DoubleTree, a boutique-style, four-star spin-off of the Hilton brand, is firmly planting itself in the Australian market. This 180-room, 14-storey Melbourne branch, which opened in late 2014, is one of a quartet of DoubleTree properties in Australia with the latest edition having recently opened in Perth's inner-city Northbridge. Hilton has certainly taken its time fully unfurling the DoubleTree welcome mat in a significant way on our shores since the brand is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Better late than never.
The hotel is conveniently situated within walking distance of many of Melbourne's main attractions, most notably, its famed network of restaurant and café-filled laneways. Along with the hulkingly historic Flinders Street Station, one of the city's two main railway terminals, straight across the road, there are tram stops right outside the DoubleTree's front door with rides free for all within the CBD limits.
The hotel's somewhat dark open-plan reception, bar and restaurant extending across the ground floor straight from the street-front entrance has an easy-going feel as befitting a boutique-style establishment. The lobby's "industrial-chic" design theme, which includes a sculptural "industrial wall" effect, was inspired by Flinders Street Station and Melbourne's gritty bluestone laneways.
Comfortable though not luxurious, my sizeable, pleasantly-designed and well-appointed king "skyline river view" room, with its special "Sweet Dreams" DoubleTree bed, or "sleep experience", comes with a knockout view. It directly overlooks the imposing clocktower and platforms of Flinders Street Station and, beyond it, the Yarra River and Southbank skyline. In a salute to the hotel's transport-rich location, the walls of the attractive bathrooms are covered in classic white railway tiles in another reference to the hotel's station location.
There's a relaxed in-house restaurant, Platform 270 – another nod to Flinders Street Station opposite – which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner but this being Melbourne the boundless opportunities for eating out can easily entice the guest on to the streets outside. Degraves Lane, one of the city's liveliness alleys, is just around the corner from the DoubleTree. Among the best places for a bite, and, of course, a coffee, are a couple of Melbourne institutions, Degraves Espresso, located at the Flinders Lane of Degraves Lane and Brunetti, right on Flinders Lane itself.
Many of Melbourne's major cultural drawcards, such as Federation Square and the National Gallery of Victoria, are easily walkable from the hotel as is the CBD shopping precinct centred around the nearly Bourke Street Mall. Despite its reputation, the close by Yarra River has emerged as Melbourne latest laneway, of sorts and albeit a watery one, with its banks nowadays lined with pop-up bars including one even positioned under a footbridge.
This congenial branch of the DoubleTree Hilton is a perfect choice if you don't need, or want to pay for, the flashier features of the city's various five-stars but you still want to stay close to the CBD action.
Doubles start from about $195 for a queen room. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Melbourne, 270 Flinders Street, Melbourne. Phone (03) 9654 6888; See doubletree3.hilton.com
DoubleTree greets guests on check-in with not a welcome drink but a signature chocolate chip biscuit, or "cookie" as this American chain refers to them.
The hotel's otherwise ideal location opposite Flinders Street Station can be a little seedy at times and in parts.
Anthony Dennis stayed as a guest of DoubleTree Hilton Melbourne – Flinders Street.