As Melbourne rouses from its COVID-19 slumber, down in the Docklands, a sleeping giant has also awoken. After an open-again-closed-again series of lockdowns rolled across the better parts of 2020 and 2021, so too, the opening of the Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands was on-again, off-again.
Now, with its doors firmly open, the hotel is not only the first five star in the Docklands precinct, but also a welcome boost of life to an area that has suffered from a dearth of rental residents due to international border closures.
And it's a milestone for Marriott: the 189-room hotel is the first Marriott-branded to open in Australia in 20 years.
Designed by DKO Architecture, the centrepiece of the new District Docklands on Waterfront Way features a 28-metre wet edge rooftop infinity pool, serviced by an adjoining bar with views across the city skyline, Bolte Bridge, Port Phillip Bay and Hobsons Bay.
With four restaurants and bars – and that fashionable pool – Marriott's Sean Hunt hopes Melbourne makes the hotel part of its cultural landscape. He might be onto something. On its opening weekend it had 60 per cent occupancy, impressive, considering the city has only just come out of lockdown.
"The opening of Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands right as the city emerges from lockdowns feels emblematic of Melbourne's re-emergence as a cultural capital," says Hunt.
"As things come back to life after what's been a difficult two years for residents and businesses on so many levels, we're finally seeing the bustling city returning to business as normal."
Marriott, along with Movenpick Hotel Melbourne are among at least 10 upscale hotels to have opened in Melbourne in 2021, despite the city being most COVID-affected in Australia in terms of lockdowns and state border closures.
But Hunt says, "it feels like a new chapter," noting it is the same for the hotel's staff who used their time to finetune and finesse all areas of operation and service.
"The staff at the hotel have worked hard throughout lockdowns to make this opening possible."
"We're hoping the opening of Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands adds excitement to lift the spirits of Melburnians seeing their city re-emerging, and draws back in interstate and international tourists to experience the city," he says.
Rooms at the Marriott Hotel Docklands start from about $270 a night. See Marriott.com