I only had three nights in Melbourne, but ended up staying in three (very) different hotels. That’s not the most relaxing way to do it, but I had my reasons, which I’ll explain as we go, and actually don’t regret the decision. Two of them I’d go back to, one not so much. We’ll start off with the Grand Hotel.
On my first night, I stayed at the Grand Hotel in Melbourne. There had been a great Orbitz coupon in December, when my plans were a bit up in the air. The coupon was good for $ 100 off any hotel, with no minimum purchase. Unfortunately it was not good for most major chains. I had one night I was pretty sure I’d be in Melbourne, so poked around and settled on the Grand Hotel, an Accor property and part of its MGallery chain – which I’d had a great experience with in Amsterdam, and had good reviews. With the coupon, one night came to $56, including taxes.
The hotel is two blocks from the main train station in Melbourne, making it an easy walk from the Skybus and pretty central to all public transportation, including the free tram district. The neighborhood, right on the edge of the Docklands, was a bit dodgy, though, without much character or anything. But Melbourne is very walkable, so it was fine.
The lobby was pretty small, with two small desks and a small sitting area – with a restaurant off to the side. Check-in was uneventful, though a bit aloof, and I headed up to my room.
The hotel itself was extraordinarily weird. The building is the former Railway Administration Building, and three of the six floors are actually apartments. The hallways are super long, with very high ceilings, and it definitely feels like an old government building. It felt very empty and 1965 and smelled kind of musty.All of the rooms in the Grand are apartment-style, and my room reminded me of a very old Residence Inn. The room was actually two levels, with a full kitchen, desk area, living room, and closet on the first floor, and a lofted bedroom and bathroom on the second level. Thankfully my one night there was not a drinking night, as I am pretty sure I would’ve fallen down the stairs. Given the patches of paint and plaster, it looked like someone may have done so previously.
The bathroom was actually the nicest part of the room, with high quality toiletries and charming older tile work.
Internet was not free, and I had to call down to the front desk to buy an internet package. At checkout, the clerk told me it was free for Accor Le Club members, though. Even though I was on an Orbitz stay which wasn’t eligible for benefits or credit, she looked up my number for me and gave me the internet for free.
Initially I had thought this stay would be for my last night in Melbourne, so I had paid about $15 extra for a package that included buffet breakfast and a late checkout. I ended up not using the late checkout at all, as I had an early morning departure for the Great Ocean Road. But I did partake in breakfast at the restaurant. Oddly, there was no buffet. But the waiter said I could order anything off the menu, so I went with the egg white omelet, which was promptly prepared and was quite good.
After finishing off breakfast, apple juice and my flat white, I checked out, left my suitcase at the front desk, and headed to meet my bus for my Great Ocean Road Tour.
All told, from check-in to check-out, I only had around 15 hours at the Grand. For $55 for the night it was a steal. Not sure how I’d feel though for $155/night given just how many hotels there are in Melbourne. If having a lot of space and a full kitchen is important to you, though, I could see it working.