Overlooking the Yarra, Rendezvous in Melbourne is located in a beautiful old building built in 1913 and since restored. It is about a one minute walk from Flinders Street Station and all the cafes and restaurants in Degraves Street, and less than five minutes to a host of other landmarks including Federation Square, Southbank and the Bourke Street Mall shopping district.
Heritage rooms have high ceilings and ornate plasterwork
Rendezvous has a reputation for quality and service, and is at the pricier end of the spectrum with standard rooms starting around $146 and $166 for a deluxe room. The hotel has 340 rooms and suites and the price will depend on which nights, and how long you are staying.
There are a limited number of heritage rooms on the second and fourth floors: for a premium price you can expect heritage features and 'old world charm' such as soaring ceilings, Baroque design, columns and leadlight windows.
In reality, the rooms are lovely but since I did not stay in one of the standard rooms I cannot determine whether the extra features are worth the extra price (my room was just under $300 a night). It probably depends on how much you like vintage things. My room on the fourth floor had an incredibly high ceiling with ornate plasterwork of extraordinary detail. The bathroom, obviously fitted long after the hotel was built, was made by creating a second ceiling, thus forming a small cube in the corner of the room. It was a tad unusual.
While the room did not have the promised leadlighting, I had one of the few bay windows on the floor which provided an almost 180 degree view of Flinders Street. The bay window also afforded extra space for a large wing back chair and small reading table.
The bed with its pillow top mattress and top quality linen was very comfortable and I slept well every night. A pillow menu means you should be able to find one to suit your requirements and the sheets and doona felt soft, not stiff and starched beyond belief as happens in many hotels.
Despite the window and the high ceilings, the room still felt small. It was a tight squeeze between the edge of the queen sized bed and the wall. The bathroom, while neatly presented and modern, was very small. There can be no hanky panky in a shower/bath that small, and if you have long legs, you could conceivably bump your knees on the bath while availing yourself of the facilities (i.e. while sitting on the loo).
Its location, while convenient, also means there is constant noise from the traffic below, in particular the trains arriving and departing from the station. I found it extremely distracting on the first night, but admittedly barely noticed it on subsequent nights. Still, it might be worth considering if you are a very light sleeper. Also with heritage rooms comes heritage wooden floorboards, and I became intimately acquainted with the schedule of the person next door, their creaky steps clearly audible through the walls (although I could not hear anything else like talking or TV).
The staff were very helpful, from check-in – where they were able to provide a map and restaurant recommendations – to the maintenance staff who arrived within minutes to whisk my broken desk chair away to be fixed. Even when I was complaining about the noise, they were professional and sweet.
Hotel extras includes (limited) free wi-fi in the rooms (although the password was not immediately apparent and I imagine you would need to contact reception) and free daily newspapers (again, I was not asked what I wanted. The impetus is on you to actually ask them to provide them). The mini bar is standard, and UHT milk only is provided for tea and coffee (you must ask room service to bring fresh milk).
There is a limited number of free-to-air and Foxtel channels plus a pay-per-view movie service. One of the lovely extras was a list of toiletries and essentials (from toothpaste to hairspray to condoms to tampons) that you may have forgotten and could easily be provided. The prices were not much more than what you would pay in a supermarket or pharmacy.
There is a bar on the ground floor which is open daily for drinks and snacks, plus a happy hour between 4.30pm – 5.30pm and 8.30 – 9.30pm weeknights only. The Straits Cafe on the lower ground floor offers buffet breakfast plus dinners nightly.
While I was satisfied with my room, I was a solo traveller. As part of a couple I might feel a little cramped, despite the towering ceilings and large window. It was a lovely space and the décor in the heritage rooms is certainly befitting its vintage and history.