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HOTEL REVIEW: New Le Méridien, Melbourne. Where I used to dance my sox off!

HOTEL REVIEW: New Le Méridien, Melbourne. Where I used to dance my sox off!Score 82%Score 82%
Series: TRIP: Sydney Melbourne return in Economy, April, 2023

This ex-theatre and pub site now returns the Marriot hotels group Le Méridien brand to Melbourne with a well thought out 235 room hotel over 14 stories. Its interior design draws on the Deco, mid-century and even Memphis design movement, plus its varied history as an entertainment and theatre venue.

Stay: 14 to 16 April, 2023
Stars: 5
Room: Superior Guest Room, King, City View
Size: 30 sqm (323 sqf)
Bed: King
Per Night Average: ~AU$408
Address: 20 Bourke Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000 Australia
Phone: +61 3 9123 3900

a lobby with a man standing at the counter
Vast foyer. Reception desks (left) pedestrian entry & coffee shop (centre), icecream and vehicle entrance (right) [Schuetz/2PAXfly]


We were heading to Melbourne for a weekend to soak up an exhibition, eat at some new restaurants and stay at the newly opened Le Méridien owned by the Marriot / Bonvoy.

a restaurant with a counter and a lamp
Foyer with rception desk on left, Cafe and icecream bar to the right, and driveway entance far right [Schuetz/2PAXfly]


I last visited this spot in Melbourne in the late 1980s when it was the Metro nightclub, and I danced my little gay socks off. Before that, the site had a myriad of incarnations, most notably as a series of hotels and, from 1912, the Palace Theatre.

The Le Méridien hotel brand has not been seen in Melbourne for over 20 years when it had an incarnation at The Rialto on Collins Street, now the Intercontinental. Le Méridien is an international hotel brand founded by Air France in 1972. Then it moved to the United Kingdom, and now the chain is owned by Marriott International. It currently has around 110 hotels with ~30,000 rooms and is developing just under 40 new hotels comprising 10,000 rooms.

a room with a piano and a television
More foyer looking towards the main pedestrian entrance, and downstairs bar with Ettore Sottsass/Memphis inspired columns [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Booking & Price

Hotel prices in the wake of the pandemic have gone through the roof. Once, a centre of the city five-star hotel in Melbourne could be had for AU$300 – 350. Not any more. Most of the time, the starting price is around AU$ 450. Well, at least that was the cost of a step up from an entry-level room at the Westin, one of my preferred hotels in Melbourne.

a balcony with a large building in the background
I can see Parliament House from my roof! [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

The number of new hotels I haven’t stayed in yet in Melbourne is beginning to mount up: Ritz Carlton, W, AC by Marriot, Veriu Victoria Market, and now Le Meridien.

For me, the Ritz Carlton and W are at the wrong end of town. I prefer to be near the ‘Paris end’ of Collins Street. Le Meridien isn’t on Collins Street, but just one back on Bourke, just a good punt away from Parliament House.

a glass door with a person standing in the middle
Vehicular entry off Bourke Street, and linking to Harwood Place [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Location & Arrival

There are effectively two points of arrival. The first, and the one we used, is a little laneway off Bourke Street. It’s not as spectacular as the Bourke Street entrance, but it is where you might get your vehicle door opened and your luggage carried. And it’s undercover – important in rainy Melbourne.

Our taxi driver was going to drop us about 500 metres away from the hotel because his ‘GPS said it was here’. When you actually looked, the theatre-style lights at the hotel entrance would have given the destination away. Strike one against Melbourne taxi drivers.

a room with chairs and tables
Adjacent to reception, great place to wait while your cab is coming. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a glass jar with a drink in it and a bucket of wine
Welcome drink serve yourself? Waiting behind reception. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a tablet on a counter
Pity we were’nt offered an beverage on arrival. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]


Young and enthusiastic staff members quickly and efficiently did this. It went slightly awry at one point, with the reception staff having to call her manager to assist and override something in the computer system. But it was gracefully done, caused little delay, and that sort of glitch is to be expected in a new hotel with recently trained staff.

Room numbers displayed conveniently at head hight in corridor [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

The Room

We were allocated Room 1106, which, as you have guessed, was on the 11th floor. This hotel and the corridor had, I think, what counts as a ‘new hotel smell’. Everything is crisp and clean, and unmarked or scuffed or repaired. It certainly adds to the chimaerical feeling that no one has slept here before.

a map of a building
Our room, 1106, faced in the opposite direction to Parliament House [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

The designers fitted a lot in this room. It has a King Size bed, plus a desk and dining area, luggage storage, a minibar and a coffee/drinks service area. The room had been well thought out, although I might have made some different design decisions, especially concerning the desk area. But more on that later.

