It’s been eight years since my last trip to Melbourne (absolutely criminal considering how much I loved it the first time)! But just last week Justin and I had the chance to return thanks to Citadines on Bourke. We travelled down for a whirlwind three days to capture the essence of the city and how it relates to this property’s particular location. What I love about Melbourne first and foremost is the absolute ease in getting around the CBD, and Citadines was no exception. Just up from Bourke Street Mall, it’s impossible to get lost while exploring for the first time (and if you do, it’s usually a great way to discover new laneways)! Perfect coffee, fine dining and boutique shopping comes together here to create a travel experience that satisfies the all of the senses…and provided plenty of inspiration for our latest video.
We have previously worked with Ascott Limited, the broader company which manages Citadines, to shoot Somerset Hobart and Ascott Jakarta. Their properties are generally geared towards business travel with serviced apartments located close to the CBD. To showcase Melbourne’s unique attractions, we took a normal work day and turned it on its head. For the business traveller in this city, no day is an ordinary one…
BOURKE STREET MELBOURNE
Home to the mall, this wide street is serviced by free trams and a great place to start your adventures from. We spent a couple of days admiring its historic architecture and boutique shopping mixed in with high-street stores. Here are my favourite finds from the CBD, starting at Myer in the mall and heading towards Flinders Street Station:
Accessible from Bourke or Elizabeth Street, this arcade was the first in Melbourne and is the longest standing in Australia. The building’s Italianate style reflected English architecture at the time, evident in its arched windows and decorative cornices. Chocolate lovers like myself must stop at Koko Black for handmade, gourmet chocolates in beautiful gift boxes. There’s never a shortage of shoppers sipping hot chocolate out on their arcade frontage. At the Little Collins Street exit I also discovered Caffe E Torta which reminded me of espresso bars in Italy (pictured below). It’s a handy pit stop for a coffee or baguette on the go.
THE BLOCK ARCADE
Crossing over Little Collins you will find The Block Arcade, another historic building in Melbourne. This arcade features an impressive dome structure which joins two arms of the arcade in the centre. Boutique and wholesome brands fill this space, like Beechworth Honey and Crabtree & Evelyn. The mosaic tiles are a notable heritage feature which spell out The Block on the Collins Street exit.
Turning left onto Collins Street head for Centreway Arcade on the opposite side of the road. This unassuming arcade descends towards Flinders Lane to reveal the atmospheric Center Place. Home to hole-in-the-wall cafes, a soup kitchen and Asian eats, this narrow thoroughfare is a delight for the senses. Grab a table on the well-worn sidewalk for lunch with a side of people-watching.
DEGRAVES STREET AND CAMPBELL ARCADE
A quick dog-leg over Flinders Lane and you won’t miss Degraves Street. Melbourne’s answer to Euro alfresco dining, tables take centerstage in the middle of the street. On either side you’ll find wall-to-wall restaurants stretching for over 100 meters. Degraves Street also contains the hidden gem that is Campbell Arcade. Accessed via Degraves Place, this glossy pink tunnel links the street to Flinders Station. The arcade itself is quite gritty and houses an eclectic display of local art and independent retailers. If you’re a fan of all things pink, the cotton-candy tiles are a must see.
Once on Flinders Street, pass the station and head towards Federation Square, keeping to the left side of the road. Before you reach the NGV building you will discover Hosier Lane on your left. This is arguably the best example of Melbourne’s famous graffiti laneways. The walls are covered from the cobblestones up in a rainbow of colours and distinct tags. With a couple of corners and an adjoining laneway, there are plenty of great photo ops here. If you need a drinks break after all of that walking pop into MoVida for tapas and ice cold cerveza.
Melbourne’s GPO Building.
Italian vibes at Caffe E Torta.
*Tip: Pop into Manchester Press on Rankins Lane for an amazing breakfast in their industrial space. The cafe was formerly a printing press and now serves up the most exquisite bagel creations. I went for a conservative honey and ricotta option but would love to indulge in their bacon, maple and popcorn bagel!
Entrance to Campbell Arcade on Degraves Place.
Federal Coffee Palace at the GPO.
Espresso bars are a plenty in Melbourne’s laneways.
The Block Arcade entrance.
Just a couple of blocks up from the mall, tucked into the city skyline, you can find Citadines Melbourne. Their serviced apartments are roomy and offer full size kitchens, perfect for a lengthy stay. The conference centre, business area, indoor pool and fitness centre make it easy to keep up healthy habits and daily tasks while away. We were lucky enough to gain rooftop access to shoot some of our video and even luckier to witness a colourful Melbourne sunset.
Citadines on Bourke St.
Some in-room travel planning.
The rooftop view from Citadines.
On our trip we sought a lot of travel inspiration from Citadines’ in-room reading. Their books recommend the best cafes, bars and restaurants which also have beautiful interiors. There were waaaay too many for us to try on this trip so another foodie visit is a must. If you are a Melbourne regular and have some favourite spots to share please leave a comment below. It is, after all, the city of hidden gems.