The Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens Melbourne ticks all the boxes when it comes to location; it’s got transport links, views and some of the city’s best food covered. Being one of the first hotels you’ll come across when leaving the freeway from the airport, it’s incredibly well located for those coming in from out-of-town. Sitting opposite Flagstaff Gardens (as the name would suggest!), rooms come with pretty park views and access to the free tram network is just outside the doorway. Their neighbour, just one block along, however, is one of the biggest draws to this part of Melbourne – Radisson on Flagstaff is mere minutes away from the Queen Victoria Market.
I thought I knew the Queen Vic Market, having passed through a few times, but it wasn’t until I stayed on its doorstep that I got to understand the full extent of its history and vendors. The hotel recommend I take the Hunt & Gather Food Tour, which starts at 10am 4 days a week, and I couldn’t thank them enough for introducing me to this experience.
The Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens is part of Radisson’s green brand and is graded 4.5 star but the recent refurbishments and attention from staff definitely pushes it towards the top of that bracket. As part of the refurbishment the lobby has been decked out in funky seating and in the guest rooms the sparkling bathrooms now have walk in rainforest showers.
The bed was exactly the way I like it – vast and soft with a Sealy mattress and built-in pillow top. Amenities in the room included a full tea and coffee making set and I liked how the phone/clock next to the bed had a USB cable so I could charge my phone next to me whilst I slept. (This is also a very handy feature for those of us who often forget to pack our international adapters!)
The wi-fi in the room was free (has been since 2009!) and fast so I was able to catch up on work whilst watching the sun set over the city. The hotel also offers a complimentary shirt pressing service so my other half was able to spruce up before dinner.
Of an evening you have easy access to Melbourne’s bars and concert arenas via the Flagstaff Train Station (open Monday to Friday but potentially 7 days a week in future) or via the free tram network mentioned earlier. The heart of the city is only a 10 minute walk away (I made the journey to the Emporium shopping centre several times and it’s an easy walk) and just a little further is the South Bank with the likes of the Crown Casino complex. Don’t forget to head to the bar at HQ’s On William before you head out though, especially if it’s Friday when HQ’s Happy Hour includes $3 glasses of sparkling wine, $5 basic spirits, house wine and schooners, plus complimentary finger food.
Speaking of food. HQ’s (named after the fact that the building used to be an old police headquarters) offers a breakfast buffet with live cooking stations as well as a Grab & Go breakfast cart if you’re in a hurry. But when in Melbourne I feel it is customary to try as many independent coffee shops as possible and you’ve got some great choices in this area. Frances Food & Coffee on Franklin Street offers superb coffee and very friendly service, whilst the brews at Market Lane Cafe come highly recommend. If you take the Hunt & Gather tour you’ll be given a voucher for a free coffee at places including Market Espresso, which is another one of my favourites.
The laneways leading off the market have a number of secrets to discover – including some exceptional street art which is not nearly as photographed or celebrated as the artwork found in the likes of Hosier Lane. Yet another thing I was glad to discover by virtue of staying in this area.
Find Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens Melbourne at 380 William Street. For more information or to book visit www.radisson.com/melbourneau. My stay was complimentary but all views remain my own.