Hotel review: Ovolo Hotel Melbourne
Don’t let the small foyer fool you; this little space packs a punch. I’m immediately offered a coffee from the Nespresso Machine or a bottle of still or sparkling water from the fridge (“Help yourself whenever you like!” they say).
Despite it only being 11am, I’m able to check-in to my room, one of 43 behind brightly coloured doors.
Jumping up to my level four suite, things get even better. For starters, the mini-bar is complimentary! The fridge, stocked with beer, Sauv Blanc, sparkling water and flavoured mineral water is refilled daily. While the loot bag – including peanuts, skittles, a Tim Tam Bar, mints and gummy bears – is more of a welcome gift.
So what else makes this hotel a little different to many of its Aussie counterparts? Wi-fi is free, the 11am check-out time is flexible, local calls to landlines are complimentary and there’s an Apple TV set-up so you can watch your own movies and TV shows if you connect up your own Apple device.
The one bedroom suite itself is fairly simple with an NYC feel. Practical touches like power points in easy-to-locate spots (don’t you hate having to move furniture to charge your phone?!), a rainwater shower and iPod dock are all appreciated. The lounge room features an LCD TV with Foxtel (Melbourne’s largest hotel listing apparently) and comfy couch, plus there’s a kitchenette for any simple cooking cravings.
Aside from the shiny extras, as with any boutique hotel, it’s often the staff that make a big difference. During my stay Matt was an absolute star. He and the team at reception were friendly, helpful and always remembered my name (it’s the little things) and their level of service was on par with that of a big-name five-star hotel.
The Ovolo is a great choice for business travel but if you’ve got a little leisure time on your hands, the nearby Princess Theatre has your entertainment needs covered. And, business or pleasure you have to eat right? Here are my top picks in close vicinity to the Ovolo:
For the perfect Italian meal: Grossi Florentino
Part of celebrity chef Guy Grossi’s Melbourne empire, this gem is located just around the corner on Bourke Street. On a weekday at lunch time, I venture in for a solo meal at the Cellar Bar and the warm Italian hospitality is the best service I’ve received in a very long time. The food matches the welcome – my Tortelli Di Zucca Della Lungiana (roast pumpkin tortelli with fried sage leaves), is pasta at its best. Prices are extremely reasonable. This charming place is a must.
For a go-to restaurant you can actually book: Gingerboy
In Melbourne, hot-right-now restaurants that accept bookings are few and far between so it’s convenient that Gingerboy is a short stroll from the Ovolo. The modern Australian interpretation of Asian hawker style food is mouth-wateringly good. Narrowing down the menu to a few items is tough (next time I’ll be returning with a group for the banquet!) but I’m more than satisfied with my seared Hervey Bay Scallops (so delicate and light), Spicy Green Papaya Salad (fresh and zesty) and Sesame Crusted Kingfish Tataki (one of the tastiest sashimi dishes I have had in a long time).
For breakfast to get your day off on the right note: The European
If you’re after something a little heartier than the Ovolo’s muffins and croissants, The European on nearby Spring Street is your go-to. Here you’ll find a mix of corporate crowd meets travellers enjoying everything from bircher muesli to pikelets with maple syrup and goat’s cheese omelettes to bruschetta with caviar. My simple sourdough with avo and ricotta hit the spot.
For a classy afternoon tea: The Hotel Windsor
Where better to spend an afternoon of luxury than Australia’s oldest grand hotel. The historic Hotel Windsor has your afternoon tea needs covered with a renowned line up of freshly baked scones with jam and double cream, exquisite pastries and finger sandwiches served on elegant tiered silver stands.
What’s your favourite hotel in Melbourne? Do you always stay at the one hotel or do you try new ones each visit?