a door in a room
Bathroom entrance is adjacent to the room entrance. Mirror on the opposite wall, with wardrobe and coat/hooks also opposite. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a room with a bed and chairs
Room view from the entrance corridor [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Overall, the decor works pretty well. The overall impression is a neutral blue-grey with dark blue accents and a warm tending to reddish wood tone. The textures included a complexly quilted bedspread, dark blue synthetic velvet-covered bucket chairs and a faux marble table top. The Melbourne skyline-themed cushions in a duo print of black and blue, with blue piping, were cute and effective.

a pillow on a chair
Bucket chairs are a good call given their adaptable use as lounge and dining chairs. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a bed with white pillows and a lamp on the side of the bed
The bed with great linens, non matching lams and over headboard sculpture. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]


There are some quirky elements here, but fortunately, most add to the room rather than detract from it.

a phone and notebooks on a table
A square table on the left-hand side v the oval one on the right. Plenty of power outlets. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

I am not a fan of windows in bathrooms, but in this case, it’s mostly a way of getting some natural light into the bathroom, which I support. Note the non-matching things around the bed. The bedside tables don’t match, and neither do the bedside lamps. This lack of symmetry is a theme throughout the room, and it works.

a bed with white sheets and a table
View of dining area and bed from the window end of the room [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a group of cards in a black case
What passes for a compendium, left on the bed, with dining menus, services details etc. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a room with a tv and desk


The desk area was integrated into the minibar and entertainment unit. I loved the framed images in the top shelf, and the publications underneath. These would have been cleared if we were still at the height of the pandemic.

a shelf with books on it
Books and framed images above the desk [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

The desk was set high, which made the stool provided, work. However, I wouldn’t have liked to have used this desk arrangement for a prolonged period, say if I was on a busies trip, and working for hours in the hotel room. It’s the only thing I think they got substantially wrong in the basic room design. There was another little issue with night lights – for details see the takeout at the end.

a tv on a wall
Integrated unit. Not a fan of the desk stool. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Safe & Luggage

These were incorporated into the desk/minibar configuration. The Luggage storage area was adequate, although a little unsightly when populated with baggage, being located directly under the TV, and viewable when in bed.

The safe and additional storage was located under the luggage rack.

a safe on a shelf
Drawers with a safe under the TV screen and luggage storage area. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a shelf with a tv and wine bottles
Combined luggage, entertainment, desk and mini-bar combination [Schuetz/2PAXfly]


The standard minibar was part of the desk setup, and not adjacent to the bathroom or wardrobe. In open shelves with a faux marble top, it housed a coffee machine, kettle, glasses, wine, a small bottle of gin, cups, and saucers.

a cabinet with a coffee pot and cups on it

Below were draws housing coffee selection and other comestibles available for a charge.

Mini bar commestibles

Below this was a drawer fridge – which I love! – with a selection of soft drinks, juices, wine and beer, also available at a cost.

a open mini fridge with drinks in it
Love a fridge drawer over an ordinary fridge. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a closet door with handles


The double wardrobe was located in the entrance hallway, in the feature wood used throughout the room. It contained the usual features, including an Iron, an Ironing board, safe, bathrobes, three kinds of coat hangers, a clothes brush and a shoehorn.

a closet with clothes on swingers
No shortage of coathangers here. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

It even had a set of three drawers.

The coat hangers were great. Dark wood to match the other timber in the room, and brushed steel, square-ish hooks that were stylish and contemporary. No theft-proof coathangers here, and you know they are one of my bête noire

a closet with clothes from a swinger
A wardrobe with drawers, clothes brush and shoe horn. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a bathroom with a bathrobe and sink
Marble everywhere. Single sink and large shower room. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

The Bathroom

The bathroom was a surprise. I’m usually a – give me two sinks and a few drawers kind of guy. This bathroom didn’t have those, but it did have a separated framed shower area and bench. It also had a frosted window into the bedroom, which flooded the shower with natural light.

a bathroom with a sink and toilet
View of the bathroom from the shower. Note scales and heardryer [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

I liked this bathroom a lot. Towels were new, fluffy, and decently sized, and robes were cotton and large.

Shower area with bench. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

My only criticism is I do like a drawer or a cupboard in a bathroom to store my wet pack and other bathroom necessities. It makes the space look a lot less cluttered.

Rain shower, and hand-held shower head. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Overall, this was a very well-designed bathroom that pretended to be larger than it was. A great illusion.

The one weird thing was that none of the lighting switches were inside the bathroom. This meant you needed to turn on the hallway light, work out the bathroom light switches, and turn them on. Given that there is a frosted window into the bedroom, that did disturb my husband’s sleep. I suppose light leakage from the bathroom into the bedroom is the downside of having a window to admit natural light into the bathroom during the day.


Amenities were Malin and Goetz, one of my favoured citrusy brands. These were delivered in refillable containers mounted on the wall in the shower and by individual containers on the bathroom bench. Amenities included a bar of soap, which I very much appreciated. I am not a fan of petroleum-based shower and hand gels.

