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Victoria knows about food and wine. It also knows how to host events, with the Victorian 'season' including world class festivals, sporting and cultural events. But cosmopolitan Victoria also has its own share of Australia's natural beauty, from the majesty of the Great Ocean Road with its Twelve Apostles jutting out like knives from nowhere, to the lush tranquility of the Yarra Valley, or the colourful haze of the Grampians National Park. Then there are the old gold mining towns, and the penguin parades at Philip Island. Not to mention the sport… Our Guru's recommendations for the best places to stay in Victoria are dotted all over the state, from the heart of Melbourne to the middle of nowhere.
State capital, and unmissably cool city, Melbourne is a hub for visitors. And is perfectly summed up by its most famous annual event: The Melbourne Cup, a day of hedonistic appreciation for the finer things, all done with an easy, classy charm.
Melbourne's reputation for quality and finish, and its weather, culture and atmosphere are more stylishly European than you'll find elsewhere in Australia, but don't expect stuffy suits and silver service, Melbourne is more about cool cats, foodie haunts and folk with a nose for their coffee.
Close to the wine region of the Yarra Valley, Melbourne takes its wine, and food seriously. The centre of town has recently sprouted a collection of new rooftop bars and alleyway eateries, converted from once industrial buildings.
Ass well as wine and food, Melbourne also takes coffee, The Arts, and shopping seriously. For shopping try Collins Street for the Parisian boutiques and Chapel St. for quirky chic. But you shouldn't miss out on the Queen Victoria markets either - the largest open air market in the southern hemisphere. And Melbourne's cultural calendar is packed with festivals celebrating some, or all, of the above.
Melbourne's architecture was built on the back of the gold rush, as was that in many of the country towns surrounding the city, so there's quite a bit of grandeur around, and many of these lovely buildings have been turned into luxurious hotels (some of the best places to stay in Victoria) or galleries. The largest gold towns have survived, along with some of the Murray River charmers, famous for their riverboat culture, and these towns are awash with interesting history.
Outside the cities and towns you'll find the wonders of the Great Ocean Road to the south, to the east are the Dandenong Ranges, just 35kms from Melbourne, then there's the Snowy River with its huge forest of gums, then the High Country. Northwards is the outback dotted with national parks, like the Grampians and the bare Mallee.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Victoria range from hip, boutique city offerings in Melbourne (some of which are excellent value for money too), to five star luxury in the heart of the winelands.
For a chic Melbourne city break
- The Langham Hotel Melbourne is a luxury hotel in an unrivalled position right on the Southbank by the Yarra River. As well as offering amazing city views and easy access to many of Melbourne's highlights, The Langham has some impressive decor and a fantastic spa.
- Crown Towers occupies the other end of the Southbank, closer to the Docklands, but you're still perfectly located and the views, from generous sized rooms and the rooftop gardens, are incredible.
- The Park Hyatt is a Melbourne classic, offering traditional five star luxury, right by St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Victoria Markets.
- Ovolo Laneways, is right in the heart of the central business district, close to some of Melbourne's best bars, cafes and restaurants and a short walk from Federation Square. This hundred room hotel is also great value, with rooms, and complimentary breakfasts, starting at £128 per night.
- The Prince, in hip and happening, seaside St. Kilda, is a very reasonably priced 40 room property with tasteful decor and great facilities, including a steam room and sauna.
- The Olsen in South Yarra is a modern hotel in a great spot - especially for local dining. It boasts comfortable rooms and great facilities, including a glass-bottomed swimming pool, spa and gym.
- Quirky, colourful The Cullen is just opposite Prahran Market and Chapel St., a great value place for lone travellers or those with families - there are family suites with their own kitchenettes and they offer a free pram hire and babysitting service. They'll also rent you a bike. And the walls are covered in art by Adam Cullen.
For rural relaxation
- Lake House is a 35 room country house hotel set on six acres around serene Daylesford Lake. This is a great spot for birdwatching and walking, and you're close to the mineral springs. There's also an award winning restaurant.
- The Royal Mail Hotel offers a range of accommodation just two kilometres out from Dunkeld, a charming little country town well located for the Grampians National Park. As well as rooms and self catering apartments, the hotel has a house which sleeps up to 11.
- Mollisons is a charming, seven room, boutique hotel in Kyneton, a country town about an hour from Melbourne. This is a great place for those with an eye for design - especially seeing as every item in the hotel is for sale.
For the ocean
- Drift House in Port Fairy is a boutique hotel right on the beach. Its four suites are all uniquely done and some have stunning views over the Moyne River. A tasteful stop on the Great Ocean Road.
- Big Blue Backyard is a collection of three, hand made cabin hideaways just by St. Andrew's Beach on the Mornington Peninsula. Each has its own private deck and spa bath and each has been loving crafted with local materials. There's no restaurant but the owner/operators will happily do the cooking for you.
- QT Falls Creek in Falls Creek, is a luxurious collection of one, two and three bedroom self catering apartments right at the foot of the ski resort. A number of the apartments have views over the ski fields and some have private hot tubs too. In summer this is a great area for walkers.
