Best Place to Stay in Melbourne for Boutique Hotel Lovers

ACDC lane with street art

When it comes to the best place to stay in Melbourne there are so many choices! Melbourne is an incredibly vibrant and exciting city. I should know as I was born there and grew up there! It does not have the big glitzy attractions of Sydney.

Instead, Melbourne is more European. It is more about wandering down laneways and exploring neighbourhoods with great food, shopping, art etc. 

Tables and buildings in Desgraves Street <a class=Melbourne” class=”wp-image-16640″/>
Desgraves Street Melbourne

When it comes to the best place to stay in Melbourne, of course, the answer depends on what type of things you like to do and experience. So I’m going to tell you about the five best areas to stay in Melbourne and what they’re like so you can make a judgment call.

Then, if they all sound good to you (they are all pretty good or they wouldn’t make the list :-)) I’m going to tell you the neighborhood I always recommend to friends! 

Table Of Contents


1. Best Place to Stay in Melbourne – St Kilda

St Kilda is an iconic Melbourne inner-city suburb. You will most likely have seen images of the very well known St Kilda beach and St Kilda Pier in magazines or newspapers.

You can swim at St Kilda beach but to be honest it isn’t the nicest. Melbourne has lots of great things but inner-city beaches aren’t one of them! 

Cheese platter at Milk the Cow
Cheese platter at Milk the Cow

Who should stay in St Kilda

St Kilda is a seaside suburb with a tinge of grunge. It has loads of restaurants and bars so it is a great place to stay if you want to experience some Melbourne nightlife. It is also home to one of the best brunch places Melbourne has on offer!

It does have a bit of an edge so if you have small people with you it probably isn’t the best choice.  St Kilda has fantastic tram links into the Melbourne CBD and heading up to South Yarra so it’s easy to get around.

Things to do in St Kilda

The Esplanade

Take a stroll along St Kilda beach which is also home to some amazing sunsets. Don’t forget to walk to the end of the pier to get the view and to get shots back.

You can then head east towards Brighton or west towards the city once you hit the boardwalk.

entrance to station pier port melbourne
Station Pier in Port Melbourne

I love the walk towards the Melbourne CBD – this takes you through Middle Park, Albert Park, and Port Melbourne. Once you hit Port Melbourne you can check out the iconic Station Pier – the point of entry for so many new Australians. You can also hop on a tram here and be in the heart of the city within ten minutes.

The St Kilda Esplanade with palm trees
The St Kilda Esplanade with its famous palm trees

See some Live Entertainment

St Kilda is home to two of Melbourne’s most iconic locations for live entertainment: The Esplanade and The Palais Theatre. The Palais Theatre is a great place to catch live music, opera or comedy.

The Esplanade or The Espy is possibly Melbourne’s most iconic pub. The Palais is a proper theatre. The Espy is a sort of giant pub plus. 

colourful scultpure on South bank melbourne

The Esplanade is home to loads of live music and comedy, It is also a classic pub. They also have a great restaurant – the imaginatively named Espy Kitchen. This is very much a spot beloved by locals so tourists will be few and far between here. 

Luna Park

Another famous Melbourne image is the gaping mouth of the entry to Luna Park. Pop in for some retro shots and perhaps hop on a rollercoaster. From here you are only a short stroll to atmospheric Acland Street.

Tempura Prawns and Edamame at Ichi Ni
Tempura Prawns and Edamame at Ichi Ni

Stroll, drink flat whites and snack along St Kilda’s two most iconic streets

St Kilda’s most well-known streets are Acland Street and Fitzroy Street. Acland Street is filled with cafes, restaurants and cute shops. But it is most famous for its cakes so this is the thing to do – my favourite is the Europa Cake Shop.

If you walk up Acland Street, away from the beach you will hit Fitzroy Street. For a good coffee check out the Banff cafe. If you’re hungry Cafe di Stasio is virtually a Melbourne institution and well known for its excellent Italian food. 

St Kilda Sea Baths

The St Kilda Sea Baths sit on St Kilda beach. It has a seawater pool, gym, bars, cafes, stand up paddleboarding, pop-ups and generally loads going on! 

St Kilda Esplanade Market

If you’re in Melbourne on a Sunday head to the St Kilda Esplanade Market. This market has been running every Sunday since 1970 and opens at 10am.

The market features local arts and crafts galore and a great atmosphere. 

Street art in Melbourne

Where to Eat in St Kilda

One of the best things to do in Melbourne is of course eat! There are so many good food options in St Kilda. So many in fact that I can give you a recommendation based on your cuisine mood!

If it is Mexican you are after head to Newmarket. This is modern Mexican – no sloppy sour cream and heavy on the guac. This is fresh and light and flavoursome. 

For seafood head to Claypots on Fitzroy street for a great value meal. There is another Claypots at the South Melbourne market. This is a more casual set up with a menu that reflects this. But the calamari is to die for!

seafood restaurants melbourne
Claypots St Kilda

For fantastic Asian fusion, head to Ichi Ni on the esplanade. I do love a funky Asian restaurant and Ichi Ni hits the spot. The aubergine with miso paste was especially good.

And you must try the deep-fried prawns with mayonnaise – the Ebi mayo. Like most places in St Kilda, they have a great outdoor area so that you can check out the view weather permitting.

For amazing cheese head to Milk the Cow. Milk the Cow St Kilda is one of my favourite spots. They have amazing cheese platters and match some delicious wines.

