Known for their party-hard properties, W Hotels are always dressed to kill. W Melbourne, with its tenebrous, laneway-sized hallways and splatters of vibrant art, certainly shares the brand’s design DNA. It’s the sober dedication to excellence – namely the excellent on-site dining – that sets this outpost apart from its more hyper-global counterparts. Read on for the full review.

Don’t get us wrong: the hotel doesn’t turn away from leading guests into temptation. There’s the subterranean speak-easy Curious, where elaborate cocktails are prepared behind a wonky pile of black marble, a glittering pool where weekend swims descend into afternoon dancing, and in-room ‘minibars’ that are actually full cocktail set-ups. Stay in or step it up – it’s up to you.

Where is W Melbourne?

W Melbourne exterior

Adorning the corner of Flinders Lane and Market Street, the hotel towers above the quieter end of Flinders Lane, near the unquiet, bar-lined King Street. It’s about half an hour from the airport by car, or a 10-minute walk from the SkyBus CBD stop.

What’s near W Melbourne?

The proximity to Flinders Lane and its notable culinary offshoots is an obvious food lover’s drawcard – you’re about three city blocks from where the cluster of famed eateries such as Coda, Nomad, Chin Chin and Cumulus begins. It’s also only about 12 minutes by foot to ACMI and Federation Square for the art lover, and roughly five minutes longer to the NGV.

Room types

W Melbourne, Victoria

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Vibrancy is a key tenet of decorative style here, although no room tips the balance. Amid the contained riot of mural-like art features, ‘unzipped’ feature walls and mustard-coloured chairs, there are incredibly comfortable beds, automated blackout curtains, Davines amenities and woven cotton bathrobes to ensure relaxation. The minibars and beverage stations are a delight, with biodegradable locally-sourced St. Ali coffee pods for the machine and deliciously soothing Love Tea bags for switching off.

Restaurants and bars

Lollo restaurant and bar at W Melbourne

This is where things get really interesting. Adam D’Sylva, of local Coda and Tonka fame, heads up brekkie and lunch spot Lollo, a slice of bright space and velvet banquettes that overlooks Flinders Street. Service is attentive yet friendly and the food, which harnesses D’Sylva’s Italo-Asian approach, is of the same Coda calibre that keeps the Flinders Lane restaurant booked solid almost every night of the week. Our tip? The whole fried baby snapper, set in a coconut caramel and dressed with a garden of fresh coriander, might just change your life.

W Melbourne, Victoria

The intimate Warabi, which just earned two hats, mixes omakase and kappo-style Japanese dining (somewhere between the formal kaiseki and the relaxed izakaya) in a dimly lit L-shaped dining room that almost demands a hushed tone and the food – laced with rich flavours of black truffle, flavourful dashi and tuna belly – deserves reverence.

Guests can also fall down the rabbit hole at Curious; a moody, cave-like drinking den with a twisting timber-eaved roof and stacked marble slab bar. It’s decadent and dark, with a cocktail list to match. (Even non-whisky types will enjoy the Sonic Cymatics, a “sonically-aged” cocktail shaken to perfection by the throb of a curated music list).

There’s also a chill cafe, Culprit, serving coffee and light bites, as well as wine and charcuterie boards.

Travel for work

Conference facilities for around 300 shoot off from the hotel’s buzzy cafe area, with a few attached breakout spaces and meeting rooms. All rooms have a circular table and comfy chair for remote working, as well as free wi-fi.

Gym and pool

Party people erm, pool on level 14’s WET, the hotel’s answer to a glitzy recreation club. The glossy pool area, topped by a wave of gold perspex panels, is punctuated by a DJ booth – manned during Sunday afternoon sessions – and a white marble bar. Don’t worry – there are off hours and then, it transforms into a relatively quiet space of a lazy few sauntering between the steam room and the water. The gym, on the same level, is surprisingly generous, with a great view over the surrounding skyline.

What you need to know

    Best for: Couples and celebration groups
    Design: Edgy
    Ambiance: Buzzy
    Number of rooms: 294
    Rates: From $395
    Wi-fi: Free
    Parking: Valet car parking for guests only, $70 a day
    Address: 408 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
    Phone: (03) 9113 8800

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W Melbourne, Victoria

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The staff that man the Whatever/Whenever desk can do it all: find solutions for charger-less guests, suggest the best cocktails at underground Curious and throw out recommendations for nearby bars and eateries. All you need to do is ask.

SEE ALSO: The Best Hotels in Melbourne’s CBD

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