As I was planning my three-day visit to Melbourne, I couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed at the hotel scene, which I thought was pretty lacklustre for a city of Melbourne’s calibre.
(That will soon be changing – the city is slated to get a W, a St. Regis, and a Ritz-Carlton in the coming years – but sadly, my visit in November 2019 would come too early for any of those openings.)
Eventually, I decided on the Grand Hyatt Melbourne for one reason alone: it turned out that the hotel was attached to a local gym, with proper exercise equipment, rather than the usual bare-bones offering in a hotel fitness centre. And as my three nights in Melbourne would be the longest single stop of any place on this relentless Aeroplan round-the-world trip, I could really use the gym access to catch up on some exercise and offset all the calories I was gaining from eating airplane food all the time.
I booked the Grand Hyatt for A$306 per night via the American Express Hotel Collection, a third-party booking service designed for mid-range properties (as compared to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program for luxury properties). The booking came with a US$100 property credit and a room upgrade upon arrival, subject to availability.
(I later learned that I could’ve and should’ve booked via Hyatt Privé instead, in which case I’d also have received a free breakfast, early check-in, and late checkout as well. I’ll definitely be looking towards Privé for all my future Hyatt bookings.)
In This Post
Grand Hyatt Melbourne – Location & Arrival
Arriving in Melbourne on Qantas business class late at night, I took an Uber into the city for A$40. It was about a 30-minute drive to the Grand Hyatt, which is located in the East End district of Melbourne CBD, right on the famous Flinders Lane and a few minutes’ walk from the riverfront.
The main entrance to the hotel on Russell St is appropriately quite grand, and there’s a less conspicuous back entrance nestled among a row of luxury storefronts on Collins St as well.
The Russell St entrance leads to a rather subdued lower lobby. From there, a set of escalators leads up to the main lobby, where the check-in counters are located.
While the lobby lounge and seating area felt very large thanks to its airy lofted ceilings, it was also rather dimly illuminated, and the overall atmosphere – and thus my first impressions of the hotel – fell a little flat.
Grand Hyatt Melbourne – Check-in
The check-in area wasn’t busy at all when I arrived, and I was helped by a very friendly associate who chatted with me for quite a few minutes about the best things to do on my first visit to Melbourne. He also let me know that my room upgrade had cleared into a King Bed with River View room, which I definitely appreciated.
I took my keys and made my way up to the 28th floor, where I had been assigned Room 2809.
As far as hotel interiors go, the Grand Hyatt Melbourne was unfortunately pretty forgettable, and could certainly use a facelift sometime soon.
Grand Hyatt Melbourne – King Room with River View
The King Bed with River View room was largely unremarkable, and while it fit my needs perfectly for a stay in which I wasn’t spending too much time in the room anyway, I must admit I felt like I was being brought down to earth after a hot streak of killer suite upgrades at Marriott hotels earlier during this trip. 😉
The king bed faces outwards towards the windows, and actually consists of two twin beds pushed together. Ordinarily, I might’ve found that a little annoying, but I was very exhausted by this point in the journey and so ended up sleeping very sweetly on all three nights.
Meanwhile, the rest of the room occupied by a couch, table, and chair in one corner, as well as a pantry and countertop in the other. Ostensibly, the couch and table are meant to serve the many purposes of relaxing, working, eating, but it wasn’t a very comfortable couch, so I ended up standing at the countertop to work and eat on a few occasions.
The pantry featured a minibar and a coffee machine, although I never used it to make coffee in my room given the overwhelming number of coffee shops that are worth checking out in Melbourne.
The hotel describes its bathrooms as “Italian marble bathrooms”. That makes them sound nicer than they really are, mostly because the bathrooms in these standard rooms, despite being perfectly functional, are definitely on the smaller side.
On the plus side, the room’s view of the Yarra River was quite nice to wake up to every morning, offering a nice juxtaposition of Melbourne’s green spaces and the Southbank urban cluster to get me in the right spirits before heading out to explore.
Grand Hyatt Melbourne – Gym
In terms of the rest of the hotel’s features, I naturally spent the most time at the hotel’s gym, which was basically why I chose the hotel in the first place. The facility is known as City Club Health & Fitness, and is open to hotel guests as well as locals who can buy a membership.
I came down for a workout on two of my three nights at the hotel. Compared to the average hotel gym, the City Club featured a wealth of proper fitness equipment, like power racks and bench presses.
The fitness centre also had an indoor swimming pool, although I didn’t manage to get any pictures since I only visited the gym after 6pm in the evenings, when the pool was already closed.
Grand Hyatt Melbourne – Breakfast & Dining
Breakfast is served in the hotel’s Collins Kitchen restaurant every morning. I didn’t have breakfast included in my room rate (and didn’t need it, since I preferred to venture out every morning to sample the breakfast at one of Melbourne’s cafes); however, I still wandered through the restaurant on one of the mornings to take some pictures of the breakfast buffet and get a sense of what the breakfast offering at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne looks like.
In addition to the usual suspects like scrambled eggs and bacon, there was a heavy emphasis on Asian items, such as dim sum, stir-fry meats and vegetables, fried noodles and rice, and miso soup.
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The freshly baked pastries also looked quite tempting, although the discerning foodie might well prefer to head over to Lune Croissanterie just across the street, a world-renowned croissant shop whose daily output is widely considered the world’s best croissants.
I spent most of my time in Melbourne out and about eating and drinking, but I did find myself feeling quite hungry one evening when I retreated to my room to catch up on work. Since I had a US$100 property credit to spend, I decided to order a chicken laksa via room service for A$36, which I found quite appetizing.
In particular, I liked how the laksa soup came delivered in a heated container of its own, and the server then poured it into the bowl to serve the laksa right in front of me.
However, the room service dinner would only use up a portion of my US$100 credit, so I ended up booking an airport limousine to take me from the Grand Hyatt back to the airport for A$110. Normally, I’d just call an Uber, but since the credit would’ve gone to waste otherwise, I decided I may as well get myself a “free” ride in the limousine.
My checkout hour was 11am on the final day – which feels very early as someone who’s used to the 4pm late checkout at Marriott hotels on account of my Titanium Elite status – but the hotel was more than happy to store my belongings for the day as I headed out to the St. Kilda neighbourhood for the day and returned at 3:30pm to catch my limousine ride, in the company of a very friendly chauffeur, back to the airport.
The Grand Hyatt Melbourne didn’t leave me with particularly strong feelings either for or against it. With a perfunctory King Room with River View and an exceedingly well-equipped gym, it was a hotel that suited my needs at a reasonable price point – indeed, it was quite a bit cheaper than the Marriott, Westin, and Sheraton, all of which would’ve probably left me feeling equally ambivalent – but nothing more.
I loved Melbourne as a destination and look forward to returning in the future, and I’m definitely glad that the city will soon be receiving a much-needed injection of new luxury hotels. While I was happy with my decision to try the Grand Hyatt this time, I’d much prefer to patronize one of those newer properties the next time I’m in town.