Uh oh. Not another apartment hotel, the hotel you're having when you're really not having a hotel at all. But wait. This one is different. In fact, the 95-room Treasury on Collins is quite, well, an underrated treasure. It's located inside an historic 19th century building with a near perfect location right on bustling Collins Street, Melbourne's premier Central Business District avenue. The hotel is located within the special CBD fare-free tram zone, meaning no pass is required if you don't travel outside, and it's also close to the main department stores and retail outlets focused on and around Bourke Street. Of course, the Victorian capital's other myriad attractions, such as its renowned restaurants, cafes, bars and its famed laneways, are omnipresent.
Built in 1876 as a two-storey neoclassical-style building for the Bank of Australasia, which would eventually become ANZ, three further storeys were added in 1930. Guests tend to miss out on the stunning and expansive former bank space, now occupied by a casual restaurant and bar, what with the small, separate reception – accessed via Queen Street – tucked away behind it. Treasury on Collins on the mezzanine level of the hotel is a lounge open for the exclusive use of guests with complimentary tea, coffee, soft drinks, computers with printers and a pool table, available from 8am to 5pm daily.
Formerly the Sebel, the building's soaring ceilings, a legacy of its 19th century heritage, allow for plenty of space and split-level rooms. My 70-square-metres heritage loft apartment includes one of the biggest windows I've ever encountered, extending across the space's entire two floors, as well as one of the steepest stairs up to my separate bedroom (note that children between the ages of six months to eight years are not permitted to stay in this type of apartment). There is a living room, kitchenette with a microwave, washer-dryer as well as an always welcome Nespresso machine along with Netflix access and gratis Wi-Fi. Although key aspects of my apartment appear to have been refurbished, the somewhat dated and detracting cabinetry looks to be a relic of the hotel's previous incarnation.
Breakfast is served on the mezzanine level of the hotel but you may want to head out and experience Melbourne's renowned laneway cafe culture. A five-minute or so stroll from the hotel is Hardware Lane where a favourite cafe of the reviewer is the charming French-run La Petite Creperie, open for breakfast and lunch. There is no room service but it's possible to order and collect meals from the restaurant, The Bank of Collins, independently-run from the hotel, downstairs.
Many of Melbourne's main attractions, such as Federation Square and the National Gallery of Victoria, are within easy reach and here at Treasury of Collins you're slap-bang in the middle of unquestionably one of the world's great cities for dining at all levels.
If you're serious about food during your stay, invest in a copy of The Age Good Food Guide on your arrival. The historic building in which the hotel operates is an attraction in its own right. Grab a copy of the excellent self-guided tour of the fascinating building.
Apartment hotels can, with their inherent minimal service and limited amenities, be dull places to stay. But Treasury on Collins Apartment Hotel is a welcome exception. A pleasant and affordable surprise, it somehow manages to avoid such pitfalls with an adequately-staffed reception and spacious and well-appointed rooms.
Treasury on Collins Apartment Hotel, 394 Collins Street, Melbourne. Doubles from $208. Ph: 03 8535 8535; www.treasuryoncollins.com.au
History and heritage architecture buffs can't fail to love the magnificent 19th century landmark building in which Treasury of Collins is located.
The part of Melbourne where Treasury on Collins is located can be quiet at weekends but action, in the form of dining, imbibing and shopping are only a short and pleasant stroll away.
Anthony Dennis was a guest of Treasury on Collins Apartment Hotel