Exploring Melbourne’s Laneway Labyrinth Getaway Magic
The Geraldton Guardian16/06/2010
BOOKING a good hotel in Melbourne when you are sitting in Geraldton can be a challenge — especially finding one with a good location, easy access and at a great rate.
Firstly I had to pick myself up off the floor from ticket-shock at the price to fly to Perth. Could it really be $540.00 return at short notice? My return ticket to Melbourne from Perth was $605.00 at short notice - only $65.00 more than Geraldton-Perth. They say if you book
in advance you may get a better deal but I swear the special price buttons simply do not work or are nearly always “sold out”.
I just tried again when writing this article and with four weeks notice the best I could get was $360.00 Let’s lay out the red carpet when competition comes to town. Anyway, back to the hotel — a friend had recommended staying in the trendy Bank Place area. Bank Place is typical of Melbourne’s labyrinth of hidden laneways lined with boutique shops and European style cafes. All within walking distance of art galleries, museums, cultural areas, sporting stadiums, and wonderful restaurants.
So I chose the Metro Apartments. The company had recently run a giveaway in the Guardian and Mid West Times. As we were helping promote them it seemed like a good idea to check them out. For $135.00 I was given the Winter Warmer package, which included accommodation for two people in a one bedroom apartment, complimentary bottle of wine on arrival and a breakfast pack. So, refusing to pay another $540.00 to fly to Perth, I hopped in the car (petrol $44.00) and drove to Perth for the flight to Melbourne.
After a pleasant flight on Qantas I arrived at 5.30am in Melbourne and bought a Sky Shuttle Ticket ($16.00) which dropped me off at Spencer Street (Southern Cross Station), a short walk up to Bank Place. Bank Place is tucked away down an atmospheric cobbled laneway. The surrounding heritage-listed piazza introduces
you to Melbourne’s charming lanes and city precinct with its range of cafes, restaurants and enticing shopping. Bustling by day and alive with al fresco dining by night, Bank Place is situated a short stroll from all of Melbourne’s sought after attractions — Bourke Street Mall, Federation Square, Southgate Centre and Crown Casino.
Hop on one of Melbourne’s famous trams to spend the day at the MCG or the National Gallery of Victoria, or go shopping in chic St Kilda and Chapel Street. Evenings may find you eating Italian on Lygon Street or taking in a show at the Victorian Arts Centre — only a short ride away by taxi.
The apartments are ideal accommodation for anyone attending Melbourne’s many world-class sporting and cultural events. Throughout winter the AFL season is in full swing and the city will also host quite a few NRL games. My room was a single bedroom suite, nicely appointed with a fresh smell and very fresh linen that was not cheap or harsh. The suites include a fully equipped kitchen and laundry so guests can self-cater.
I am told Bank Place features 60 rooms with a choice of either one-bedroom suites or studio rooms, as well as a unique spa room and a split level, two bedroom penthouse. Throw in a lot of free movies and Foxtel all for $135.00 a night and I would rate it a good deal.
Guests can book at Metro Apartments on Bank Place and other Metro Hotels properties by calling the toll free Central Reservations line on 1800 00 4321. Alternatively bookings can be made online at www.metrohotels.com.au
Article by Alex McKinnon