Its summer in Melbourne and the tracks are starting to sizzle in anticipation of the Grand Prix, yet the stylish city has so much more to offer than the hum of race cars. Melbourne is truly a cosmopolitan port of call; flashy and laid back at the same time and with a kaleidoscope of cultures that make for truly amazing food and fabulous fun. Travel guides often tout Melbourne as being a hybrid city – with splashes of Parisian flair and edges of New York. With the beautiful sprawl of vineyards just outside the city in the Yarra Valley, pricey restaurants serving gastronomical delights, and speakeasys that last late into the sultry nights – Melbourne is riding high as the queen of cool.
Where to Stay
On the flowing banks of the Yarra River, The Langham is a dab hand at enticing prominent guests into gorgeous surroundings. Sweeping marble staircases, oversized fountains, and crystal chandeliers deliver the welcome you deserve, and suites are bedecked in sink down carpets, silks and handcrafted furniture. The Chairman Suite is a divine haven above the glittering skyline, and the hotel boasts a beautiful indoor pool and award winning wellness center.
The Hotel Windsor
Vivian Leigh and Sir Laurence Olivier are just two names synonymous with the well-appointed Hotel Windsor. This is a place that captures all the luxury of a bygone era, with grand ballrooms, palatial charm, and high tea that could rival The Savoy in London. The Victorian Suite is worth splashing out on with its separate lounges, soaring ceilings, marble spa bathroom, and majestic views of Parliament House. Be sure to book in for the 19th century style afternoon tea, with its butternut pumpkin scones and cascading chocolate fountain.
The jewel in Melbourne’s luxury crown – the iconic Crown Towers was recently awarded a coveted five-star status from Forbes. The Crystal Villa is an idyllic choice for those who want to be immersed in perfect privacy. With floor to ceiling windows, 24-hour butler service, and every imaginable amenity – your every wish is granted at the Crown Towers. Dining options are endless in the high-class complex, from world famous Nobu to the Rockpool Bar and Grill – every taste palate is catered for. For afterhours action, you don’t need to go far – with beautiful bars and VIP clubs beneath the roof of Crown Towers. Along with the sumptuous spa and pristine pool, the Crown Towers even has its own famous cosmetic physician on site.
Where to Dine
Patrons will need to book three months in advance, but a table at Attica is a foodie adventure of exquisite native delights. For culinary connoisseurs, it may be worth noting that Attica is the only Australian entry for the 50 best restaurants in the world list. Ben Shewry’s tasting menu is pure theatrical gold with its salted red kangaroo, whipped emu egg with sugar bag, and backyard spider. Paired with glutinous wines and private dining space and this is an epic epicurean experience not to miss.
Dinner by Heston
Heston Blumenthal is one of the world’s most famous chefs, and his show stopping restaurant in Melbourne doesn’t do things by halves. Book the chefs table so you can have front row seats to witness food being turned into fireballs, volcanic eruptions, liquid smoke, and all other kinds of awe inducing tricks. Despite the drama, the dishes take their influence from the rolling hills of England; from quail to savory porridge, this is sure to be a Dinner by Heston to remember.
Vue de Monde
Dramatic food and dramatic views pave the way in gold at Vue de Monde. On the 55th floor of the Rialto, if you can tear your eyes away from the gorgeously presented plates then the sights outside the window is sure to wow. The menu is an exquisite concoction of taste and every morsel boasts an artistic twist. Swallow rusty wire oysters with rhubarb, red hair kangaroo tartar, wagyu striploins and gumnuts. An artichoke tree grows on your table, sugar is whipped into sculptured wonders, and the alchemy of food is enough to keep your eyes glued to the kitchen all night long.
Where to Play
Helicopter to the Yarra Valley
With Melbourne’s five-star tangled vineyards and rolling meadows on your doorstep, take time away from the city for a tour of the Yarra Valley. Take a private helicopter and touch down in a world of fine food, sommelier secrets, and luscious landscapes. Stroll chateaux gardens, duck down into award winning cellar doors, or even sip champagne with a romantic hot air balloon ride for two. Artisan cheese lovers should be sure to swing by the Yarra Valley Dairy for a local gastronomical adventure in taste.
Fashion Forward Shopping
The cool and trendy city of Melbourne doesn’t shy away from high class design, so don’t be fooled by her laid-back vibes. Vogue recently declared St Collins Lane as an ultimate luxury destination for shoppers, with its ensemble of no less than 60 designer boutiques all under one roof. Bourke Street still boasts the most popular shopping street and the 19th century Queen Victoria Village is worth a splurge for its gorgeous glass roof and mosaic tiled floor alone.