Bathroom sink amenities. Additional amenities in drawer [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
Bar of soap, soap stand and matching tissue dispenser [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
Dolly Restaurant, breakfast venue every day, and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Bars, Restaurants

Le Meridien runs two food and beverage outlets, plus a pool bar and an ice cream stand. The foyer is the home of Intermission Café and Bar, and the ice cream stand, Le Scoop.

We grabbed this treat after our late arrival in lieu of dinner.
Dolly Foyer, adjacent to the lifts [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Dolly, located on the floor below the entrance level, is open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday, and where you will have breakfast every day.

a room with tables and chairs
View at breakfast towards the kitchen, with the silvery bar on the left [Schuetz/2PAXfly]


The Restaurant Dolly is where you will have breakfast either from an impressive spread or the a la carte menu. It’s billed as ‘A moody 1930’s destination that evokes the glamour and mystique of the backstage‘ If that was what they were going for, then they have failed. If, on the other hand, they were working on a pleasant and comfortable space with various table and booth options, then they have succeeded tremendously.

a table with food on it
Pastry and bread selection, including Danish, doughnuts and pretzels. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

It’s a very pleasant space, which belies its underground location. Maybe I’m being harsh, and they go for a more moody lighting preset for dinner. I only visited for breakfast.

a shelf with bowls of food on it
Fruit and salad selection together with delicatessen meats and cheeses [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

The food spread was fairly standard for a 5-star hotel and included an egg station, with cooks on duty.

a machine on a table
Organise your juice, or take one of the fresh pre-mixed ones [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Have a look at the images below to get an idea of the range of breakfast options available.

a buffet table with plates and bowls of food
A hot food station with a kitchen behind. Order your eggs, or sample from scrambled and poached. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a shelf with bowls and milk on it
Fruits, milk and yoghurt selection [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a group of glass jars with different types of cereals
Cereals on display
a restaurant with a man behind it
View from the dining room towards kitchen and pastries.
a patio with umbrellas and chairs in a city
Le Splash Bar on Level 5 adjacent to the pool. Melbourne was determined to be rainy throughout our stay [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Gym and Pool

Level 5 is the home of the outdoor pool and Le Splash Bar. It rained throughout our stay, so there was not much occasion to use this facility. It did look very inviting, and on a sunnier day, would have attracted our patronage.

a pool with umbrellas and chairs on a rooftop
The pool, with some young folk playing ‘Marco Polo’ [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
tread treadmills in a room with a view of a city

You will find the Gym on the same level. It’s well equipped, laid out, and the design is rather nice. Particularly this wallpaper shows an exercise routine from another era:

a wallpaper with many images of people and animals
Wallpaper in the fitness area [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

The gym is divided into well-defined zones for treadmills and bikes, weight machines, free weights and floor work.

a gym with exercise equipment
Gym – view towards weights and machine area [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a gym with weights in the wall
Weights and machine area [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a water dispenser with a bottle in it
Fill your water bottle station [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a shelf with towels on it
Towels [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a hallway with two doors and a door on the wall
Lockers and bathroom areas in the gym. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a remote control and thermostat
Slightly confusing air conditioning unit controls. Touch screen? Curtain control on the left. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

2PAXfly Takeout

It was an impressive stay overall. The shiny newness of the hotel was an attraction. The downside was that staff were also on the whole new, or newly trained, with most not having English as their first language. That led to some miscommunication, especially among wait staff and patrons. What they lacked in training and language skills, they sure made up for with willingness and enthusiasm.

There are few reservations about this hotel, but a few negative things to note. There seemed to be some sound leakage in our room. It may have been from outside, but I think more likely transmission from inside. Not a deal breaker, but annoying.

Can we talk about night lights in bathrooms? I think these are vital in good hotels because most guests are unfamiliar with the bathroom layout. The night light in this room, under the bedside table, in combination with the nightlight in the bathroom and the window into the bedroom, was way too bright for my husband’s ideal light levels for sleep.

The design and finishes in the room were of high quality and should stay the test of time. The public areas have that fresh-from-the-drawing-board feel and may need some tweaking once the hotel settles into a routine.

We had to wait a while for our Uber, and there is a nice space behind the reception where you can sit and wait, and as I did, do some minimal repacking of my luggage, all out of sight of the public. That’s the kind of design thinking that sets a quality hotel above the pack.

Other Posts in the Series
<< FLIGHT REVIEW: Sydney to Melbourne in Qantas Economy – call that a meal?FLIGHT REVIEW: Tow bar pin breaks on Melbourne to Sydney Qantas Economy. But this time I get a meal! >>

Le Méridien, Melbourne


Brand spanking new five star hotel A great five star addition by Marriot to the Melbourne hotel landscape. It scores high partly because it is new, but loses a few due to the ingénue status of staff of all genders

Brand spanking new five star hotel

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