Melbourne is buzzing with shiny new hotels, shows to keep you entertained, fabulous food, festivals and sporting events.
No matter how many times you visit, there’s always something thrilling to discover.
There’s a host of new restaurants and food experiences including:
Farmer’s Daughters at 6/80 Collins St, Melbourne, brings the best of Victorian regional tastes to the city.
Peruvian-born Chef Alejandro Saravia takes diners on a culinary journey through the seasons in Gippsland, with a menu that features producers and growers. Downstairs there’s a deli with casual dining and a rooftop bar showcases local craft beer, wines and spirits.
Chancery Lane, located in the historic Normanby Chambers building, at 430 Little Collins St, is where Scott Pickett and head chef Rob Kabboord offer a European-inspired bistro menu – with an edge.
Andrew McConnell’s latest hospitality venture Gimlet at 33 Russell St, brings classic European charisma to the CBD plus classy cocktails.
The cocktail bar and dining room are housed in Cavendish House, a landmark 1920’s building.
Vesper Bistro and Bar at 25 Toorak Road, South Yarra, is a Mediterranean-inspired eatery where dishes from Italy, Portugal, Spain, Greece and the south of France star.
Fancy Indian? Indu at 86A Collins St, Melbourne, serves South Indian and Sri Lankan village food featuring the best Victorian produce, under chef, Ankit Padmani.
For a family food-filled adventure, head to Grazeland at 20 Booker St, Spotswood, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It is known as a playground for foodies with 50 food and beverage vendors. Try Nashville fried chicken from Charchella by Fins, Greek lokmades from Lokma Lokma, traditional Scottish cuisine from Kilted Haggis, Sri Lankan street food from Drums, and traditional Middle Eastern semolina cookies by Nuts About Ma’amoul, as well as other favourites such as pizza, fish and chips, and mouth watering desserts and sweet treats.
Discover the city’s specialist dining destinations – head to Richmond for Vietnamese, Carlton’s Little Italy, Fitzroy for Spanish and Brunswick for Lebanese.
Take A Foodie Walk
If you want to learn more about Melbourne’s fabulous food scene join the Foodie Culture Walking Tour that showcases the many layers of local food, plus the architecture, and stories of the city.foodietrails.com.au
The Melbourne Experience Foodie Indulgence walk also visits restaurants, coffee shops, and street food vendors as you explore the city’s narrow laneways, historical arcades, and vibrant street art. walkmelbourne.com.au
Coffee is huge and the best baristas are often tucked away down little laneways adorned with eclectic street art or in quirky cafes, where you will want to linger.
Shiny New Hotels
There’s a host of fabulous new hotels dotted around Melbourne that will wow you with their design and decor.
Check out these stunning newcomers and then check-in for a great stay.
Next Hotel Melbourne
Where: 103 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
Nestled at the couture end of the city, the hotel reveals a fashion sense of its own that’s bold and beckoning. Sophisticated design stars throughout the 24-storey new build within the 80 Collins precinct.
Check out the 6m drop gold mesh curtain that’s a backdrop to the elegant reception area and suspended from the third floor La Madonna restaurant, drawing visitors upstairs.
The sleek cocktail bar and lounge showcases a refined aesthetic blend of mid-century modern and old-world, created with marble, striking lighting, rich textiles with pops of jewel colours, leather couches and comfy armchairs plus an eclectic collection of objets d’art.
Culinary team, Hong Kong street food supremo Adrian Li and Sicilian-blooded Daniel Natoli star in La Madonna named after Natoli’s reaction “oh La Madonna” when he first saw the space.
Fabulous local produce appears in Insta worthy dishes – ox heart tomato in white soy, stuffed with stracciatella in a bath of basil and yuzu kosho oil and hand rolled cavatelli with black sesame seeds and Skull Island prawns.
The suspended ceramics installation by artist and geologist Jodie Gray is inspired by Aeolian Island shipwrecks, prickly pears and Sicilian bells.
The Barrel Room is home to a wood-ageing program for spirits, cocktails and herbal liqueurs with spirit master, Phil Smithers – watch him decanter a Martini ala Madonna Negroni. His barrel aged cocktails also feature in the mini bars.
Intriguing artwork by Australian artists Jonny Niesche, Consuelo Cavaniglia and Julia Gorman feature throughout the hotel including the intimate loft-style club lounge.
The 255 elegant rooms are understated with pops of colour and exude a warm residential feel – you are spoilt with Hunter Lab products, Dyson hairdryer and cocktail station.
Where: 408 Flinders Lane Melbourne
Step inside the lobby – renamed the “living room” and you are immersed in a riot of colour. It is sensory overload as you stare at Rus Kitchin’s lenticular artwork, a magical mix of digital media plus street art. It forms a vibrant canopy of Australian flora and fauna, as you check in, then head to the bright fuchsia painted lifts.
