Novotel Melbourne South Wharf opened in March 2018 in the city’s buzzing bar and restaurant district immediately south of the Yarra River. The property is adjacent to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and is visible even from afar. The golden glass panels of the 26 storey hotel makes it one of the more recognizable skyscrapers in the city.
I recently stayed at the Novotel Melbourne South Wharf when I flew to the city on the inaugural Qantas flight with the Airbus A380 servicing the Singapore to Melbourne route. From the airport, the hotel is roughly 35 minutes away. While corporate guests are likely to comprise the majority here, the hotel is also conveniently located for leisure visitors. One can easily cross the bridge to catch the tram at the opposite side of the river, where rides within the city’s central core are free-of-charge.
The hotel has a receiving lobby at the ground level with the concierge but the proper lobby is located at the 6th floor. Here, you’ll also find the lobby lounge, Allora, as well as the gym. The Novotel brand has for the longest time been associated as a business chain but more recent properties – case in point, the Novotel Singapore on Stevens – are decidedly more functional, design-oriented and ambiguous in order to cater to both leisure and business travelers.
During my stay, I was billeted in a Junior City View Suite. The hotel has six room types and the junior suite is only one notch lower than the highest category room, the One Bedroom City View Suite. I arrived at the hotel at around 8:30 in the morning after a long flight from Singapore and the hotel acquiesced to my request for early check-in despite running full the night before due to the Formula 1 race.
At 365 square feet (approximately 35 square meters), the room is spacious. I like the squarish layout which offered plenty of space between the bed and the desk. The room also had a high ceiling which made it look even bigger. The window spanned almost from floor to ceiling and offered a panoramic view of the skyline facing the city centre as well as the West Gate Freeway. Despite being in a high floor and facing a busy highway, I could barely hear any outside noise. This is by far one of the most impressive soundproofing work I’ve encountered in a hotel.
The room presents a more vibrant facet of the Novotel brand with the scrambled letters for the French word “bonjour” hanging by the wall. Other than that, the furnishings are minimalist and lacking of any clutter whatsoever. The room is designed with the modern traveler in mind with the huge Smart TV allowing streaming capabilities from mobile devices. Guests can also access the WiFi without having to enter any passwords.
For late night hunger pangs, the minibar has a couple of snack items and beverages at a cost. A surprisingly generous number of complimentary tea bags from Dilmah are provided including Green Tea, Chamomile and Breakfast Tea.
The beds already come fitted with firm and soft pillows but Novotel Melbourne South Wharf offers a range of different pillows available upon request. Their range include latex pillows and memory-foam pillows. I was already satisfied with the ones on the bed so I didn’t manage to check these out.
The bathroom has a semi-industrial look with cemented walls and a semi-open shower. There are actually no doors to the shower area but a thick wall partially separates it from the sink and toilet.
Like in other Novotel properties, toiletries are from the inhouse fair trade sugar cane brand. I love how thick and fluffy the bath towels are here, the quality being similar to what I usually find in 5-star hotels.
As a minimalist and no-frills 4-star hotel, the Novotel Melbourne South Wharf comes with essential facilities – and that includes the restaurants, gym and business center. You won’t find a swimming pool here but I thought the fitness center came with a pretty generous amount of exercise machines. There’s plenty to go around to train different muscle groups as well as cardio equipment. It could very well stand as a full-fledged gym and not simply a workout venue for transients.
My stay at Novotel Melbourne South Wharf came with breakfast which I thought was pretty modest. Hot items were kept to around 6 dishes and include staples such as bacon, scrambled eggs, sausages, etc. Eggs are also available made-to-order from the kitchen. I thought the fruit selection was quite generous and I even spotted passion fruit which is rarely seen in breakfast buffet spreads. Chilled juices are served though the hotel has a smoothie of the day which comes fresh.
This would not be Melbourne without decent coffee and here at Novotel Melbourne South Wharf, guests can choose between the convenience of a coffee machine or barista coffee for their caffeine fix. Accor Hotels in Australia has developed its own brand of coffee beans called The Roaster Guy and that’s what this property uses. I decided to go with a cup of latte which came to me with latte art. This is probably the first time I’ve encountered latte art on my coffee during a hotel’s breakfast buffet.
The Novotel Melbourne South Wharf is a functional, no-nonsense property for business travelers on the go as well as leisure travelers looking for the best of both worlds – to be accessible to the city centre while being in a more relaxing area known for riverside drinking and dining. Little touches such as a pillow menu, a fully-equipped gym and and an enhanced minibar make this more than your usual Novotel property.
Novotel Melbourne South Wharf
7 Convention Centre Pl
VIC 3006, Australia
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