The W in Melbourne
It was still one of Australia’s most anticipated hotel openings for years. It joins another W in Brisbane and precedes a massive sister property in Sydney, which will open later in 2022.
This iteration of W offers a balance between high-end design and casual luxury. It is also reminiscent of Melbourne. These are my impressions of my recent stay.
This W-branded outpost in Melbourne is a welcome addition to the city’s growing hotel scene. It boasts 294 rooms and 29 suites. Melbourne is often referred to as Australia’s cultural capital. It celebrates music, art, fashion, and nightlife at many venues around the city. Seeing more of the local joie de vivre at the hotel would be nice.
Hachem, an Australian interior design and architecture firm, designed the rooms. The rooms are less discotheque-like than other W properties. However, the most neutral color palette of blacks balanced with greys and creams isn’t a direct reference to the city’s personality and favours sleekness over any kitsch.
There are still many eye-catching features throughout the property. One example: Rus Kitchin’s stunning installation at the reception desks highlights the abundance of Australian fauna and flora that shines through the cramped, uninspiring space.
This hotel seems to be a great choice for those looking to start the party immediately with a glass of sparkling wine at check-in or for those who want to be near King Street bars and clubs, which have guest rooms that can be used for hosting after-parties.
However, my stay was more about relaxation than dancing till dawn. This made some hotel features less necessary and more of a novelty. It is one of Melbourne’s most expensive weekend hotels. Couples and families who are looking for romance, quiet, or relaxation might consider other options.
One note from the pandemic era: In-house guests at hotels are no longer required to wear masks on the property. This is despite their vaccination status. Staff will still continue to do this for the foreseeable future. To ensure that venues can fill to capacity, the limits on capacity have been lifted.
How to get there?
The W Melbourne is located in Flinders Lane, the southwest corner of Melbourne’s central business district. Uber rides from Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport to Melbourne (MEL) cost between 45 and 55 Australian Dollars ($33 to $40), and take around 30 minutes depending on traffic.
The Skybus from the Southern Cross station costs AU$19.25 ($14), and takes approximately the same time. The tram can take you to the hotel. Melbourne boasts the largest tram network in the world. Trams are also free within the CBD.
It’s not the most beautiful part of the city, but the so-called Paris End of Collins Street is. You’ll find more strip clubs and kebab shops in this area of the CBD as the sun sets, and office workers return home. This is a great place to dance till dawn if that’s your preference. However, if you are a morning person, it might be advisable to avoid King Street. There, the party will continue long after the sun rises.
It is a short walk from the Bourke Street Mall with its fancy shops, Federation Square, Melbourne Aquarium, and across the Yarra River to Crown Casino. There are also many dining and nightlife options in the Southbank area.
The nightly rates for the W Melbourne starting at AU$352 ($259) for the base level, 375-square foot Cozy rooms. Prices will rise sharply during weekends.
Because I was booking on a short notice and was planning to stay for a weekend, my two-night stay cost AU$417 ($306) per room.