Melbourne is a city with no lack of apartment hotels, which is a real boon for the business traveller. Extra space to work and relax is a real benefit when compared with regular hotels.
In Australian Business Traveller's continuing quest to bring you real-world experiences of places you'd stay while away on business across the country and abroad, I headed to the Mantra on Little Bourke.
The Mantra on Little Bourke itself is tucked away on -- unsurprisingly -- Little Bourke Street, in an unassuming building that looks like an office block.
If you're unfamiliar with Melbourne, Little Bourke is one of the smaller streets between the main tram-carrying ones, so if you're arriving with luggage a taxi might be a good idea.
The lobby is a little dim, and check-in seemed a little disorganised, since the staff had no record of my reservation, which took some time to fix.
Upstairs, the corridors felt more like an apartment building or converted office than a hotel.
Inside the apartment, the corporate office feel continued, with white-white walls and a fair bit of corridor with a distinctly corporate hard-wearing carpet. The bedroom and bathroom doors were off the L-shaped corridor, with the living/dining/kitchen room at the far end.
The bedroom was a reasonable size but average in furnishings: bed, bedside tables, glass-doored wardrobe.
The bathroom was fine, with notably decent toiletries, bath and separate walk-in shower, although the flimsy shower cubicle felt more motel than hotel.
The main room included a fairly uncomfortable two-seater sofa and two chairs by a coffee table, facing a large flatscreen TV.
A small desk and round four-seater dining table were on the other side of the room, by the small kitchenette with sink, microwave and two-ring hotplate.
Inexcusably, there's no way to control the air conditioning from within the apartment, and even on a relatively cool spring day in Melbourne the room was stuffy.
While the staff tried to adjust the air-con settings for the whole floor and brought up a fan, it did seem a little odd not to be able to adjust the temperature, and the office-style overhead louvres reinforced my impression that the hotel had been converted from a cubicle farm.
At night, the room could have used a few more lights: the overhead options were mainly small halogen spotlights, which didn't exactly bring a warm, homey feel to the place.
Alibi Kitchen & Bar is downstairs in the lobby, serving up reasonable food, which is also available for room service. The calamari were particularly good -- so much so that I picked them two days in a row.
The room service was oddly done, though, with starter, main and dessert brought up to the room separately. It took ages and meant that I had to stop what I was doing and walk down the corridor to let the room service waiter in each time.
But with a very handy location, you won't be short of places to find a decent bite to eat nearby. (Try the cafe Le Triskel, motto: "arrogantly French", for good coffee and a fantastic crêpe.)