Inspiration Destinations Australia This Quietly Confident Melbourne Laneway Hotel is a Staycation Sensation

This Quietly Confident Melbourne Laneway Hotel is a Staycation Sensation

February 22, 2023
Hyatt Centric Melbourne, one of the best staycation hotels in Melbourne - Luxury Escapes

Joining the ranks of the city’s go-to hotels, Hyatt Centric is a gem hidden in classic Melbourne style: down a laneway.

I’m an advocate of the staycation. It’s a little taste of escapism when time or budget won’t allow for further-flung endeavours. Rediscovering your city takes on a new freedom with the knowledge you can stay out as late as you like, a welcoming bed just steps away. You can even start each morning in true holiday style with a swim at the hotel pool and breakfast you didn’t have to cook for yourself: bliss.

On Downie Street, a laneway adjacent to one of Melbourne’s most famous brunch spots, The Hardware Société, is the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it entrance to Hyatt Centric, which is as unassuming as the hotel itself. Vibe-wise, it’s stylish and modern, but in no way shouty or ostentatious: quiet, earthy tones, clay tiles and leafy fronds create a pocket of calmness right in the city grid. Adding to the chilled-out atmosphere is the tinkle of live music from the lobby; an acoustic guitarist is perched on a stool strumming Latin American-sounding melodies. It’s a little touch that eases you instantly into vacation mode.

King Room at Hyatt Centric Melbourne, one of Melbourne's best staycation hotels - Luxury Escapes
King Bed View Deluxe, Hyatt Centric Melbourne. Source: Simon Shiff.

My 21st-floor King Bed Deluxe Room is like an ode to the city. A coffee table book, Melbourne I Love You by local photographer Chris Cincotta, is beside the bed, with the rug under my feet bearing names of landmarks from Queen Victoria Market to Tower Rialto and Southern Cross Station. Skyscrapers glisten beyond the curtains, adding allure to the hotel’s catchphrase – ‘you are here, now go anywhere’. And the bed? It’s as if a cloud has wafted in through the open window. There’s a Nespresso coffee maker and the minibar is on-request (which is a blessing in disguise to avoid any impromptu snaffles).

After settling in, I set off, the city my freshly shucked oyster. The shops of Bourke Street, the first attraction on my stay-cay wishlist, are a 20-minute stroll away. En route, I become reacquainted with the city’s Victorian-era arcades and newly acquainted with laneways I’ve never stumbled across before, making mental notes to return for coffee at quirky spots.

After a walk back to the hotel with my purchases (all wholly unnecessary, but hey – I’M ON STAYCATION), I ascend to the 25th floor to the sky-high Langlands Restaurant and Bar, which is quite the hidden gem. Slipping under the radar amid the fanfare and buzz of new openings in the city, this could be Melbourne’s best-kept secret: sensational skyline views aren’t even the star of the show, it’s the menu, thoughtfully designed around local ingredients sourced from small producers and farmers across Victoria.

Langlands Restaurant and Bar at Hyatt Centric Melbourne, one of the best staycation hotels in Melbourne
Langlands Restaurant and Bar, Hyatt Centric Melbourne. Source: Simon Shiff.

The Gippsland lamb shank falls apart under my fork, the tender meat perfectly complemented by green pea risotto, creamy Persian feta and zingy gremolata. Light, moist barramundi is golden-crispy on the outside, nesting on a bed of crushed kipfler potatoes finished with burnt butter, citrus and fried oysters. The truffle fries are the most indulgent I’ve ever seen, piled high and seasoned with daikon, Swiss browns and green onion, and a level of Parmesan shavings best suited to those who believe the limit does not exist. Service is kind and faultless – I’m even provided with a Polaroid snap to commemorate my visit.

As the city slips into darkness around the panoramic windows, it’s time for lights-out on my day of indulgence and to rest my weary shopping feet. The next morning, a slow start is a luxury in itself; the generous checkout time of 11am invites me to linger a little longer. I head down to check out the wellness area. The black-tiled pool, infinity-style with a rolled edge, is calm and spa-like in design, lined with leafy greenery. Soft cushioned bolsters are divided by brick columns, for a sense of privacy you don’t find at many hotel pools.

Location-wise, the hotel’s in the southwest of the CBD, which makes it ideal for travellers who want to reach Southbank and Southern Cross on-foot, while the East End theatre district is walkable in 30 minutes.

The verdict? A clean, comfortable, dependable stay for those who favour a quiet brand of cool over splashy and overtly trendy, with a restaurant I’d return for alone.

The writer was a guest of the hotel.

About Rebecca Ellwood
An English girl in Melbourne, Rebecca's exploring and tasting her way around Australia and beyond – and she does love a little luxury (who doesn't, darling?)

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