InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto
What We Love
- The stylish Signature Courtyard Suite — like its own secret apartment within the hotel
- Terrific fitness center with indoor pool offering views of the neighboring Rialto Tower
- World class Les Clefs d’Or–recognized concierge James Ridenour, who knows everything there is to know about Melbourne
What To Know
- Some rooms face the internal courtyard and don’t provide natural daylight
- Historical property means no two guestrooms are alike
- Handicap Accessible
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
This magnificent Venetian-style property built in 1891 is located in the heart of Melbourne’s Collins Street. Designed by celebrated architect William Pitt and built at the height of the region’s gold rush (at one point Melbourne was the richest city in the world), the hotel now comprises two wings joined by a soaring nine-story glass atrium. The Rialto’s namesake, the famous bridge that crosses the Grand Canal in Venice, has inspired much of the look and feel. Today the hotel blends historic opulence with cutting-edge urban style, with a sleek palette of muted neutrals and grays, uber-modern light fixtures and an airy reception area that wows with its hushed grandeur and striking uplighting.
Bed and Bath
The hotel’s 253 smart guestrooms and 27 suites are the epitome of modern luxury. The historic Gothic style means many have distinctive period features, such as high ceilings and ornate windows. Accommodation options include Deluxe, Executive or Club InterContinental Rooms, as well as Suites, which have free access to the Club InterContinental Lounge and its exclusive services. All rooms and suites include Bose radio and alarm clocks, flat-screen televisions, pillow menus and iPod docking stations. Functional ergonomic workstations have high-speed wireless Internet and comfy business chairs.
The atrium and original cobbled lane now house the Alluvial restaurant and Bluestone Wine Lounge, which offers more than 30 wines by the glass. The original bluestone lane is still visible in the void between the exterior wall of the Rialto wing and the Rialto Towers forecourt, near Guy Grossi’s fantastic Merchant restaurant. The Club InterContinental Lounge offers a gentlemen’s club–inspired space, with leather wingchairs and views of bustling Collins Street. Also on-site are the funky ground-floor café Eclipse, which you can access from within the hotel or from Flinders Lane, and Market Lane, which specializes in cocktails. Beyond the dining establishments, a full-service spa beckons with authentic Eastern-inspired holistic treatments, while the recently renovated on-site fitness center has state-of-the-art weight and cardio equipment (and excellent views).
In the Area
Located at the heart of Melbourne’s business district, the property is a short walk from bustling Southbank, the Yarra River and the revitalized Docklands. On the doorstep is Melbourne’s labyrinth of lanes, which house wine bars, boutiques, housewares stores, fabulous cafés and eateries. On the top floor of the neighboring Rialto Tower is Shannon Bennett’s revered Vue de Monde, literally taking fine dining to new heights. Also here is Pasquale Franzese and Raymond Capaldi’s Hare and Grace; try the legendary chiko roll. For a taste of Melbourne’s cool urban vibe, head for Curtin House off Swanston Street. There you’ll find the Cookie nightclub; the Metropolis bookshop, for hard-to-find architecture, design, art and literature tomes; luxe vintage-inspired wear at Victoria Loftes’ flagship store; and, in summer, the fabulous Rooftop Cinema for art house flicks and alfresco drinks under the stars.
How to Get There
We were looking forward to staying overnight at the InterContinental Melbourne, as we've previously stayed at other IHG properties, and have loved the hotels. Sadly, not so for the InterContinental Melbourne. The exterior architecture is beautiful without a doubt, however there is little warmth extended once you walk through the doors of the IC. I really dislike writing negative reviews, and unfortunately we found the staff to be less than warm and friendly, it was all very clinical, not a great start! Once you enter the lift to go to your room, the decor and charm of the hotel is sadly lacking, the hotel needs a good makeover. The room itself was a reasonable size (I'm unable recall what type of room we had), the usual amenities were provided, the bathroom was small and dated (in my opinion), and the king size bed was of a standard sleep quality. On a positive note, the windows in the room were double glazed so we didn't encounter any street noise. The hotel is within a reasonable location, close to Southern Cross train station and there are trams outside the hotel in Collins Street. On a final note, each person's review is subjective, as we all have varying degrees of expectations from the hotels we stay at! In this instance, we would not consider the InterContinentlal Hotel Melbourne as our choice of stay in Melbourne.
