tickets to the game, don’t worry as the city will be buzzing and there are so many fantastic venues around the city to catch the game,” Peter says.
After the final siren, follow fans through Birrarung Marr on the walk from the MCG to Southbank for celebrations (or lamentations).
We found three hotels suitable for all budgets.
* RATES CURRENT AT TIME OF PRINT
OAKS SOUTHBANK OVERNIGHT RATE
FROM $149 (ONE-BEDROOM APARTMENT)
Make yourself at home in one of the apartments in this twoyear-young tower, with views across to Eureka Skydeck and Yarra River. With timber flooring, floor-to-ceiling windows, chic urban kitchens and spacious balconies, you could easily imagine yourself moving in permanently. The seventh Oaks Hotels & Resorts property to open in Melbourne, they’ve got the formula down pat, balancing self-contained perks – full kitchen, washing machine and dryer – with hotel services like daily housekeeping and 24-hour reception. Free Wi-Fi is capped at 30 minutes a day but with the city’s cultural precinct at your feet, you’ll likely not spend much time glued to your screen anyway. If you don’t feel like cooking, the Crown complex and its array of restaurants is a 15-minute walk away. Undercover parking is available for $30 a night.
NOVOTEL MELBOURNE SOUTH WHARF OVERNIGHT RATE FROM $220 (QUEEN ROOM)
The new Novotel Melbourne South Wharf glows like a golden beacon, rising 26 storeys from the historic maritime precinct adjacent to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. From the cheery “Bonjour” above the bed to the velvet-backed work chair and backlit bathroom mirror, rooms feel stylish and chic with views across the city or to Port Phillip Bay. Head to Mr Carpano (named after Italian distiller Antonio Carpano, the inventor of Vermouth) for $5 happy hour and enjoy aperitif with crispy Italian treats ideal for sharing before dinner. You’ll find coffee and dessert served in the cosy Allora lounge. Right next door to DFO and within cooee of Etihad Stadium, you’re easily connected to all of Southbank’s attractions on foot. A stop for the free City Circle Tram is also close by.
THE LANGHAM MELBOURNE OVERNIGHT RATE FROM $410 (EXECUTIVE ROOM)
Upholding its luxurious brand of hospitality on Southbank Promenade since 2005, The Langham was recently named No. 1 city hotel in Australia by Travel + Leisure. Overlooking iconic Flinders Street station and steps away from Royal Botanic Gardens and National Gallery of Victoria, rooms here offer classic elegance with twin or king bed options, marble bathtubs, plush robes and nightly turndown service. For serious R ‘n’ R, go for an Executive Room to access the hotel’s private club lounge (hello, complimentary drinks and canapés!). Don’t miss a classic high tea complemented by the tinkling of ivories in Aria Bar & Lounge. Treat yourself to a Doctor BABOR facial in Chuan Spa, hit the fitness centre for yoga, pilates or strength classes, and pack your bathers for the indoor/outdoor pool and jacuzzi.