I love the good life and particular great food. Good food is meant to be shared. Follow me on my adventures through food, travelling and all that I am passionate about.
Published November 25th 2012
You Get What You See
On a recent visit to Melbourne, the Grand Mercure Flinders Lane Apartments was our choice of accommodation. Located on the quieter end of Flinders Lane, these boutique apartments are situated within walking distance of many attractions like Federation Square and Southbank.
Upon check-in, staff at reception were friendly and courteous. Choosing to settle payment for the accommodation on arrival, we paid using EFTPOS to avoid incurring a credit card surcharge. This surcharge is becoming increasingly common nowadays with merchants.
We used the hotel's luggage trolley to cart our luggage and belongings to our apartment. It was not an easy piece of equipment to manoeuvre and had it not been for the guy in our group who understood the mechanics of it, I would have looked as if I was drunk trying to get it moving along.
On the ground floor, there is Lounge 123 and a small lobby with a cosy sitting area. Lounge 123 only opens at night and served well priced drinks and tapas in the evening. However, hotel patrons are welcomed to sit there during the day. A nook within the lounge house a computer and printer for internet users. This does come with a charge. In-house copies of The Age and Herald Sun are also available here for your reading pleasure. Alternatively, there is the option of having your own newspaper delivered to your door each morning upon request. Within the sitting area of the lobby, current magazines and classics, like Jane Eyre, donned a bookcase, seemingly begging to be read.
Valet parking is available at $30 a day. Retrieving the car is generally quick and efficient. A separate internal lift within the building allows access to your car if needed. Cheaper parking nearby was available although it might be a trade off for security and convenience. As an example, public carparks on neighboring Flinders Street charged a flat rate of $15 a day on weekends.
The self-service apartments are elegantly appointed and very spacious. Decorated in muted tones of brown and grey with accents of white, the style could be described as Parisian. Indeed, the apartment looks exactly like the photographs displayed on the hotel's website. There are no unexpected surprises. Cleanliness is also simply top-knotched.
On entry, double doors open out to a compact kitchen and dining area to sit four comfortably. Built with good quality appliances, the kitchen is shelved with everyday cooking utensils allowing for self catering. With Coles Central located a corner away on Elizabeth Street, replenishing supplies is an easy task if one decides to cook during one's stay. On this occasion I hardly made use of the well equipped kitchen as we were surrounded with many eateries and there was no good reason why I should stay indoors when exciting food was beckoning me everywhere!
The adjacent lounge inside the apartment is moderately sized. An L-shaped sofa easily converts into a double sofa bed. With a large table, sufficient electrical outlets and LCD input, one can easily conjure up a workable office here. French double folding doors divide the lounge from the bedroom with ensuite.
The spacious bedroom is well appointed. A firm king size bed ensures plenty of sleeping comfort. A second television in the bedroom reduced potential fights of channel hogging between kids and adults (or maybe even adults and adults for that matter). A Sony Dream Machine allows docking the iPod/iPhone for tuning into your own beats.
Spacious bedroom with king size bed in the Signature Suite
The ensuite is a good size. Shower room is more than sufficient and the tiles are a nice grey. Monsoon showerheads are particularly pleasing, delivering an invigorating hot shower that makes you want to forget about water sustainability. There are no bathtubs in our apartment but this does not mean that they are not available in some of the other apartments. If bathtubs are essential, it might pay to ask for a room with one of these. Although standard toiletry items like soap can be requested from reception, additional towels to the ones that have already been supplied are $12 a pack.
For those in Melbourne on a long stay, there is a self coin operated laundry located on the 7th floor. An iron in the room keeps your clothes well-pressed and neat.
Wi-fi internet access is available within the apartment or from the lone computer in Lounge 123. Cost is around $10 for 2 hours or $24 for 24 hours. If price is an issue or you do not have your own portable modem, there is free Internet available from the City Library on Flinders Lane just one block up from the apartments.
Sony Dream Machine, Peter Morrisey toiletries, Refreshments provided in the apartment
Some people cannot go without their daily gym workouts even when on vacation but rest be assured that this is even catered for here. There is a gym housed within the basement of the Mercure Apartments. However this gym is privately owned and not affiliated with the hotel. Having said that, they do offer special rates for those who are staying at the apartments.
The Flinders Lane Apartments are mid to high range end accommodation within the Melbourne CBD. Cost per night can vary. When booking for this apartment, an extensive search for the best price from a variety of hotel booking sites was conducted. Booking directly from Mercure's website was the least expensive option. The advantage of booking directly with Mercure is the absence of booking or cancellation fee (if notified in advance). In addition, there was no downright payment at point of booking that may be found from some hotel booking websites. The average price for our stay at Flinders Lane Apartments was $320 per night for the Signature Suite.