Inspiration Destinations Australia Victoria A Riverside Staycation with Dive Bars and Classic Bistro Fare at Crowne Plaza Melbourne

A Riverside Staycation with Dive Bars and Classic Bistro Fare at Crowne Plaza Melbourne

Crowne Plaza Melbourne - Luxury Escapes

Crowne Plaza Melbourne is the only Melbourne stay that sits on a prime piece of absolute riverfront real estate, giving your stay a very different view of the city.

Although the curved building is known to many who wander this part of the riverfront, what is less well known is that Crowne Plaza Melbourne underwent a major refurbishment right before the pandemic, adding 30 new rooms, reimagining the rooftop pool and turning the distinctive atrium into its very own food and beverage precinct.

What’s the neighbourhood like?

The Southbank location opposite the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre makes this hotel a darling for travellers heading to major events. On our stay the atrium was packed with cosplayers from Oz ComicCon giving the hotel a festival feel and the view from our suite takes in a pop-up ferris wheel with coloured lights that has sprung up across the water. Nearby, you can wander the Yarra Promenade stacked with high-end dining like 400 Gradi or Bistro Guillaume, or head across to the Polly Woodside by day for some maritime history or outlet shopping at DFO South Wharf.

Where am I sleeping?

The hotel's Melbourne Suites are evenly divided between living area – with sofa, armchairs and kitchenette featuring T2 and Koko Black chocolates – and bedroom with an ensuite including a huge sunken bath and oversized vanity. Both rooms have slightly differing views thanks to that well-known curve of the building and the hotel’s signature scent is designed to amplify the relaxation. Sink into the king bed and watch Melbourne riverside life go by.

A guest suite at Crowne Plaza Melbourne - Luxury Escapes

What's on the menu?

The atrium area has been activated as a lively food and beverage space with Pow Wow offering a light, bright coffee stop, Dive Bar presenting a neon-infused take on America’s louche drinking dens and Ottie’s catering in classic bistro fare. Dinner at Ottie’s next door starts with Stracciatella with heirloom tomatoes and slices of crunchy bread and a Caesar Salad; a main of saffron seafood risotto is topped with charred prawns and scallops bringing a welcome smokiness.

A meal at Crowne Plaza Melbourne - Luxury Escapes

And how about drinks?

The night starts with us bellying up to the bar at Dive Bar and ordering a Dive Star, a pink-tinged cocktail with gin, passionfruit, chocolate and citrus while tunes play on the classic jukebox in the corner. The whole placed is bathed in blue and purple neon invoking its roadside US namesake and staff are friendly and fast on a shaker.

What are the facilities like?

The common areas in the atrium are a highlight with lots of breakout spaces where you can feel like you have a little nook of the hotel all to yourself. The Crowne Plaza Melbourne design is unlike other hotels and coming out of the lift into huge circular lobbies with central seats makes it feel spacious and retro-futuristic. The rooftop pool is a find, equally accessible from either wing of the hotel but set behind the curve of the rooms that serve as a cosy windbreak for a rooftop dip. Pearl Riverfront is a multi-purpose event space with ten flexible meeting areas.

A shared space at Crowne Plaza Melbourne - Luxury Escapes

What sets Crowne Plaza Melbourne apart?

The absolute waterfront, the conference convenience and the celebratory atmosphere of the lively atrium entrance space.  

Who will love Crowne Plaza Melbourne?

Everyone going by the demographics on the weekend we stayed. Cosplayers, families, large groups and couples enjoying a romantic dinner in Ottie’s.

The writer was a guest of Crowne Plaza Melbourne.

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out 9 of the Best Things to do in Melbourne with Kids.

About Paul Chai
Paul Chai has been a travel writer for over two decades. He has dived with great white sharks in South Australia, walked the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival and stuffed himself with enough food and wine working on the Good Food Guide to make his GP shake his head. Chai is currently managing editor of Dream by Luxury Escapes.

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