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Published September 28th 2018
A very cool vibe at Punthill Manhattan Apartments
Coming to Melbourne for the holidays or the Melbourne Cup week shenanigans and need a place to stay? Look no further than Punthill Manhattan.
Sometimes a change of scenery is called for when spending one on one time with your teenagers. Recently I checked in to the Punthill Manhattan on Flinders Lane with my 14 year old son for a city escape. At what we affectionately call the Paris end of town, these apartments are located directly opposite Collins Place complex and the Kino cinema. Perfect for solo travellers and those with children who complain about long walks, Punthill Manhattan is only metres away from some of Melbourne's best restaurants, bars, shops and public transport.
We are wowed by the decor when we open the door to our rooms. The apartment looks and feels very much like a Manhattan loft. The windows are the length of the wall and the black rectangular window panes allow light to wash in. The view also enhances the modern New York feeling; we look out onto a semi-industrial cityscape. Exposed red brick and cement work gives the apartment a gritty ambience yet the soft furnishings make the place comfortable and modern.
The fabulous lounge room at Punthill Manhattan Apartments in Melbourne
The faint buzz of city traffic and construction is also reminiscent of Manhattan and it's easy to see how this property lives up to its namesake. The walls are adorned with prints of artworks that hang in the famous Museum of Modern Art in NYC and give the place an artistic and creative vibe. A bottle of wine and some sparkling mineral water are waiting on the kitchen bench - a gift for us - along with a cute welcome note. It's too early to crack open the bottle so we quench our thirst with the non-alcoholic beverages whilst relaxing in the lounge.
From our fifth-floor vantage point, the lounge room has a view of the lights of the MCG, Rod Laver Arena and AAMI stadium. At the top end of the city, the streets are abuzz with footy fans and the mood is festive. Melbourne really comes alive when sporting festival draws crowds from out of town, and the West Coast vs Collingwood Grand Final has enticed a huge convocation of Eagles from the other side of the country.
We dedicate part of the day to shopping for the teenager. This means slipping through Collins Place to catch a tram down to Swanson St, then another up to Melbourne Central. Happily, we are within the free tram zone which covers most of the CBD grid so we don't need Myki cards. Tram conductors remind passengers to touch on and off once they reach the edge of the free zone.
Connected by a number of glass panelled walkway bridges, the Emporium also beckons, teeming with every conceivable item a teen (or anyone else) could ever need. We buy enough items of branded clothing to make the teenager feel satisfied and stop for a quick coffee at Self Preservation on our way back up Collins Street. Oh Melbourne coffee, it's always a pleasure to meet you. The range of healthy salads and delicious baked goods in the shop windows are a sight to behold.
In the late afternoon, we treat ourselves to a film at the luxurious Kino cinema and step next door to Tazio for dinner. This restaurant comes highly recommended by staff at Punthill so we decide that a simple and delicious pizza and pasta Italian meal is exactly what we need. I treat myself to a French martini - vodka, pineapple juice, cranberry and chartreuse, and watch with interest as the Wednesday night crowd filters in and out. Friends, colleagues, first dates, families, Tazio caters to all and even delivers to your room if you'd prefer not to eat out. Our pizzas are crisp and delectable, inspiring me to try to make thinner crusts for our homemade bases in future.
Pizza from Tazio, Flinders Lane, Melbourne.
When we return from dinner, the sun has set but the industrial lamp in the corner over the sofa casts a soft glow on the room. There is a TV in the lounge room but we are not interested and retire to the comfy beds, set up in two singles instead of the usual King or Queen, and take refuge in our books, needing some quiet time after 12 hours of togetherness.
Breakfast was included as part of our stay and Punthill uses Tazio to help provide this service. Maple syrup berry pancakes and a Breakfast Burrito were delivered promptly at the nominated time with a soft knock at the door. Room service is such a special treat and never better than when you have the luxury of a proper kitchen table to eat it from.
I feel completely at home in this apartment and start to imagine my life in a few years time when I've downsized the family home. I could live here, in a compact yet airy apartment, and be quite happy. The kitchen is fully equipped and it's absolutely perfect for a short stay. Perhaps, with this New York vibe, I could become all artsy and sit, pondering life, looking out those lovely windows while I write my memoirs.
Location: 57 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.
The bathroom is basic but has all the appliances needed for a short or long stay. Washing machine, dryer, iron, clothes horse, hairdryer, etc, are functional and neatly stacked. Paint is chipping off the walls and doors in places, but renovations are underway and soon all of the property's bathrooms will have a much more luxurious feel.
Located down two flights of stairs, the spa gets frequent use during the winter months, says hotel manager, Ghiselle Griesel. "Our guests seem to use it more when it's cold outside and it fits a lot of people."
The gym is right next door to spa room. It's not the fanciest gym I've ever seen but it has everything necessary for maintaining fitness and strength while travelling. They've done their best to brighten up the space with an orange accent chair and high windows that let in the daylight.
Punthill Manhattan caters to families offering one, two and three bedroom apartments.
There is a lot of information about tours on the wall opposite the reception desk. Take a card and make the most of the discounts offered to some of Melbourne and Victoria's most spectacular attractions. The Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs offers 10% off, and there are discounts to the Eureka Tower, art galleries, and a myriad of other city sites. Speak to staff about your requirements and they will help you plan your stay.
Parking is subsidised but make sure you park in the Wilson car park right next to Punthill Manhattan at 32 Flinders Lane. Receptionists will give you a discount card to insert when you are leaving the parking lot. Don't make the same mistake as I did and enter the wrong car park. There are Wilsons all over the city and the one opposite Punthill Manhattan and directly underneath the Kino and Collins Place is NOT the one you want. Hotel staff were wonderful and dealt with the drama I had caused efficiently. I was very impressed that they would go to the trouble of coming in the car park with me to help me sort it out.
Tips for Travellers:
While there is a lift up to the rooms, there is no wheelchair access to reception or the spa or gymnasium. Other hotels in the Punthill group would suit better if you need ramp access.
I really loved the proximity to the cinema. I would recommend it to visitors to Melbourne and I would definitely stay here again if I had a big function in the city. The apartment has a definite cool factor. I can imagine it being a great place to live if you were in Melbourne for an extended work stint. It's easily accessible by train and tram, it's close to great restaurants and bars, and the high ceilings make it seem open and inviting, rather than cramped and claustrophobic as some hotel rooms can be.