Last week I did the Sydney version of this post in response to a reader request (thanks Katherine!). Well that was all well and good, but reader Meg needs the goss on Melbourne. Which hotels would suit a young family wanting to explore beautiful Melbourne this winter?
My top tips for choosing your city hotel
- Location – Stay as close as you can afford to the places that you want to visit. There’s always the fun of a tram trip to get around, but it is lovely to have sights to see right on your doorstep. Staying on St Kilda Road will save you money, but how far are those little legs prepared to walk?
- Bedding configuration – Will your little ones share a bed or do they need a bed each? Many hotel rooms have a maximum occupancy of 3 and those that take 4 will generally do it in 2 double beds (or queen if you’re lucky!). Apartments will cost more, but might be worth it for sleep quality!
- Pool – My kids (7 and 5) could have spent the whole weekend in the pool when we had a city hotel stay in Melbourne. It makes them so happy that I think in winter an indoor pool is essential. Click here for all the food, fun and fashion of our city stay.
The top 8 hotels
Based on the above criteria these are my top 8 hotel recommendations.
They are all centrally located, within either the CBD or Southbank areas. From here you can either walk or catch a tram to the best bits of Melbourne for kids like the Aquarium, Zoo and Museum.
They will all sleep 2 adults and 2 children.
And they all have an indoor pool for family splash time!
Hotels are listed in order of their Trip Advisor rating.
1. Melbourne Marriott Hotel
If you’re looking to expand the kids’ culinary horizons, then this position is fantastic. Right in the heart of the Greek precinct and a block from Chinatown, you won’t go hungry! It is right amongst all the theatres too if you’re keen to catch a show. And at this end of town you can walk up to the Carlton Gardens, Melbourne Museum and IMAX cinema.
This hotel has an attractive indoor pool, is 5 star and will cost approximately $287 for hotel room style accommodation with 2 double beds.
2. Crown Metropol
My bias is totally transparent on this one. I adore this hotel. Hubster and I have had a kid-free night away here and, although we stayed at Crown Promenade with the kids (which I also love), we used the pool at Metropol.
The pool is stunning. A spacious light-filled area with huge pool and rows of sun lounges, even those round family-sized ones! It is high in the sky on level 27 with wall-to-wall windows giving amazing views of the city. If the weather is cold or wet, it would be divine to spend a few hours relaxing here while supervising the kids in the water.
You’re still really close to all that Crown and Southbank have to offer here, but in the other direction Polly Woodside or DFO South Wharf might be on the agenda. Also, if it’s cold and/or wet, it is very handy that you can move between all the Crown hotels and the casino complex with its restaurants and entertainment without going outside.
It is 5 star, has a wonderful indoor pool and will cost about $448 per night for hotel room style accommodation with 2 queen beds.
3. Clarion Suites Gateway
This may not be the coolest part of town, but with the Aquarium a block in one direction and the Southbank area just across the Yarra, it is very convenient. Why not pop across to the Eureka Skydeck! And it’s a great position to explore Melbourne’s iconic laneways, with Degraves St only a couple of blocks away. Or jump on a tram down Flinders St to do a tour of the MCG.
There is a lovely indoor pool, is 4.5 star and will cost approximately $315 per night for a One bedroom suite with a queen bed in the bedroom, a sofa bed in the lounge room and full kitchen and laundry facilities.
4. Crown Promenade
As I mentioned earlier, this is where we stayed with the kids.
I was seriously blown away by the service at this hotel. It’s a beautiful top quality hotel with everything you would expect and the staff were so friendly yet so professional. I felt like a celebrity! I only had to walk through the lobby looking a bit lost to have someone come up to me and ask if they could help. This is the 5 (or actually 4.5) star life that I could get used to!
Don’t be surprised if you spot a real celebrity or two in any of the Crown hotels. It was Logies Night on the day we were leaving, so there was such a buzz around the place. At breakfast we had Amanda, Barry, Dr Chris and Miguel from The Living Room at the next table!
The Promenade is particularly handy to the Aquarium, which is a definite must-visit. Just across the Yarra.
It has an indoor pool and is 4.5 star. It costs about $363 per night, but we had a package that included valet parking and breakfast which was great value. It made me feel very welcome by offering a package that was actually aimed at families. It is hotel room style accommodation with 2 queen beds.
5. Citadines on Bourke
Here you are in the very heart of the city.
A block away from the “Paris End” of Collins Street and the fancy designer shops like Chanel. Maybe take a walk down to the Fitzroy Gardens and see Captain Cook’s Cottage and the Fairies Tree.
And don’t miss a meal at Pellegrini’s!
There is an indoor lap pool, it’s rated 4.5 stars and a Two bedroom apartment (king & 2 singles) with kitchen will cost about $356 per night.
6. Novotel Melbourne on Collins
This is the most wonderfully central location of the 8. Try a different coffee shop or cafe every day! Right next door to the beautiful Block Arcade, don’t miss coffee and cake or even high tea at the Hopetoun Tea Rooms. You’ll be right in amongst it here, walking to everything or making the most of the free CBD tram zone.
It has an indoor pool, is 4.5 star rated and will cost about $352 per night for hotel room style accommodation with 2 double beds.
7. Adina Apartment Hotel Northbank
Why not add some novelty to your weekend away and arrive by train! This hotel is close to Southern Cross Station and the Docklands end of town, so it’s really easy to get to if you catch the Skybus from the airport. Go ice-skating at the Medibank Icehouse or take a ride on the Melbourne Star. And just across the Yarra is Polly Woodside and the Crown complex.
There is a lovely indoor pool, is rated 4.5 star and will cost approximately $379 per night for a Two bedroom apartment (king & 2 singles) with kitchen.
8. Pegasus Apart’Hotel
With the Queen Victoria Market on your doorstep, this is the ideal location for foodies. Wander the aisles, taste some new things and grab some fresh fruit to take back to the room. You’ve also got the Flagstaff Gardens in one direction in case the kids need to work off some energy, and the Old Melbourne Gaol in the other to step back in time.
Try and get hold of one of their Family Themed Two Bedroom Suites. They have a queen and 2 single beds, with the kids’ room fully decorated in a Jungle, Super Games, Circus or Racing theme. Amazing! Unfortunately the rates are not available online, but give them a ring. A standard Two bedroom suite with 2 queen beds and kitchenette will cost about $350 per night. It is rated 4.5 star and has a beautiful indoor pool.
I don’t think I can go past the Metropol or Promenade for a hotel room. That kind of service is rare! Although the Marriott is fantastic value! But for anything more than 2 nights I think an apartment is where it’s at. For my money I think I would choose the Citadines for its position. I do love that end of town. But all of these options has me wanting to book the next plane down!!