Love this hotel, beautiful old buildings with information on its history, great food lovely bar areas and the staff are very friendly and helpful. Definitely worth a visit. Very well situated in the bustle of the city
I stayed at this property for a week while on business in Melbourne. I specifically chose this as I have Ambassador status with IHG, and have found that Intercontinental hotels are generally of a fairly high standard.
On the face of it, this property has it all - a great location, good building and the amenities work.
Unfortunately, I found the delivery lacklustre.
Firstly a few positives... The location is quite central, and it's easy to get onto the trams. (I'd recommend you take your own map or use your own app, though, as the concierge was unable to help much.) The gym and fitness area is quite well appointed. Food is generally of a high standard.
But these were outweighed by the issues I experienced.
Issue 1 - I received no recognition for being an Ambassador member. Normally you expect to be given a welcome amenity or at least a card, a room upgrade, etc. After all, Ambassador status is something I pay for. At this property I received nothing of the sort. Of course, I received the obligatory "thanks" but that was it.
Issue 2 - In the club lounge, Internet access is spotty and when you have, it's painfully slow. I specifically bought a room with club lounge access as I wanted to use it for working. Unfortunately, the Internet access from the lounge was such that I was relegated to my room. The club lounge also closes at 1930 which I've found to be earlier than most other properties.
Issue 3 - Service in the restaurants is ho-hum. I ate one evening at the bar. I waited over an hour for them to clear my plate after finishing eating. Fortunately I was reading, and lost track of time, but I would at least expected someone to come and offer me a top-up to my drink. This never happened. I never dined at their formal restaurant downstairs with the exception of breakfast in the morning. Admittedly, this was a little better, although it would have been nice to see Eggs Benedict on the menu.
Issue 4 - Maintenance. On the face of it, the rooms are well appointed and spacious. Even the iPad in the room is a nice touch. But I noticed that several elements in the room don't work. The reading lights worked on only one side of the bed; the curtains are electrically closed, but it worked with all but one (which I could not move) and then had to sleep with open curtains. My room safe never worked once. I reported the light in the shaving mirror as not working. The bulb was replaced two days later, but this did not help as a wire connection in the mirror was faulty.
Issue 5 - Every day, the cleaners made the room, but did not complete the job. On the first day, the cleaner decided to take my personal face towel that I carry with me on long flights. This disappeared without a trace. But I had other instances where the cleaners left empty shampoo bottles in my room. The Nespresso machine in the room is nice, but I had a few situations where the cleaners just left a new milk on my bedside table without putting it in the fridge.
I expected a lot more from this hotel given the price, and its status as an Intercontinental Hotel. It's way under par, unfortunately.
After looking forward to our two night stay at this hotel we were a bit disappointed when we arrived.
Yes, the service was wonderful, the exterior architecture great, but the room (328) upgraded to King Executive was a let down. For a five star hotel the room was not unlike any other four star hotel room in the world. It was not overly large and seemingly quite dated.
It was also a very dark room with little or no natural light so we needed to keep the lights on when in occupation.
The bathroom was adequate but certainly not large. The door stop was broken and loose on the floor, and a portion of the bath grout in the shower was missing.
On arrival we were presented with a welcome basket (Luxury Escapes inclusion) of a bottle of red wine (not bad) and two apples. The green apple was heavily bruised and this was quite visible (this apple remained in the room for the entire time we were there)
As mentioned service was excellent from all fronts. Friendly and efficient.
Breakfast at the hotel was excellent. Buffet style but providing cold and hot menu
While a very good hotel we were still disappointed.
First the positives. Heritage building which looks great from the outside. Decent location in close walking distance to the river and Southbank cafes and restaurants. Courteous service.
Negatives. Relative lack of recognition for Ambassador. Room sizes are below par and the maintenance is not the best - the hotel has a tired feel from inside.
I will probably try a different hotel next time I’m in town.