The Westin Melbourne opened in 2000. Located near the junction of Collins Street and Swanston Street, the hotel provides easy access to the business district, boutiques, dining and theatres of Collins Street, a short walk to Flinders Station, the galleries of Federation Square, the riverside of Southbank, exhibitions at the State Library of Victoria and Queen Victoria Market.
Overlooking City Square, this contemporary, chic and stylish 5-star hotel offers an excellent view of the comings and goings during Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. The Westin Melbourne is one of my favourites mainly for business and occasionally leisure reasons.
Leaving busy Collin Street and stepping into Westin is a welcoming experience. It starts with the warm acknowledgement from the porter or concierge who's waiting to open the main doors, through to a generally peaceful lounge and onto a relatively quick and painless check-in process. The palette and lighting of the lobby puts me in a calm and settled mood especially after an early international arrival and I am assured a level of sharp 5-star service that goes with the room rate.
Another Westin Difference and favourite is its Heavenly Bed. Luxurious king-size mattress complete with 7 layers of soft cotton sheets, plush feather and down doonas and pillows of my choice, make for a much needed restful sleep especially after a long day of back-to-back meetings. Complementing the bed is an oversized bathroom featuring a separate bath and shower. I should not encourage the voluminous use of hot bathwater but I do appreciate the overhead drenching showers and additional massage rose.
If you have need to unknot tense muscles, Westin's In-Room Spa service can deliver a range of message and facial treatments by professional spa therapists in the comfort and privacy of your guest room. It is popular with female guests but I much prefer my treatments in the spa. With scenic routes available in the city, I rarely workout in the fitness centre but for readers who have a gym-based fitness routine, Westin does offer state-of-the-art fitness facilities.
If you're into SuperFoods, Westin features a special breakfast menu featuring dishes that are health-enhancing and rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients. The Westin Difference can be summed up as 'preserving wellness in travel' for guests including 'a renewing sleep, energizing workout, relaxing spa treatments, nourishing food and clean, fresh air - enabling you to depart feeling better than when you arrived'.
This is also a child-friendly hotel. Westin Kids Club provides services, amenities and meals to cater to the needs of travelling families and make kids feel welcomed. Little touches include a welcome kit for children between 3-12 years old and special Westin Kids Club menus in the Allegro Restaurant and the in-room dining menu.
Westin is one of the Starwood brands and members of the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program will automatically earn points on their total spend in the hotel, which are redeemable for free nights, room upgrades, award flights, merchandise awards etc in more than 1000 hotels in 100 countries. In addition, cumulative qualifying nights of 25 and 50 in a calendar year will earn you additional benefits. The general peeve I share with others is the absence of an executive lounge and its associated benefits in Westin Melbourne unlike in other Westins for SPG Platinum members.
Although The Westin Melbourne provides full length windows that open to balconies with views of the surrounds in some of the guest rooms, the main attraction for me is the fact that the hotel has some of the city's largest guest rooms with standard rooms at 38 sqm and deluxe between 41 sqm to 45 sqm. All 262 rooms feature the Heavenly Beds and luxurious bathrooms. The Westin Spa Studios at 50 sqm feature a relaxing deep bath with jets.
The spatial comfort makes a difference when I living there for a week. As with all Westin guest rooms, you can expect the basic facilities – turndown service, work desk, high speed wireless internet access, cable TV, make-up or shaving mirror, bathrobes and slippers, mini bar, coffee & tea making facilities, and especially for ladies, a salon standard hair dryer. I dislike the wall-attachment models and the puny blowers.
One of my favourite spaces to meet and chat over drinks is the Lobby Lounge where service is attentive but not interruptive. Opened daily from 8am till midnight, the generally hush-toned atmosphere, comfortable club chairs and open fireplace is a great place to relax over coffee or tea.
There's also an outdoor terrace for people-watching along Swanston Street and unwinding over cocktails. During the weekends from 12pm to 4pm, the lounge also serves a modern take on the traditional afternoon tea.
Adjacent to the Lobby Lounge and open only from 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday is the Martini Bar. It is popular with after work professionals and pre-theatre audiences for its classy atmosphere complete with luxurious coaches and an open fire place that is a design extension of the lobby.
Located on the first floor of The Westin Melbourne is their all-purpose restaurant. Allegro Restaurant features an open kitchen, wood-fired oven and al fresco private terrace in a modern contemporary setting. It's not a Grossi or Windsor but an unpretentious and spacious environment for a quiet meal and wine.
Breakfast is the usual international or American boring affair but its signature Platter Dining concept for lunch or dinner are excellent and affordable. You get a choice of two courses, which could include an entree and main dish or main dish and dessert. Kyan May from marketing shared with their Lazy Sunday Jazz Lunch where Executive Chef Daniel James and Chef de Cuisine Kevin Dick cook up three appetizer sized entrees per person, a choice of mains to share and an indulgent buffet dessert accompanied by the smooth sounds of live jazz.
The business centre is also adequately equipped to support the business traveller's requirements. One of the unique rooms is the Wine Room next to the Allegro Restaurant that features glass walls lined with racks of wine. The private outdoor terraces with city views are also excellent for post-meeting canapés and drinks.
For readers looking for an escape to Melbourne for a weekend getaway, Westin Melbourne is offering a package for 2 nights arriving Friday till Sunday from now till 22 December 2012. It includes overnight accommodation in a Westin King or Twin Room, SuperFoods buffet breakfast for two in Allegro Restaurant, complimentary meal for kids, complimentary hi-speed wireless internet in room and 3pm late check out (subject to availability). Book before 30 September to enjoy this package priced from AUD325 per night.