Whether you’re heading to Melbourne for a quick holiday or taking a staycation in your home city, a weekend spent in a hotel is generally the ideal way to reset. If an upcoming trip is in the works for you, we’ve got you covered with a 48-hour guide to Melbourne, complete with some of the most exciting cultural and dining experiences on offer – as well as where to stay and where to indulge in some essential self-care along the way.
The start of a trip is often the least relaxing part of a holiday – thanks to working out where to go, where to eat and how to get there. Take some of that pressure off by planning a stay at Le Meridien, where you can drop your bags in the morning, which should help you get excited for your stay that night. The new luxury hotel on Bourke Street is in an old art deco building.
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There’s no compromise on character here, with a striking balance of contemporary chic and mid-century sophistication. Conveniently, you can get yourself a cup of Axil Coffee in the lobby's Intermission Cafe & Bar. Grab an open sandwich or get your hands on the croque monsieur – if there are any left. By night, the cafe morphs into a wine bar with European-inspired small plates – so make a note to head back at night to try out their after-dusk menu.
For dinner, head to one of Melbourne’s iconic dining institutions, Florentino’s. There aren’t many restaurants left in Melbourne where they’ll open the door for you, hang your jacket, pull out your chair and fold your napkin across your lap, but you’ll experience this service at Florentino’s. Expect traditional decadent dishes of venison carpaccio, lardo ravioli and honeycomb tripe, suckling pig, roast partridge and hand-cut fettuccini with rock lobster.
If you’re not quite ready to head home after dinner, head to Her Music Room to unwind. The listening bar is home to over 3000 records, spanning disco, jazz, funk, house and beyond. Have an after-dinner drink and dance off the day, before retiring back to your room at Le Meridien to enjoy the type of sleep that only a hotel bed can offer.
Sleep in and wake up well rested, before a slow start to the day with a stroll through Fitzroy Gardens, one of Melbourne’s most picturesque green spaces, situated on the east side of the CBD. Head to Aru for an early lunch, and a menu combining Southeast Asian flavours with native Australian ingredients, cooked over woodfire. A tip: order the Bunnings-esque duck sausage snag.
In the afternoon, experience Melbourne’s cultural pulse, with a visit to any of the city’s countless galleries and cultural spaces. Check out Melbourne Now at the NGV, which features over 250 works by local artists working across fashion, jewellery, painting, sculpture, architecture, ceramics, video, virtual reality, performance, photography, printmaking, publishing and graphic design.
When it’s time for dinner, head to 20 Bourke St to feast at Dolly Restaurant, and make sure you order a cocktail (or two) as well. Dolly’s interior is inspired by the artists of the stage and screen with arched mirrors, mulberry leather banquette seating and marble tabletops. Chef Christian Gaebner has trained in kitchens across Europe; expect dishes including Coffin Bay oysters with Champagne Sorbet, cured salmon roulade and lamb crepinette. If you finish dinner before 9.30pm, head up to the hotel’s rooftop for a drink at Le Splash Pool Bar, accompanied by a spectacular view over the city.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Le Meridien Melbourne.