Joining Hilton's stable in late 2014, the DoubleTree by Hilton Melbourne: Flinders Street hotel effectively replaced the former Hilton on the Park – now Accor's Pullman on the Park – to offer Melbourne-bound travellers affordable rooms in the city's CBD.
It's not quite the Hilton Melbourne South Wharf hotel in terms of size of luxury, but with friendly staff and 180 fully-refurbished rooms, it's got plenty to offer the business traveller.
Location & Impressions
As the name suggests, the hotel sits on Flinders Street in the city's CBD – directly across the road from the iconic and handy Flinders Street Station. It's also in a more convenient location than the Hilton South Wharf for travellers with business in the city centre, while remaining within easy walking distance of Federation Square, the Arts Centre and the National Gallery of Victoria.
That particular part of town can be a little boisterous later in the evenings and on weekends, but we still felt more than safe walking about at night and did so without incident.
Guests are greeted by a very funky lobby area that houses a bar and restaurant directly next to reception... ... which heroes industrial styling such as uncovered ceilings and concrete walls, but does look considerably more 'normal' up close.
Frequent travellers may also recognise this hotel from its days as the Citigate Melbourne, but if you haven't been back since the transition to the DoubleTree brand and its subsequent – and significant – renovations, you're in for a pleasant surprise.
It all starts with DoubleTree's signature warm cookie on check-in... ... followed by a journey upstairs in the refurbished lifts and re-styled hallways... ... before arriving in a room that's barely recognisable from what used to be.
Our King City View room was spacious without being overly so, offering a Bluetooth-enabled clock radio with a USB charging port, bedside AC power and a separate chair facing towards the TV... ... although only one bedside table (to the left), with just a small space between the bed and the wall on the right that's adequate only for getting in and out without disturbing a sleeping partner.
The room otherwise makes good use of space with a working area... ... desk-level power points with both AC and USB sockets... ... an espresso machine within easy reach if you're nodding off at your keyboard... ... a PIN-controlled safe, a fridge, coffee- and tea-making facilities... ... and an open wardrobe near the entrance with some of the softest bathrobes I've ever encountered at a hotel. The 'city view' certainly lives up to its name on what was the 10th floor... ... while the bathroom squeezes in everything you need and provides Crabtree & Evelyn amenities. There's also a business centre and free wireless in-room Internet for all Hilton HHonors Blue, Silver, Gold and Diamond members who book direct with the hotel: that's over the phone, at reception or via the Hilton website, rather than other sites like Expedia.
The connection proved incredibly fast: download speeds mimicked an entry-level NBN fibre connection and upload speeds were almost twice that.
Missing was both an iron in the room and an Executive Lounge for business travellers, but given the hotel doesn't have Executive-level rooms, the latter's absence is understandable.
We should also flag that some of the more basic rooms at this hotel are rather on the 'small' side and can come without external windows, although we were more than satisfied with our higher-category, high-floor room.
Breakfast is served daily at Platform 270 with most items complimentary for HHonors Gold and Diamond members, and hot selections such as bacon and sausages available for an extra $6/day. Along with the typical breads, pastries, cereals and fruit, you'll also find a small selection of chilled meats and a healthy-themed fridge with yoghurt, Bircher muesli and a juicer. The fridge is a little hidden, though – facing away from the tables and directly towards the kitchen, so approach the hot buffet section and turn around to spot it.
Machine-crafted espresso coffee is also available, along with a selection of fresh juices: In the evenings the restaurant serves dinner with a focus on both comfort dishes and flame-grilled steaks, but provides a good choice of reasonably-priced tapas, share dishes and sliders to complement a beer or glass of vino.
We wandered in at 7:45pm on a weeknight and couldn't spot a member of staff in the dining room, so took a seat where we were soon greeted and then able to order.
Guests can also avail of very reasonably-priced room service with mains around the $20 mark, and both beverages and snacks from the well-stocked mini-bar.
You won't find swimming pools or day spas here: instead, head to the gym and make use of its cardio equipment and weight gear... ... overlooking Flinders Street Station and open daily between 6am and 10pm: early risers and night owls take note.
Otherwise, retreat to your room and take in a movie on-demand, or choose from a number of Foxtel channels centred around sports, news, documentaries and general entertainment to complement the free-to-air programming. Overall, with speedy in-room Internet, free breakfast for frequent guests and power points aplenty to charge your gadgets, the DoubleTree by Hilton Melbourne ticks most of the boxes for business travellers.
Yes, some rooms can certainly be a little cosier than others, but with HHonors Gold and Diamond members enjoying free space-available room upgrades, you're in with a fighting chance for something roomier with a city or station view.
Also read: Hilton Melbourne South Wharf hotel review
Chris Chamberlin was a guest of DoubleTree by Hilton Melbourne.
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