Where to stay in Melbourne

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Melbourne is a captivating mix of old and new, and some of the most colourful addresses (both literally and figuratively) are the most central. The bluestone-cobbled paths and lavish arcades in the Central Business District make big-city sightseeing unusually interesting.

We would miss out if we didn’t broaden our horizons, though. Across the Yarra River, Southbank is like a modern extension of the CBD, with brilliant river views; the Inner East and South Yarra brim with Victorian architecture and opportunities for gourmet grazing; and St. Kilda invites you to enjoy a laid-back seaside stay.

Melbourne CBD

Just for the handy location, Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD) would be worth your while. But it’s also an excellent base for its historic-yet-trendy character and plenty of things to do.

Must experiences, street art-decorated laneways from the 19th century add energy with an array of unique places to eat, drink and shop. So does the bustling Queen Victoria Market, running several days a week in heritage-listed food halls.

Along the murky Yarra River, Flinders Street Station — Australia’s oldest train station, opened in 1854 — overlooks Federation Square. Stop by for the art institutions, like the renowned Ian Potter Centre showcasing Australian works.

When staying in the both convenient and charismatic CBD, you can walk to most places of interest. Yet, consider taking advantage of the free (within the city centre) tram rides.

Best hotels in Melbourne CBD

Meriton King Street

Relish simplistic luxury in the front row for sightseeing; the nearby Southern Cross train station and tram stops provide effortless connections.

Rydges Melbourne

Pick from rooms, suites and apartments inspired by the Australian landscape, involving romantic, warm colours. Bonus: The rooftop pool and outdoor terrace radiate holiday vibes.

Veriu Queen Victoria

There’s no finer place to stay for Queen Victoria Market, located across the road. The neatly equipped boutique suites make preparing purchased delicacies simple.

Two men having a discussion in the shade under an eucalyptus tree on Federation Square in central Melbourne
Hang out on Federation Square in the CBD.

Southbank

Hop over the bridges to the south side of the Yarra River to find a much different atmosphere. Once an industrial area, Southbank nowadays boasts contemporary living and entertainment.

Along the riverfront, a myriad of posh hotels and restaurants, plus the Crown Casino, line up. For the (hemisphere’s) highest public vantage point, ascend to the 88th floor Skydeck of the Eureka Tower.

The modern streetscape continues into neighboring South Wharf, where The Boatbuilders Yard is a prime spot for a light meal or drink. For heavy discounts on clothing, hit the popular Direct Factory Outlet (DFO) instead.

A true treasure trove, the National Gallery of Victoria harbours the state’s, and maybe Australia’s, finest international art collection. Also within easy reach, South Melbourne Market has been a foodie institution since 1867.

But with the central location of Southbank — think of it as an extension of the CBD — comes almost limitless sightseeing opportunities from any of these hotels.

Best hotels in Southbank

Quay West Suites

These upscale suites (some almost ridiculously large) are nicely situated along the river promenade, with Flinders Street Station across the Princes Bridge.

Crown Towers

You don’t have to gamble to have fun at Crown Towers. Take advantage of the five-star facilities, including an impressive 25-m swimming pool.

Adina Apartments

Make a spacious unit with a private kitchenette or kitchen your temporary Melbourne home.

Southbank's imposing skyline, including the Eureka Tower and Australia 108, soaring over the trees in lush Kings Domain
Marvel at Southbank’s soaring skyscrapers.

Inner East

Unfurling directly east of the CBD, the Inner East lacks major sights but makes up for it with beautiful Victorian architecture, generous green spaces and a paradisiacal culinary landscape.

For a memorable drink or bite, make your way over to Fitzroy and Collingwood. Then, lose yourself amid the classic pubs, buzzing wine bars and acclaimed restaurants, like fancy Cutler & Co., on Brunswick Street, Gertrude Street and Smith Street (and adjoining backstreets).

To find your inner zen, visit the Abbotsford Convent on the Yarra River or Fitzroy Gardens (ironically south of the Fitzroy suburb). All trails in the latter seem to lead to Cook’s Cottage, built in England in 1755 by the parents of Captain James Cook but later moved Down Under.

Sports lovers thrive at Melbourne Cricket Ground, with a capacity of 100,024, the biggest in Australia. A tennis hotspot, Melbourne Park and its Rod Laver Arena is the place to be during the high-spirited Australian Open each January.

Best hotels in the Inner East

Veriu Collingwood

A shining example of luxurious industrial design, Veriu Collingwood features 95 suites within steps of buzzing Smith Street. Be sure to allow time for the delightful rooftop pool area.

Tyrian Fitzroy

Guests return for the central Fitzroy vantage point — Brunswick Street is around the corner — and spacious, well-equipped apartments.

Quest Collingwood

Stylish units with 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms await at Quest, providing a handy location for both Smith Street and Gertrude Street.

Captain Cook's Cottage behind a hedge and surrounded by magnificent green trees in Fitzroy Gardens
Cook’s Cottage — an Inner East time capsule.

South Yarra

How about a high-end Melbourne experience? Resting next to the Royal Botanic Gardens, only two train stations (or a highly scenic one-hour walk) from the CBD, South Yarra has long been a stronghold for the upper class.

The main drag, Chapel Street grabs your attention with boutiques selling fancy international brands and the latest from Aussie designers. When you need to power up, the many chic coffee shops and gourmet restaurants have you covered.

There’s an abundance of eye-catching architecture, from terrace houses to mansions, too. The most stately example is the 1847 Como House, aka “the white house on the hill”; stop by to relax in the ample gardens or book a tour for insights into how the nobility used to live.

Best hotels in South Yarra

Ovolo South Yarra

The Ovolo keeps things interesting with a bold retro design. Secure one of the four Rock Star suites if you feel extra playful.

Oaks South Yarra

Make your hard-earned dollars go longer without sacrificing comfort by staying at the Oaks, conveniently sitting next to South Yarra Station.

Couple walking on path next to colourful flowerbeds in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne
Cross the gardens between South Yarra and the CBD.

St. Kilda & beyond

You can feel sand under your feet without being more than a 20-minute drive or 30-minute tram ride from the CBD. In relaxed St. Kilda, the city meets the beach.

Extending out from the palm-flanked beach promenade, the landmark pier offers fabulous views of Melbourne’s skyline, Port Phillip Bay and, at dusk, little penguins returning from sea. Along the shore, laid-back Donovans, Republica and fancier Stokehouse are top spots to refuel.

Across the street, the Hotel Esplanade, aka “The Espy”, features an iconic live music scene. For a wide selection of restaurants, bars and shops, head over to the nearby hubs of Fitzroy Street and Acland Street.

Families flock to Luna Park, an amusement park dating back to 1912. Enter through the nostalgic Mr Moon mouth for a delicate mix of old-time attractions and stomach-churning thrill rides.

Craving a proper beach escape? Consider the classic Mornington Peninsula, with an abundance of magnificent beaches, an hour’s drive to the south.

Best hotels in St. Kilda & beyond

The Prince

In welcoming St. Kilda spirit, The Prince provides accommodation in a bright Art Deco building where Fitzroy Street meets Acland Street. Some come just to dine, drink or listen to live music.

Hotel Sorrento

Be overwhelmed by the idyll at the limestone Hotel Sorrento, far (90 minutes) away from the CBD. Within steps is a pier and tranquil beach, making the timeless appeal of the Mornington Peninsula unmistakable.

A sand trail leading to a near-empty beach on the Mornington Peninsula
Hit the stunning beaches south of Melbourne.

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