Recently, we spent four days in Melbourne for a slightly longer weekend escape. Part of our stay was spent at the recently refurbished Mantra City Central, which is right in the heart of Melbourne. It gave us a taste of inner-city living and both Matt and I started to feel like real Melbournians with our sweet apartment and regular coffee haunts. When it comes to Melbourne accommodation, Mantra City Central has got you covered in terms of location, room size, ‘coolness’ and comfort.
I cannot think of a better location or spot I’d rather be based in for a weekend getaway in Melbourne. It’s pretty much perfect! You can get to the centre of the city really easily and affordably using the SkyBus, which costs $18 one way p.p to the city then you hop a free transfer to your hotel door.
We found it ridiculously easy to get around and see and do all the things we wanted to. It was all too easy to walk down to Southbank or over to the Queen Victoria Markets. We had no trouble strolling to Chinatown to get some food or finding great pizza and pasta on Little Bourke Street. Not only that, but the shopping in this area is fantastic as you’re right on top of the big name shopping centres.
The building is the perfect mix of old and new. The exterior of the building is the classic old-school front with all its charm and Melbourne coolness. Inside, the hallways of the hotel seem really narrow, making you worry about how big your room will be. Don’t fear, as soon as you open that door to your room you step into a really, really awesome space that you just don’t want to leave.
We stayed in a one bedroom apartment which was even bigger than our one bedroom apartment in Brisbane! The room is so cool, it opens up into a great size living area with a kitchenette, bathroom and small terrace with great views overlooking the busy streets below. The bedroom was upstairs in a super slick loft space that makes you feel like you’re in a bit of a tree-house or cubby. Our room also had a sofa bed in it, which we didn’t need to use but was still really comfy and a good option to have if you’re travelling with kids or friends.
Everything in the apartment was great! I loved the big comfy bed and the comfortable lounge area for chilling out after a long day of walking. The terrace was perfect for relaxing with a glass of wine in the afternoon and taking some really cool night photography as the city lit up. The whole place had the most comfortable feel to it and both Matt and I found ourselves wanting to spend time in the room, which is always a really good sign.
We were lucky enough to be shown one of the two bedroom rooftop terrace apartments too, which took things to a whole new level. It is set over three floors and comes with its own private roof top terrace with awesome views of the city. The space has been given the Melbourne makeover, including cool decor and awesome street artwork. You can check out the different room types here.
Given its location, the focus of Mantra City Central has been placed on making the rooms as awesome as possible and less on facilities. My thoughts on this are that you’re probably in Melbourne to explore Melbourne and not spend hours tanning by the pool. This suits me just fine as that’s exactly what I was there to do and the location of the hotel made that all too easy.
That said, the hotel’s facilities include a tour desk, child minding on request (can they also do husband minding?), undercover parking and catering. The front desk staff were all so genuine, kind, helpful and lovely that I felt like I could ask them anything at any time, which is a really nice way to feel at a hotel.
Dining and entertainment
There is a ridiculous amount of things to do in the area, given it is right on Little Bourke Street. Based on our stay, I put together an epic guide of ’51 Things to do in Melbourne’ which lists in great detail all the fun to be had in the local area. Trust me, there’s a lot of it!
A short walk up the street, to the right, is Brother Baba Budan which serves amazing coffee and assorted pastries, perfect for breakfast. Across the road from Brother Baba Budan is my favourite restaurant, +39 Pizzeria, which is the ultimate spot for great wine and delicious food for dinner. You can also walk up to Chinatown really easily and have a great night of BYO wine and all the dumplings you can handle! There are so many great restaurants and cafes right on your doorstep, it can be hard to choose just one to visit at a time.
In terms of entertainment, we had LOADS of fun right on our doorstep. We walked around the city at night taking photographs, jumped off the side of a building at Rap Jumping, took a stroll over to Southbank and up to the Eureka Skydeck to watch the sunset as well as a visit to the cat cafe.
When it comes to choosing the ideal place to base yourself in Melbourne, Mantra City Central really does take the cake. It offers you easy access to all the fun things you’re there to do and makes it easy to duck in and out all day, giving you time to do some sightseeing then come back and chill out before going out again in a few hours.
We had a great stay at Mantra City Central and it’s definitely somewhere I recommend. The rooms are really well thought out and designed and have to be one of the coolest spaces I’ve stayed at. They stick in your mind because they are so different to the ‘usual’ style of hotel room you’re used to seeing. They feel more like your own apartment, you begin to feel like you live in Melbourne and get to experience Melbourne life.
I absolutely love the location and how easy it is to get to the hotel then get around on foot, which means you save money on transport. The kitchenette in the room also means you can save money on food by cooking your own breakfast each morning or making a cheese platter to share on the terrace with a bottle of wine.
I really enjoyed the time we spent there, as did Matt, and think it’s a fantastic place to stay for a weekend getaway to beautiful Melbourne.
Watch our Things to do in Melbourne video!
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.