Life is stressful. It's also busy, involved, tiring, and achingly time-consuming. Work is a constant force during the week to suck your time and energy, as is study or any family commitments that you may have. Even your dog or goldfish, lovely companions as they may be, can make spontaneity difficult, and the wishful thought of getting away from it all for a couple of nights, making a weekend retreat to somewhere far away, can seem too much. Going away remains firmly planted in the realm of the unattainable.
However, it doesn't have to be so. Despite what the term "going away" may imply, it can be as simple and as easy as just getting away from everything normal and domestic for as short a time as one night. All it takes is a click on a website to book yourself into a hotel in the city, the perfect alternative for those with time restraints. No long hours of long travel time, no extensive packing and agonising over whether it will rain, and no need to bargain with your boss for leave. Just drop your goldfish off at your next door neighbour's and go.
Saturday, 14th of December @ 08:30am - $99 - 1 place left
The benefits of sleeping away from your own bed are plenty, and whether your stay is at a luxury hotel with sheets of a noticeably high thread-count, or a simple, clean, mid-range chain, you're going to be able to appreciate the serenity of escaping the familiar. There is no washing to be done here, and you are, in fact, explicitly told to leave your wet towels on the floor. The hardest choice you are going to have to face for the evening is whether to order room service or to venture down the elevator, wave to the doorman on your way out and find yourself one of the many restaurants dotting the city to eat at - the latter option possibly the preferred of many not willing to pay $22 for a sandwich.
Melbourne's tourism industry has been growing steadily over the last decade, and as a result there is such a plethora of decent hotels to be found in the CBD that from those catering for the budget conscious (starting around $30) to the top of the range (4*s start from around $100 per room, 5*s stretch to "Price on Request"). All with a varying range of features such as private bathrooms, on-site gyms and swimming pools, separate dining areas and spectacular views. Some have nice romantic deals where you can pay extra to have rose petals strewn onto the beds and add room service breakfast and a late check out while others will woo you with the enticement of a relaxing spa bath and cable T.V. - just as romantic depending on how tired you are. Whatever your fancy, some good starting points for your search are sites like Hotel.com.au, Wotif or, for something different, try Ubid4rooms, where you can bid for your room price and see if you get lucky, in a financial sense of course. Speaking of luck, if the range of options and hotels out there is causing you more stress than your night away could possibly work off, try opting for a Secret Hotel, where some very expensive and well-known hotels are flaunting their un-booked rooms at very reduced prices. The catch? You won't find out which hotel you're looking at until you have booked. Sounds enticing, no?
Whatever type of room or hotel you end up choosing, you are bound to be glad you did it. As one frequent hotel-goer says of the experience, "It's like being a guest in your own city". The simple act of stepping out of your usual habits and experiencing a different side of the city, looking down into the streets from your hotel window instead of upwards, is something you should definitely try. Who knows how much your appreciation for Melbourne will grow? Not to mention your appreciation for time to yourself.