They say it’s tough at the top.
That’s unless you happen to be holidaying in marvellous Melbs and exploring its high-flying social scene. These days there’s a whole new world of astro-turfed rooftop bars dotted across the city. In the upper echelon of the tallest CBD buildings, you’ll find some of the Melbourne’s most acclaimed eateries, and there’s no shortage of sky-scraping accommodation options on offer.
Here are some tips for tapping into the city‘s high life, including hotel rooms with a view, places to eat where great vistas are always on the menu, and some of the most diverse rooftop watering holes.
Places to stay
Adina Apartment Hotel Melbourne
The Adina Apartment Hotel Melbourne in Queen Street recently unveiled its new-look penthouse suites. There are 11 new penthouse apartments, but in actual fact all of the hotel’s 155 apartments have a chic new look. The 1, 2 and 3-bedroom penthouses all come heavy on the wow factor, with sophisticated New York loft-style interiors and absolutely stunning city views. If you can nab an apartment on the east-facing side of the building you’ll get a fabulous view up Bourke Street all the way to the top end of town.
The interiors incorporate lots of natural timber, black granite, iron staircases and an earthy colour palette, all of which work together to create a sense of contemporary luxury and a space that feels far more like a private apartment than it does a hotel room. We warn you now – you may never want to leave!
Take a sneak peek at the Adina Apartment Hotel Melbourne’s new penthouse suites:
We were thrilled recently to get a sneak peek at the Adina Apartment Hotel Melbourne’s new penthouse apartments, and to put together this video preview. If you happen to be holidaying in marvellous Melbs, it’s well worth exploring the city’s high-flying social scene.
Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne
Contemporary finishes and the refined elegance of yesteryear meld into one at the Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne – one of the city’s finest historic hotels. Located just a stone’s throw from Flinders Street Station (currently under complete wraps for a much-needed makeover), you can’t get any more central than this.
The hotel actually occupies two heritage buildings. One started life as The Commercial Travellers’ Club, which opened its doors in 1913 to accommodate the travelling great and good. Both buildings fell into disrepair, but were completely refurbished in the late 1990s, and today the hotel is one of the city’s most charming and atmospheric places to stay.
Take a look inside the Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne’s heritage suites:
We were thrilled recently to get a guided tour of the historic Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne, and to put together this video preview. Contemporary finishes and the refined elegance of yesteryear meld into one at this amazing hotel. Located just a stone’s throw from Flinders Street Station, you can’t get any more central than this.
The heritage suites with their soaring ceilings occupy what was once an open dining and billiard hall. The mix of period touches and modern décor is a delight, as are the views up and down Flinders Street from the balconies on some of the rooms.
Places to eat
Vue de monde
From its humble origins at street level in a Carlton terrace, Vue de monde has risen to the top of Melbourne’s culinary scene – occupying the 55th floor of the soaring Rialto building. Numerous accolades have been heaped on this whimsical eatery by Shannon Bennett. His is a shadowy world of theatrical fare, backlit by the twinkling lights of the city. The tasting menu of sustainably sourced cuisine is as much a work of art as the unique works that adorn the restaurant’s walls. It’s not cheap, but worth every cent.
The Rialto lost its crown as Melbourne’s tallest building to the soaring blue monolith across the Yarra more than a decade ago, and today discerning diners hightail in a high-speed lift all the way to the top of the Eureka Tower for a superb degustation experience at Eureka 89. The restaurant does a five or seven-course tasting menu, while floor to ceiling windows provide unsurpassed views of the city and bay. Eureka 89 is open selected Tuesday to Saturday evenings and Sunday’s for lunch. Bookings include complimentary access to the Eureka Skydeck.
For a chicly elegant a la carte affair with the toffs at the top end of town, head up to No35 on the 35th floor of the Sofitel Hotel on Collins Street. If you’re happy to dine between 6 and 7.30pm, the pre-theatre special is a stellar deal at $60pp for two courses, a glass of wine and generous servings of sublime city and bay vistas.
Siglo Bar on Spring Street is a great spot to start your evening. Sitting on this gardened terrace in a Parisian-style wicker chair with a white-clothed table and a good bubbly at your fingertips, it feels like you could be in Paris or Nice. The roofline of the neighbouring Princess Theatre, built in the distinctive French ‘Second Empire’ style, lends a certain je ne sais quoi to the proceedings, as does the columned façade of the Victorian parliament building across the way. Siglo is accessed through an unmarked door. Be brave. Just push it open and head on up.
Over on Lonsdale Street, Bomba is the class act of Melbourne’s rooftop bar scene. It incorporates two sections – a seated tapas restaurant at street level and the rooftop bar, where you can also order from a menu of 15 tapas dishes. Take the lift up to the rooftop from the lobby. The scene here is chic and sophisticated, with a strong showing from the after-work crowd.
Watch our guide for Sky News Business Class to top places to stay, eat and play in rooftop Melbourne:
Adam Ford, editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and host of Tour the World, regularly joins the team at Sky News Business Class to discuss top travel destinations around the world.
Anyone over about 30 may suddenly start to feel quite long in the tooth on arrival at Loop Roof, but age is only a state of mind, right? With its garden setting and extensive botanical-infused cocktail list, this funky rooftop venue is so much fun. Even the climb to the 4th floor on that rickety staircase won’t dampen your enthusiasm once you finally reach this secret garden in the sky.
As the crow flies, whimsical Madame Brussels is virtually neighbours with Loop Roof. It’s a few minutes’ walk and a ride up in a very small lift. Once you arrive, order a pitcher of Madame’s Fruity Double D Cup Punch and join the soiree on the terrace.
Listen to a podcast of our tips for top Melbourne rooftop bars, restaurants and places to stay:
Explore rooftop Melbourne with a local guide on a rooftop bar walking tour of four amazing venues, or a hidden bars walking tour that takes in no less that 15 unique and interesting establishments. Both tours are the perfect introduction to Melbourne’s high life.
Do you have any suggestions to add to our list of top Melbourne rooftop bars, restaurants and hotels? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment.
Additional images: Bigstock
About the writer
Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a Melbourne-based travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. Adam has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and the Middle East. He worked as a travel consultant for a number of years with Flight Centre before taking up the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten. Adam also appears regularly as a travel commentator on Sky News Business Class. He loves to experience everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Pisa or a home-stay in Hanoi.