Hotel Of The Week: Sofitel Melbourne

Set on the top floors of a 50-storey tower, with views of the city's cricket ground, the Sofitel Melbourne is the choice of visiting sports stars

Melbourne is the arts and sports capital of Australia and far less superficial, claim its residents, than rival Sydney. Its appeal can be slow to appreciate because it lacks the sexy setting of Sydney and its city beaches are more Bournemouth than Bondi. But get to know the place, and Melbourne will reward you. It's proud of its diverse ethnic mix - it has a large Italian quarter, for example, where you should stop for an espresso and ice cream at the famous Brunetti coffee shop. Then there are the trams, which add another touch of European style. And, of course, there's the architecture, which includes Victorian masterpieces and sleek modern skyscrapers. The city is a major sports centre. It hosts the Australian Open (Steffi Graf, Boris Becker, Serena and Venus Williams and Pat Rafter have all stayed at this hotel) and earlier this year, staged the Commonwealth Games - the Sofitel was the official hotel for all the world's dignitaries and officials who attended. The city will host the World Swimming Championships in March.

The comfort factor

In preparation for the Commonwealth Games, the hotel underwent a thorough makeover. Without being too stark, the rooms have been dragged into the 21st century with the introduction of DVD and CD players, digital movies on demand, plasma-screen TVs and bedside control panels for every light and gadget. The décor is the obligatory upmarket mix of taupe paint, cool marble and soft silks. Best of all are the beds. Sofitel has pioneered its own My Bed, which is dressed with a luxury down-filled duvet on top and a down cover for the mattress. A treat. As the hotel occupies the top floors of a 50-storey tower (there are offices and a shopping mall underneath), all the rooms, but especially the corner suites, have great views. You have an eagle-eye view of the courts used for the Australian Open as well as the Melbourne Cricket Ground where the Test season kicks off on Boxing Day. Breakfast is average hotel fare.

The comfort factor

Business folk in the week and leisure travellers at weekends. Many people come here from other Australian states for a couple of days of cultural activities - visit the art galleries, see a show, and eat great food. Joan Collins has stayed here and Prince Edward holed up here during the Commonwealth Games - but don't let that put you off.

The comfort factor

The Sofitel is in the heart of the city, surrounded by offices and upscale stores. (Try Little Collins Street.) That said, the centre of Melbourne is compact; set out on a grid network, it feels like several blocks of Manhattan have been transported to the southern hemisphere. To see the less corporate side of the city, you'll need to catch the tram out to the beach at St Kilda (grab lunch at the Stokehouse) or go shopping on Chapel Street. The new arts complex at Federation Square is just a short walk from the hotel, as are the Botanic Gardens.

The access

All areas of the hotel can be used by people with wheelchairs and five rooms are equipped with showers for people who have disabilities. There are also interconnecting rooms for families and baby cots and high chairs are available.

The damage

Standard rooms from A$250 (£100), suites from A$400 (£160) with breakfast.

The address

Sofitel Melbourne, 25 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia (00 61 3 9650 4261; sofitel.com).

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
science
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before