Melbourne desperately needed this new addition to the CBD. In the heart of the city, the new boutique QT hotel is within walking distance of Melbourne’s best bars, restaurants, and shopping. This part of town is full of energy, and this is reflected in the design of the hotel. The minute you arrive at the distinctive copper front door, you’re reminded that this is not a luxury hotel in the traditional, opulent sense. It’s modern, fun, glamorous and chic – it feels very New York. The doorwoman was very hip looking, dressed in an eclectic mix of black and white, with a quirky black hat. It was a taste of things to come. The foyer features a combination of designer leather chairs and bold-coloured fabric sofas, and my favourite feature: the eye-grabbing floor to ceiling wall of books. The whole hotel is design driven, with attention to detail.
The modern vibe is apparent even before you arrive, with the online check-in service. Via SMS updates, you’ll be notified if your room is available ahead of time, which means you can check in earlier than planned. You can also converse with QT via SMS for any queries that you may have. I messaged them about parking options, and they replied straight away…for the record, they offer valet parking for $50 per night. (Nearby city car parks offer a cheaper rate if you’re happy to arrange the parking yourself – or there’s always Uber, if you’d prefer to leave the car at home).
Not surprisingly, the décor in our room was cool and quirky – brown leather sofas, bold cushions, industrial light fittings, and a polished concrete ceiling. The leather-quilted wardrobe was lined with vibrant wallpaper, and well stocked with bathrobes, ironing board, hair dryer, and other hotel necessities. The black and white bathroom featured a double vanity area, with a retractable glass and mirror panelled splash back. For all your showering and moisturising needs, look no further than the natural-based Malin & Goetz products provided in each room, with enticing scents such as peppermint shampoo and rum body wash.
The well-stocked mini bar is impressive, with a vast array of snacks and entertainment. With crisps and chocolate bars, protein balls and choc chip biscuits, you need never go hungry – and for some reason, a Kit Kat and packets of crisps always tastes better when it's from the mini bar. If you’re after something to fill the time, there are some quirky options available – a retro pack of pick-up sticks, dominoes or a jigsaw puzzle. And take note, the mini-bar items aren’t the only things available for sale – bathrobes, ornaments and teacups all featured on the price list, available in the hotel gift shop.
It’s worth making the staff aware of any special celebrations. We stayed over as part of a birthday weekend, and a tray of four delicious handmade pralines was delivered to our room just as we were opening the champagne – a lovely touch.
QT understands that good food, coffee and wine are at the very heart of Melbourne. In order to experience an authentic Melbourne stay, you don't even need to leave the hotel, with several eateries available on site. To recharge your batteries at any time of day, head to The Cake Shop in the foyer, where you can enjoy freshly made coffee and mouth-watering pastries that are made on the premises.
On the first floor, the eclectic vibe continues at Pascale Bar & Grill, with a centrally positioned bar, leather bar stools and a stand-alone, glassed-in cellar. For stunning city views, catch the lift all the way up to the Rooftop at QT bar on the 11th floor. There’s a generous-sized outdoor deck, with concrete, greenery and modern chic decor. Sit back and enjoy the table service while you admire the surrounding skyscrapers. Our stay coincided with the end of the Spring Racing Carnival, when the bar was heaving with race-weary punters: it was clear that this hip new venue has a much wider appeal than just its own hotel residents. There was a 10-minute wait for the rooftop bar – and that was at 6:30pm – but luckily hotel guests can skip the queue.
If you love Asian food, check out the Korean and Japanese inspired dishes at QT's Hot Sauce, a very Melbourne laneway bar, located down a cobbled bluestone alleyway. Ladies, rest assured – the bricks have been evened out, so there’s no risk of tripping over or getting your heels stuck in the bluestones!
And for those budding chefs and foodies, pay a visit to Tanto, a high-end knife store, just around the corner from the entrance. Here, you can buy some of the best Japanese knives on the market, curated by 10th generation sword makers. Or if you have your own impressive knives at home, then bring them along for an expert sharpening service.
If you’re happily ensconced in your room, nestled in the comfy king size bed watching your favourite movie, then settle in for the night with the room service menu. We ordered the Kaiser burger, because let's face it – along with a club sandwich, it’s an iconic room service meal and we just needed to check it out. It arrived in a QT black box, and didn't disappoint: with two patties and the classic burger fillings, it hit the spot. The crinkle-cut chips were nostalgic and delicious. For a healthier option, we also ordered the rice paper rolls.
So for that next special birthday or anniversary, or if you have an out of town guest who is looking for a hotel recommendation, then look no further than QT Melbourne – no wonder it’s the place that people are queuing up to experience.
Joint review by Helen & Carmen: Helen ordered the room service, and Carmen celebrated the birthday! And…Helen recommended the QT to Monica Lewinsky when she crept into town the week before the US Presidential Election.