Situated on the banks of the Yarra, Melbourne has an effortless charisma and laid-back appeal that few places in the world can match. Australia’s second-largest city is a graceful maze of laneways overflowing with colorful street art, outstanding restaurants and refined boutiques that spill out onto the streets. Friendly locals seem to strike the perfect balance between sophisticated and active. More subtle than its older sister in Sydney, Melbourne is full of surprises and rewards inquisitive travelers with its contagious energy, picturesque scenery and proud Australian heritage. Although the coastal hub has all the advantages of a major city, life moves at your own pace around here – especially as you inch closer to the beach. Any visit to Melbourne is a one-of-a-kind experience that will leave you wondering why you hadn’t come earlier. Leading up to the Australian Grand Prix, our Melbourne Destination Guide lays out exactly how to enjoy the fabulous city.
Where to Stay
Set on the prestigious Chapel Street, The Olsen Hotel is the latest installment of the popular Art Series Hotels group. The property pays homage to Australian painting titan John Olsen, whose distinctive work adorns the walls of all 224 elegant suites and common areas. It’s here that the atmospheric magic of the revered landscape artist is fused with the lush comforts and amenities of a 5-star hotel property. The silver and champagne palette, as well as the abundance of natural light and fresh air, enhance the bright and bold artworks of Olsen, while the premium furnishings are the cherry on top. Thrill-seekers should take a dip in the glass-bottomed rooftop pool, which hangs over the street below, while the Norby Spa offers immersive infra-red treatments. From the breathtaking tower sculpture that greets you when you walk into the lobby to the large works that hang in the guest rooms, The Olsen is a mesmerizing artistic experience that will leave you feeling inspired and refreshed.
Our Melbourne Destination Guide also includes a Luxury Hotel Guide with a complete list of expert picks.
Where to Dine
As Australia’s best-known food personality, anything that serial restauranteur and chef Andrew McConnell will naturally bring a lot of attention. However, his latest signature spot might just be his best experiment yet. Cutler & Co. brings a refreshing casual element to the world of fine dining for a perfectly balanced gourmet experience. Located on the ever-so trendy Gertrude Street in Fitzroy, the restaurant is housed in a renovated metal works factory and outfitted with Art Deco motifs. The menu starts with dozens of tasty and refined snacks such as oysters and pikelets with caviar around the bar before the entrees and mains move onto proteins and fish paired with seasonal veggies and unusual flavors such as dandelion and sorrel. The champagnes and fresh cocktails are equal parts celebratory and seductive. This is one of Melbourne’s most quintessential restaurants for good reason and it really embodies the casual sophistication of the Australian metropolis.
Our Melbourne Destination Guide also includes a Restaurant Guide with a complete list of can’t-miss bites in the city.
What to Do
After a long winter break, the 2020 Formula 1 season will finally kick off at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 15th. The race is set to be held at the Albert Park Circuit and you can expect week-long festivities leading up to the Sunday. If you’re looking to dip your toes into another uniquely Australian experience, you can’t go wrong with any number of athletic events that have been ingrained into this sports-crazed culture. Consider a cricket match, AFL Football or horseracing and get lost in the fun-loving Aussie atmosphere.
Built around a well-arranged grid system, Melbourne is made up of over 230 laneways that penetrate into the heart of city blocks. The coastal capital is easy to navigate and full of excitement. The Royal Botanic Garden is one of the finest examples of Victorian-era landscaping in the world with a global selection of paintings and rare Australian flora and mini-ecosystems on display. Built for the 1880 International Exhibition, the Royal Exhibition Building is another Victorian edifice in Carlton Gardens that showcases the 19th-century economic supremacy of Australia. Meanwhile, Federation Square is the beating pulse of Melbourne. It’s the universal place to meet, protest and celebrate among Melburnians and it’s always teeming with life.
What to Wear
Although the summer has already passed in the southern hemisphere, March onwards is a fantastic time to visit Melbourne. Between roaming the streets and diving into the rich cultural scene, these SLVRLAKE Denim Lelia Slim-Leg Jeans are a versatile option to take you from day to night without skipping a beat. They’re cut from blue denim with a comfortable mid-rise waistline to complement the slim-leg silhouette to match Melbourne’s signature combination of casual and on-trend. Keep it simple with this Live the Process Long-Sleeve Cropped Top and these Acne Studios Jensen Leather Chelsea Boots for an uncomplicated yet stylish look. Finish the look off with this Vintage Bulgari 18K Gold Watch, which will add a subtle hint of refinement during any occasion.