Weekend Away: Adelphi Hotel, Melbourne

Read our writer's views on this property below

With spoon at the ready, Robert Upe checks into the dessert-themed Adelphi Hotel in Melbourne.

THE SETTING

For years, the 34-room Adelphi Hotel has been known for its rooftop 25-metre glass-bottomed lap pool that juts out over Flinders Lane. The Adelphi was the first boutique hotel in Australia when it opened in a converted nine-storey warehouse with a minimalist industrial design in 1993. It made a big splash at that time as one of the world's hippest hotels. Now, with new owners who have rescued it from liquidation and an eight-month closure, it has taken on a unique dimension as the world's only dessert-themed hotel, styled by Melbourne design firm Hachem. And it is as hip as ever.

THE SPACE

The hotel has been renovated and spruced up with a funky/retro/industrial bent. A lot of the furniture looks like it would be right at home in Mad Men and the colours and textures of the hotel are tastefully based on desserts. There's no such thing as a traditional hotel reception desk, just a small counter with glass jars full of sweets such as Jaffas, Minties and Jelly Beans, free for the taking. The entry level also has swinging couches and armchairs, a 10-seat cocktail bar and the small Om Nom dessert restaurant. The hotel reopened in October and has already hit 100 per cent occupancy on some nights. It should be absolutely buzzing soon, if it catches on with the after-theatre crowd after chocolate souffle.

THE KIT

The dessert theme continues in the rooms with more glass jars of sweets, popcorn and other sugary temptations. I go for an old favourite, a Wizz Fizz sachet of sherbet powder. The carpet is patterned like the layers of a cake and in one corner stands a liquorice allsorts foot stool. My room is filled with handsome picture books, too, from pop art, to American art deco, and desserts of course. The bathroom is industrial, with a long stainless steel double basin.

FOOD

The Om Nom dessert restaurant and bar serves decadent sweets and cocktails from the hands of Ritz Paris chef Christie Tanya Angwidjaja and internationally renowned Pierrick Boyer, who is on board as a consultant. Banana flambe with rum-soaked cinnamon, lemon tarts and sorbets, an avocado mousse, and a peanut butter gateau are stars of the dessert line-up ($12 to $26). There is a selection of about six smallish savoury dishes meant for sharing ($9 to $24) including wagyu sliders, pan-seared duck breast, and caramelised scallops. The breakfast menu ($14 to $22) has baked harissa eggs with chorizo.

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COMFORT FACTOR

The funky retro furniture in the rooms is toe-curlingly good. The sofas, armchairs and carpets are soft. The big-screen television is loaded with movies and the nightly turn-down service delivers bedside macarons. The books help provide a homely touch. There is a New York apartment-style feel to the place.

WORTH STEPPING OUT FOR

Within two minutes' walk in every direction of the Adelphi is something uniquely Melbourne. Go north for the Regent Theatre, which is running with King Kong until February 16; south for the street art of Hosier Lane or Spanish tapas at MoVida; east for a clutch of the city's hottest eateries including Chin Chin, Tonka, Coda and Meatball; and west for latte at Brunettis or a laneway cafe table in Degraves Street. If you head to the roof of the hotel, the lap pool still sticks out over Flinders Lane, and down in the basement there is Ezard restaurant, which wears two hats in the 2014 Age Good Food Guide. Soon, an Andrew McConnell restaurant is scheduled to open across the road.

THE VERDICT

A character-filled five-star hotel, superb in every respect. Don't forget your toothbrush.

HOW TO GET THERE

187 Flinders Lane is one block from Flinders Street railway station.

ESSENTIALS

Basic rooms cost from $270-$395, depending on the time of year. The top-end Palatial Suite is $700-$850. Rate includes Wi-Fi and mini bar with snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. Commercial car parking is available next door with a discounted rate of $16 for 24 hours. Phone 03 8080 888, see adelphi.com.au.

The writer stayed as a guest of the Adelphi Hotel.