Best Hotels in Victoria
The Prince 40 rooms from $89Melbourne (St Kilda)
A hard to beat location in the seaside suburb of St Kilda, offering the best of city living by the sea. This clean hotel boasts tasteful decor and great amenities, including a sauna and steam room to unwind in after a hard day at the beach.Free wifiSights nearby - St Kilda Pavilion five minutes walk away, three kilometers to the CBDLively - Hip and happening.Seaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Recommended by - Tablet, Mr & Mrs Smith
The Cullen 119 rooms from $101Melbourne (Prahran)
Located opposite the bustling Prahran Market and Chapel St, this quirky looking hotel doesn't disappoint with lashings of artwork by Adam Cullen. Large suites come with a fully equipped kitchenette. Babysitting services, free pram hire and family suites available.Sights nearby - Within walking distance of the city's main sites and shopping districtsRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
Robinsons in the City 6 rooms from $104Melbourne
This charming, six bedroom B&B offers friendly and personal service in a fantastic location. Homely, unpretentious bedrooms and rustic red brick walls - perfect for those looking for a restful and sociable environment to explore this great city. Hearty breakfasts and lots of local knowledge.Sights nearby - Visit Cooks' Cottage - the oldest building in AustraliaLocal markets - The Queen Victoria MarketRestrictions on children - No childrenRecommended by - I Escape
The Blackman 209 rooms from $111Melbourne (Mains of Balgavies)
With funky contemporary art adorning the walls, this boutique hotel on St Kilda road has fantastic amenities, including luxurious suites with fully equipped kitchen facilities. The perfect pairing of practicality, comfort and style.Sights nearby - Three kilometers to the CBD, five minute walk to the Botanical Gardens
Royal Mail Hotel 40 rooms from $112Dunkeld, Victoria
A range of accommodation available 2 km from the picturesque country town of Dunkeld, including rooms, self-catering apartments, an outdoor pool and a house sleeping up to 11 people. Perfect for groups, families and those wishing to explore the stunning Grampian National Park.Views - Out to Mt Sturgeon Station, a working merino wool sheep station, and Grampian peaksSights nearby - In Dunkeld, incluing arboretum and art galleriesGreat walks - Good for walkers.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Fodors
Middle Park Hotel 25 rooms from $113Melbourne (Victoria)
A period building opposite the Albert Park Australian Grand Prix - a must for racing fans! Guests can enjoy meals in the Brasserie restaurant with a side of Ozzie charm. Rooms are decorated in a fuss free 'loft' style in greys and accent reds. Dramatic, dark tiled bathrooms feature roll top baths.Local markets - The largest open air market in the southern hemisphere The Queen Victoria Market houses an impressive array of goods.Great walks - Home to a variety of exotic flora and fauna take a wander through Melbourne's expansive Botanical Gardens.Lively - Hip and happening.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.
The Larwill Studio 96 rooms from $128North Melbourne
An art centric hotel boasting an excellent central location. Contemporary rooms are clean in design with soft hues and plenty of glass offset by vibrant modern artworks. A health thread runs through the property with designated snacks, meditation and yoga mats offered in room. Modern living defined.Value chic - Giving chic Scandi-style right next to Royal Park all at a very reasonable rate.Great walks - Take a stroll around the nearby Royal Park and make a pit stop at Melbourne Zoo.Designer - Uniquely designed interiors.
Mansion Hotel & Spa from $146Melbourne (Werribee Park)
Escape to the country with a stay in this luxurious hotel and spa surrounded by ten acres of extensive parkland only thirty minutes from Melbourne's CBD. Tasteful decor matches the stunning 1870s Italianate Werribee Mansion setting.Sights nearby - Free entry into Werribee Mansion, close to Victoria State Rose Garden and Werribee Open Range ZooSpaSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor
QT Falls Creek 40 rooms from $150Falls Creek, Victoria
Luxury 1, 2 and 3 bedroom self-catering apartments located at the foot of Falls Creek ski resort. Some have private hot tubs with views out over the balcony to the white ski fields beyond. Much needed sauna, steam room, spa and indoor heated swimming pool. Fabulous trekking and walks in the summer.Skiing - Also snowmobile tours, tobogganing, snowshoeing, snow tubing, snowsport school and cross country skiingOutstanding location - At foot of Falls Creek ski resortViews - Lovely views over the ski fieldsGreat walks - To waterfallsRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
Mollisons 7 rooms from $154Kyneton, Victoria
This boutique hotel in country town Kyneton, an hour from Melbourne, is an interior designer's heaven, with elegant rooms and tasteful fittings. Every item in the hotel is for sale in the boutique downstairs. Minutes walk from Piper Street's lively cafes, restaurants and bars.Local markets - Good for local colour.Great walks - Good for walkers.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
Frangos & Frangos 12 rooms from $171Daylesford, Victoria
