Novotel Melbourne Central is in a new 35-storey building with a distinctive blue glass exterior that sits just 400 metres north of Melbourne's GPO. As such, it's handy to pretty much everything lovely, lively Melbourne has to offer, including its impressive public transport system.
Accor's budget Ibis brand occupies the lower levels of the building while mid-range Novotel sits on levels 20 to 35. The two share the entrance, the reception level and the handsome dining facilities. The décor is understated with occasional moments of flamboyance – such as the vivid green signage for Floyd's, the aperitivo bar – and everything gleams shiny and new.
My room (3501) is a 55-square-metre top-floor Junior Suite that gazes north to infinity and beyond. It comprises a bedroom, lounge room, substantial entry zone, enormous bathroom and a separate "powder room" near the entry. There are three other Novotel room types – superior, deluxe and executive – which range from 22 square metres to 47 square metres. Between the Novotel and the Ibis there are 483 rooms in the building.
The wall that separates bedroom and lounge in room 3501 somewhat cramps the style of what could have been a glorious open-plan eyrie, but the division of space, plus the separate toilet, are likely to be a bonus for couples where one partner needs to sleep while the other works or watches TV.
The vast bathroom has an on-trend glass wall that would make a show of bathing in the luxe tub while the big shower tucked away at the rear offers modesty a chance.
The in-room facilities include two 55-inch smart TVs, a work desk, mini bar, instant and pod coffee, and Novotel-branded toiletries.
There are three good dining options in the building: Floyd's, Pretty Boy Italian Steakhouse and, at street level, Goldie Asian Canteen + Brews. The aim is to establish them as dining destinations in their own right, independent of the Novotel and Ibis brands.
Accor has snapped up chef Michael Smith – whose CV includes stints at Jacques Reymond, Tonka and Mamasita – to orchestrate the menus.
Pretty Boy, the main restaurant, is a handsome space with a big open kitchen. Do try the gnocchi with black truffle, porcini and portobello ragout, the various cheesecakes and the antipasti meats that glide from the blade of Smith's glossy new slicer. Pretty Boy also hosts the hotel's varied and beautifully-presented breakfast buffet.
You could walk to pretty much everything within the City of Melbourne from this hotel – including charming laneways, the Ian Potter Gallery, the Crown complex and the multitude of shops and other entertainments in between. Hardware Lane, the nearest cross-street, is a longstanding culinary hotspot and home to Mizona, French Saloon and Kirk's Wine Bar, all of which are featured in the 2019 Good Food Guide.
A fresh mid-ranger with impressive dining options that provides a convenient base for exploring Melbourne.
Novotel Melbourne Central, 399 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. Superior rooms from $179 a night, suites from $400. See accorhotels.com
The warm and welcoming staff, from reception to kitchen.
The bathroom is big and beautiful but my kingdom for some towel hooks.
Lissa Christopher stayed as a guest of Novotel Melbourne Central.