Located in the famed Hosier Lane, known for its gritty street art, it’s a major influence on the design and decor of the hotel that spans 15 floors.
Designed by local architect and interior design firm Hachem, the W Melbourne, is under the Marriot umbrella, nestled in the new Collins Arch.
The subterranean Curious Bar has a secret laneway entrance on Market Street leads to a spiral staircase to a cocoon-like design formed from timber beams in a parametric sequence that shows a rich design palette of dark tones and earthy materials.
The cocktails are great too – a Curious Ristretto, comes sealed with beeswax followed by nutmeg smoke.
The 294 rooms include 29 suites, 4 WOW suites and one Extreme WOW suite with curved timber walls, infinity light artwork and a bathroom like a moonscape with an oversized round tub engraved with a quote by Persian poet, Rumi.
Other rooms have kiosk-shaped wardrobes inspired by the street’s 1950’s news kiosks.
The face of a seductive woman adorns them plus there are playful fascinators on the bed as a homage to infamous Victorian icons bushranger Ned Kelly and the Melbourne Cup.
The pool area, WET is inspired by the Yarra River curves with a gold-adorned roof. Street artist Lucy Lucy took two weeks to create a huge mural that entices you to jump right on in and do a few laps.
Ovolo South Yarra
Where: 234 Toorak Road, South Yarra
It’s fun, fabulous and inspired by past rockstars and retro glamour and is a far cry from the typical cookie-cutter hotel.
Think psychedelic aesthetics.
The hotel, slap bang in the middle of South Yarra’s cultural hub of food, art and fashion, nods to the past, present and future, drawing on quirky disco days when rock gods and retro glamour shone.
A vibrant design that’s bold, creative and full of surprises, it’s just how Ovolo Hotels’ owner and founder Girish Jhunjhnuwala, described as game-changer, rule-breaker and entrepreneur, likes it.
Growing up in the 80s, he fell in love with rock legends such as Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Prince and U2. His aim is to create hotels where he would love to stay and incorporate all that he loved as a young adult, hence his collection of ever-evolving, boutique, funky and fun hotels.
Step through the doors and you will see a fluoro orange firepit and a domineering concrete reception desk akin to a futuristic airport check-in.
The 123 rooms feature retro-plush, with accents of chrome and colour.
Seamless technology integration with Chromecast, Bose Bluetooth speakers and intuitive design is met with custom bold graphic wallpapers that almost jump off the walls.
Plush pattern-heavy furnishings sing with the accents of chrome, custom joinery and oodles of colour.
Choose from a super snug Go-Go Room, the bigger Boogie and Groovy rooms and four expansive rock star suites, based on rock icons, Sony and Cher and John and Yoko with a music themed design and your own turntable.
The hotel’s vivid 90-seat restaurant, Lona Misa Kitchen & Bar is spearheaded by renowned chefs Shannon Martinez and Ian Curley creating all vegetarian dishes.
Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street
Where:18 Little Queen Street, Melbourne
There’s a sense of the grand glamour days of travel when you step through the doors of the reimagined historic building, the Equity Chambers that’s now a stylish hotel.
Built in 1931, the building was renowned for its architectural pizzazz and Italian Romanesque and Gothic detailing.
Australian architects Bates Smart have respected the old world-charm and restored original features while seamlessly connecting a modern six-level extension with a 16-level tower to the historic site.
The hotel features 244 rooms and 10 suites, with a stylish rooftop terrace, club lounge, meeting rooms and restaurant and bar. Within its historic walls, the old and new have been cleverly combined, with sandstone, European Oak and bronze materials, creating a traditional yet modern palette.
It sits well against the backdrop of grand high ceilings, marble stone finishes and upholstery in hues of navy, taupe and royal blue.
The traditional hotel porte cochere injects life into a laneway that celebrates the reinvigoration in Melbourne’s CBD with a colourful large-scale mural by local graffiti artist Kitt Bennett, that is captured in the entrance’s angled bronze panels.
In the heart of the hotel there are grand vistas overlooking Luci, a contemporary Australian restaurant with a nod to Melbourne’s history of Italian immigrants.
Quincy Melbourne Hotel has opened its doors.
The funky the 241-room boutique property – which punches well above its weight in the upper midscale hotel category – raises the bar on accessible high-end luxe.
It’s all about creating meaningful connections to understand individual likes/dislikes, dietary requirements and even ‘bucket list wishes’.
Expect surprise moments like arrival cocktails that supersede check-in, requiring a simple QR scan; complimentary ‘pillow menus’ tailored to individual tastes; minibars stocked with kombucha, fresh coconut water and dried Queensland mango; in-room kids’ games or ‘adult’ cooking and cocktail classes and pop-up hallway tables laden with ‘help yourself’ cocktails or mocktails to brighten every day.
