Rendezvous in Melbourne a sleeper hit

Traveller's Bar, Rendezvous Grand Hotel Melbourne
I have to admit: I must have walked past the Rendezvous Grand Hotel Melbourne a thousand times, and have never looked in.

You could call the facade 'unassuming', but it's actually just downright misleading.

The building celebrates its centenary next year, and the interior gives a clue to its age, with impossibly high, moulded ceilings, ornate stained-glass windows and fabulous old-school mahogany doors throughout.

We checked in on Tuesday afternoon for a quick city stay. It's a business hotel through-and-through, so I have to warn you: the rooms are fine for a couple, but those toting tackers are in for a squeeze. For the best view in the house, ask for a corner room on the eighth floor, which will get you a little Juliet balcony, with fabulous views over Flinders St station. Otherwise the Heritage rooms are going to be a hit for their impossibly high ceilings and grainy photos of Melbourne streetlife in the shower.

The hotel has been undergoing restoration for four years, in time for its centenary celebrations.

In its time, it's hosted Edward Prince of Wales, Fred Astaire and Gregory Peck filmed On The Beach here (1959, post-nuclear Australia), and the foyer was designed by the same architect responsible for the Titanic's ballroom.

A highlight of the hotel is the Traveller's Bar in the foyer. A beautiful space, it features Edwardian leadlighting and deep leather sofas. There's also what has to be the best value happy hour in town, 5.30-6.30pm, $5 for house wines and beers, including Rothbury Estate's sparkling.

The lead-in price stands at around $189 a night, check their pay one/stay two deal until January 13, 2013.

Rendezvous Grand Hotel Melbourne: 328 Flinders St, Melbourne, +61 3 9250 1888, rendezvous.com

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