Situated on Melbourne’s Southbank, Crown Towers Melbourne is a bastion of grand sophistication. Every bit of the hotel has been meticulously planned to give guests the ultimate luxury hotel experience. But rather than being stuffy and staid, it’s all done with casual grace.
Though in the heart of the city, the hotel sits just far enough away from the main central business district area to offer respite from the shopping, dining and business hub – but you’re still within a 10-minute walk of the best of everything Melbourne has to offer. Except maybe the beaches, but you can hop on a train at Flinders Street Station for that.
With a list of facilities as long as your arm, the hotel is so much more than just a place to crash at night. There are gorgeous wellness facilities, decadent fine-dining experiences, and well-connected business amenities.
Hidden in discrete corners of the hotel are some of Melbourne’s best dining offerings. Any dining experience here should begin with an aperitif at The Waiting Room, the lobby bar where drinks are served with a side of live piano tunes.
A who’s who of the culinary world has converged on Crown Towers in the form of extravagant restaurants that you’ll need to book well in advance to get into (though the hotel concierge desk will be more than happy to try to get you a last-minute booking). Here, you’ll find the Melbourne outposts of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Nobu, as well as Rosetta Ristorante and Rockpool Bar & Grill, a chic Italian restaurant and unique steakhouse concept, respectively, both by Australian chef Neil Perry.
For more casual dining, the hotel also houses Koko, an award-winning Japanese concept where guests can grab a table at the bar for teppanyaki, as well as sushi, sashimi and other Japanese dishes. Then there’s Conservatory, where Crown Towers elevates the hotel buffet restaurant experience to a fine art – the breakfast is a sprawling buffet that features live stations for eggs (any way you want them) and pancakes and waffles, along with a wealth of pastries, fruits, yogurts and Asian offerings.
Take the most luxurious setting you can imagine, throw in a dash of sophisticated modernity, and you’ll have a good idea of the aesthetics at Crown Towers. Australian firm Bates Smarts masterminded the design here when the hotel opened in 1997, and also oversaw the renovations in 2011. The result is unfettered opulence with a thought spared for intuitive practicality.
The lobby is the heart of the hotel’s design concept. The sweeping space is dominated by an 11-meter atrium of high-gloss black granite marble, and a grand, distinctive chandelier. Elsewhere, Porto Romano columns lend a touch of classic Romanesque charm.
The grand design features a slight echo of Art Deco elegance in the various lines and finishings, but it’s the materials and color scheme that really add the lush factor. Think marble, high-finish leather, and thick drapery in shades of black, gold, silver and cream.
Crown Towers houses 481 rooms across seven categories, each one a spacious retreat done up in grand style and offering spectacular views of the city of bay. In keeping with the sumptuous feel of the hotel, rooms are spacious, comfortably and beyond well-appointed. There is custom-made bedding, plush furnishings and finishings, plenty of technology, and sprawling marble bathrooms featuring double vanities, and separate soak tubs and rain showers.
I particularly liked the Premier Suite I checked into. Views were stunning, obviously. The huge living room boasted plenty of cosy seating, and an oversized work table for getting some work done. In the bedroom, a king-sized bed was dressed in luxe linens that made for a fantastic night’s rest. The best part though? There were two. The huge marble bathroom dominated by a large soak tub, and the walk-in wardrobe that was so spacious, I emptied my suitcase and had space to spare.
WHAT WE LOVE
- The Spa feels like a luxurious 21stcentury Roman Bath, complete with the most indulgent treatments imaginable.
- With so many incredible dining experiences to choose from, you’d be hard pressed to try them all on one trip.
- Service is truly top notch. From the bellhops and check-in staff to the spa therapists and room service housekeepers, everyone is out to make your stay the best it could possibly be.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
- The hotel is part of the behemoth Crown Casino complex, which means there’s plenty of opportunities to hit the tables. But there are also a smorgasbord of delicious dining and plenty of high-end shopping.
- You’re a 10-minute walk from the best of the central business district from here. Grab coffee from DeGraves Street, see the latest exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria, check out the avant-garde restaurants lining the city’s alleyways, and go shopping around Bourke Street and Collins Street.
- Thanks to its location, sumptuous offerings and dedication to discretion, Crown Towers is one of Melbourne’s top choices for celebrities, especially when the city hosts big events like the Australian Open and Logies awards.
The Crown Spa is the star attraction of the hotel’s wellness scene. This opulent oasis features spacious, tech-forward spa suites, an extensive menu that includes indulgent treatments by Subtle Energies, and an Aqua Retreat with a sauna and vitality pool. Did we mention the fully-loaded gym, and tropical-inspired pool? Because they’re definitely worth a few hours, too. An onsite salon also offers an array of hair, nail and make-up services.
WHEN YOU SHOULD GO
Melbourne really is an all-year destination. You’ll find great F&B (and coffee), and compelling exhibitions any time. For optimum beach time, outdoorsy adventures and sports (think the cricket and the Australian Open), head south in summer, between December and February.
TRAVEL IN STYLE
Think casual urban cool when packing for Melbourne – with plenty of black. You’ll want to dress up a little in the evenings, but stay relaxed during the day. Melbourne’s notorious for packing four seasons in a day, so plan to dress in layers.
The entry-level Deluxe Rooms start from US$242, while you can nab a Premier Suite from US$458. Want a real treat? Book a One Bedroom Crystal Villa. The very design-forward boltholes feature custom-made furniture, contemporary art, 24-hour butler service, a butler’s pantry, a spacious dining area, separate lounge and bedroom, and what might be the most lavish bathroom you’ll ever see.