Even ‘take home’ gourmet dog treats for guests’ ‘best friends’!
It is also a vibrant fusion of ‘best of’ Aussie lifestyle with the exotic sights, sounds and flavours of Southeast Asia.
The striking 29-storey, glass-fronted hotel – complete with lively laneway and rooftop bars – purposely invites meaningful connection at every touch point, via thoughtful spatial design, playful interiors, tactile artwork, and an extraordinary focus on ‘out-of-the-ordinary’ foodie adventures. There is hawker-inspired grazing at SingSong eatery, flowing through the Lobby to outdoor laneway dining.
Zesty rooftop bites and cocktails with 360-degree views of Melbourne CBD are served at The Q Bar on Level 28 by a glistening lap pool.
The pièce de resistance, the Salted Egg, a wow-factor satellite restaurant, peppered with a bespoke bar and communal areas, spans the whole of Level 1.
In another surprise, Quincy Melbourne’s room keys double as ‘golden tickets’ to the city’s on-trend hotspots or secret haunts – providing ‘surprise and delight’ perks like cocktails on the house, complimentary Uber codes or, for families, free access to local attractions.
Proving walls really do talk, each style tells the story of a famous Melbourne laneway. Celestial rooms pay homage to the arrival of Melbourne’s first Asian immigrants in the mid-19th century; Caledonian rooms revel in colourful music heritage (including birth of St Jerome’s Laneway festival); while Hosier rooms need little introduction, named after Melbourne’s most Insta-worthy laneway – home to street art that won a Lonely Planet poll as Australia’s top cultural attraction in 2008.
Book your Tickets
If you loved Baz Luhrmann’s iconic film Moulin Rouge, get set for the Broadway sensation, Moulin Rouge the Musical at Melbourne’s historic Regent Theatre, from August 13, 2021.
Expect to hear all your favourites such as Lady Marmalade, Come What May, Your Song and a new version of the Elephant Love Medley.
The show has received rave reviews overseas and looks set to become the talk of the town with stars Alinta Chidzey as Satine and Des Flanagan as Christian.
The role of Moulin Rouge proprietor, Harold Zidler, will be filled by Simon Burke while the villainous Duke of Monroth is played by Andrew Cook.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Harry Potter fans will love Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, parts one and two, now showing at the Princess Theatre.
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a play by Jack Thorne. It is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage.
There’s always something new and exciting on the exhibition front in Melbourne.
Discover the creativity and innovation of almost 100 years of Disney Animation at ACMI’s Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition in Federation Square from May 13, 2021.
More than 500 artworks from favourite animations will be on show. You can even step inside a scene from the Disney classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Fresh from a two-year renovation, the ACMI – the Australian Centre for Moving Image is the most visited museum of its kind in the world. It’s a fun day out with exhibitions, cinemas and a new dining experience, Hero, with Karen Martini at the helm.
Art lovers are in for a treat with the National Gallery of Victoria – NGV’s annual winter blockbuster exhibition – this year it is French Impressionism with more than 100 masterworks from Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.
Works by Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Mary Cassatt and 79 paintings that have never before been exhibited in Australia will be showcased from June 4 until October 3, 2021.
You will find a multi-sensory experience at The Lume Melbourne, an epic adventure into art that opens in August at the Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre.
It features the vibrant works of Vincent van Gogh with vivid colours and intricate details of world-renowned artworks coming to life all around you.
It’s accompanied by a symphony of sounds, aromas and tastes as you wander within the 3000 square metre, 11m high digital art gallery.
Treasures of the Natural World will take centre stage at the Melbourne Museum with more than 200 artefacts varying from the biggest, most unique and extremely rare treasures to the mysterious and astonishing.
Colourful stories will unlock the mysteries of life including Charles Darwin’s personal collection that inspired his theory of evolution, and a 200-million-year-old Ichthyosaurus fossil found by English fossil collector, Mary Anning when she was just 11 years old. It opens June 12, 2021.
You can delve deeper into Melbourne’s history and its striking street art on a Lanes and Arcades walking tour – hiddensecretstours.com/tour/lanes-arcades/
Melbourne is home to the AFL and there’s nothing like barracking for your favourite team at the MCG – Melbourne Cricket Ground or Marvel Stadium at Docklands. Autumn and spring racing is held at Flemington Racecourse that’s home to the iconic Lexus Melbourne Cup that will be held on November 2, 2021.There’s also racing at Caulfield and Moonee Valley.
The much-loved Melbourne International Film Festival will be staged from August 5 to 22, 2021. Established in 1952, it is one of the world’s oldest film festivals in the Southern Hemisphere.
Jazz lovers will also welcome the return of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival from October 15 – 24 2021.
For more details