Set in the heart of Daylesford, this hotel has a lot to offer. Fabulously designed bedrooms, a choice of two lively restaurants and the Endota Day Spa. The owners have poured their passions into Frangos to make it truly welcoming and completely unique. Unwind in this stylish hotel.Great walks - Wombat Hill Botanical GardensSights nearby - Hepburn SpringsRestrictions on children - No childrenSpaRecommended by - Tablet
Langham Hotel Melbourne 387 rooms from $186Melbourne (Southbank)
This luxury hotel offers unrivalled views of the city from its location on the Yarra river. The decor inside is impressive, with a marble staircase, waterfall features and chandeliers dripping from the roof. The perfect place to mix business and pleasure.Spa - Chuan Spa inspired by the principles of Traditional Chinese MedicineSights nearby - Five minute walk to Federation Square, the Arts Centre and the CBDSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor
Park Hyatt 240 rooms from $199East Melbourne
This grand five star hotel offers contemporary luxury in the heart of Melbourne. Spacious rooms complete with Italian marble bathrooms and views to the historic St Patrick's Cathedral ensure a lavish stay.Sights nearby - Opposite St Patrick's Cathedral, five minute walk to the CBD, Carlton and Fitzroy areasLocal markets - Victoria Market a ten minute walk awaySpa - Park Club Health and Day SpaSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRecommended by - Tablet
Crown Towers 482 rooms from $237Melbourne (Southbank)
Sleek and smart contemporary hotel situated on the banks of the Yarra. Fantastic facilities, including luxurious large rooms and two tennis courts on the rooftop garden, combine glamour and wellbeing.Sights nearby - Within walking distance of Federation Square and the Art CentreSpaSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor
Drift House from $250PORT FAIRY, Victoria
A boutique hotel on the beach of Port Fairy. Tastefully slick individual suites with marble bathrooms, kitchens and dining areas. Some have views over the Moyne river. Explore the stunning Great Ocean Road from here, or just relax by the pool.Sitting RoomSwimming Pool - Outdoor and seasonalRestrictions on children - Not allowedFull of characterRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
Chateau Yering 32 rooms from $261Yarra Valley, Victoria
Five star luxury in heritage listed Victorian manor in the heart of wine region the Yarra Valley only one hour from Melbourne. Original features and antiques in rooms, extensive gardens and 24 hour room service.Outstanding location - Set on 250 acres, borders Yarra RiverSwimming Pool - 2 Outdoor seasonal poolFour poster beds - In Stable suitesGreat walks - Good for walkers.Recommended by - Fodors
The Olsen 229 rooms from $205Melbourne (South Yarra)
Contemporary hotel with a central location in South Yarra offering good amenities and comfortable rooms. Boasts a glass-bottom swimming pool, spa and gym, and all within easy reach of nearby restaurants.Sights nearby - Within easy walking distance of many of the city's sites, including Federation Square and Botanic GardensSwimming Pool - Glass-bottomLively area - In the thick of the action.Spa
Ovolo Laneways 107 rooms from $207Melbourne
Tucked away on one of Melbourne's famous laneways, this hotel is situated in the heart of the bustling CBD close to the city's best bars, cafes and restaurants. Complimentary breakfast is also included.Sights nearby - Within walking distance to Federation Square, city shopping and eating districtLively - Hip and happening.Lively area - In the thick of the action.Recommended by - Tablet, Mr & Mrs Smith
Lyall Hotel & Spa from $208Melbourne (South Yarra)
Each room in this stunning hotel comes with a fully equipped kitchen and balcony. Contemporary oriental design with opulent fabrics. Centrally located near the Botanic Gardens, there is also the offer of free bicycle hire to get around the cycle-friendly city. Make use of the luxurious spa too.Spa - The Lyall Spa offers a range of holisitic treatments including hydrotherapy and relaxationSights nearby - Within walking distance to the Botanic Gardens and The Arts CentreLively area - In the thick of the action.Recommended by - I Escape, Tablet, Mr & Mrs Smith
Lake House 35 rooms from $300Victoria
Waterfront rooms and suites set on six acres around Daylesford Lake. Great walks and birdwatching on property, and close proximity to world famous mineral springs. Award winning restaurant serving regional cuisine. Family friendly.Birdwatching - Rosella, parrot, kingfisher and kookaburra on propertyGreat walks - Peace Mile track around the lakeOutstanding location - Mineral springs on doorstepSpaRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Fodors
Big Blue Backyard from $397Victoria
Three family owned unique hideaways by St Andrews Beach. Star studded night sky, pure escapism. Each cabin comes with private deck, delicious crisp white cotton and spa bath. Fresh local food, home cooking and attentive service. Perfect for couples and romantic getaways.Rooms with balcony/terraceFull of characterLocal markets - Good for local colour.Hideaway - Tranquil and intimate.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
The Como 107 rooms from $320Melbourne (South Yarra)
Luxury hotel at the heart of Melbourne's bustling Chapel St. Near to all the attractions, art galleries, restaurants and boutiques. Family friendly suites available, with top-notch facilities including a gym, swimming pool and BBQ area.Swimming Pool - Indoor and outdoor with BBQ facilitiesLively area - In the thick of the action.