For a local classic head to the Dog’s Bar. The Dog’s Bar has been a St Kilda institution since 1989 and is a wine bar and restaurant beloved by locals. 

poached eggs adn bacon on taost with greens at fitzrovia
Breakfast at Fitzrovia St Kilda

The Best Brunch & Coffee in St Kilda

Have breakfast or brunch at Fitzrovia. Or really anything here – they are open for dinner some evenings midweek. The food at Fitzrovia St Kilda is FANTASTIC!

I have tried most of the breakfast/brunch menu and there are no bad choices. However, the classic bacon and eggs are my absolute favourite – with their tomato relish.

The quality of the ingredients at Fitzrovia is out of this world. The staff is fantastically friendly and it has a lovely atmosphere. They also do outstandingly good muffins and more amazing sweet things.

And then there is the coffee at Fitzrovia. Even decaf is brilliant here. I have been to Fitzrovia at least 10 times and it has never disappointed!

The entrance to Fitzrovia on Fitzroy Sreet
The entrance to Fitzrovia on Fitzroy Sreet

St Kilda Boutique Hotels

St Kilda is home to two fantastic boutique hotels – Tolarno’s and the Prince. Tolarno’s has been around for years and has a great location on Fitzroy Street with several tram options right on its doorstep.

It is a modern boutique hotel with an artistic feel – it was once owned by Melbourne artist Mirka Mora. Many of her works are still hung around the hotel – as well as those of up and coming Melbournian artists which give the hotel a great feel. Tolarno’s St Kilda is a funky and unusual setup.

I have stayed in both the standard rooms which are very nice as well as the suites. My favourite room is 332. The rooms at Tolarno’s are comfortable and stylish and the suites have balconies fronting onto Fitzroy Street.

bedroom at tolarno's hotel st kilda melbourne
Comfy bed at Tolarno’s

The beds at Tolarno’s are very comfortable with high-quality sheets and there are good grade toiletries. The suites have a little kitchen and a table.

There is a Woolworths just up the road from Tolanro’s so you can eat in if you desire quite easily. The hotel has its own restaurant called the Tolarno Eating House. 

⇒ Read reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now

corridor of tolarno hotel st kilda
The corridor of the Tolarno Hotel

The Prince has been one of Melbourne’s hippest hotels for many years. It has an original art deco exterior and the interior design is pared-back chic with polished floorboards. Have a meal in the lovely Prince Dining Room. 

⇒ Read reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now


⇒ If you’re visiting Melbourne don’t miss the iconic Great Ocean Road  – and use this brilliant post on a Great Ocean Road 2 Day Itinerary to help you plan your trip


street art in melbourne

2. Melbourne Best Place to stay – Prahran & Windsor

Prahran and Windsor are both slightly edgier (but still very safe) neighborhoods in Melbourne – and only a short drive north of St Kilda. These two neighborhoods have loads of fantastic shopping and great restaurants and cafes. 

Who Should Stay in Prahran and Windsor

Those who are looking to live like a local. These are neighborhoods to wander and experience and don’t have any real tourist attractions. But they are where people in Melbourne live and they are very much where people in Melbourne come to eat out! 

Colourful shop front on Greville street Prahran
Shopping time on Greville Street

Things to do in Prahran and Windsor

Visit Prahran Market

I love a market and Melbourne has quite a few excellent options. Prahran Market is a huge favourite with the locals – my mum was a regular here!

Much of Prahran Market is food that is designed to be taken home and eaten so not so fantastic when you’re staying in a boutique hotel. However, there are loads of little stalls where you can grab some lunch.  Prahran Market also has lots of tours and pop-ups.

They have mobile mini-farms from different parts of the state of Victoria, different styles of food tours, cooking classes, and all sorts. Check out their website and see what’s on while you’re in town. 

⇒ Heading to Sydney? Check out my posts on the best Barangaroo Restaurants, the perfect Sydney Itinerary, a day trip to Watsons Bay Sydney and the best weekend getaways from Sydney.

prahran market
Prahran Market entrance on Commercial Road

Explore Greville Street

Greville Street is a very cute pedestrianized street tucked away in Prahran and another local favourite. It has a nice range of unique local shops ranging from locally grown favourite Aesop emitting great smells to prints from local artists at Signed and Numbered to vinyl at Greville Records and much more.

Exterior of Aesop store in Greville street
Melbourne born favourite Aesop

One of my favourite things on Greville street is how much they have turned a street into a Melbourne experience. The pedestrianised street has been painted blue and pink. And there is outdoor seating along the whole street.

The majority of the street is filled with super cute “spools” – I think that is what you call them! They are chairs and tables that look like they should have spun threads on them.

pink and blue road in greville street prahran
Road art!

Where to Eat in Prahran and Windsor 

On the food front in Greville Street check out  Chez Olivier for fantastic French food. Hutong Dumplings at The Cullen Hotel (listed below) is also excellent. 

front window of Chez Olivier restaurant
Chez Olivier

Little Windsor is home to some of the best Asian fusion restaurants in Melbourne. It can be a little gritty during the day but this area really comes to life at night. Hawker Hall is well known for its outstanding Malaysian.

Tokyo Tina and Mr Miyagi both offer their own uniques taste on a modern twist on Japanese.

For something different enjoy some fantastic Russian flavours at the wonderfully named Borsch, Vodka and Tears. 

⇒If you’re heading to Queensland check out my posts on the best Brisbane Boutique Hotels and my Gold Coast Itinerary.

Coffee machine at St Edmond's Prahran
Coffee machine at St Edmond’s

Please note that there are LOADS of other great restaurants in Prahran and Windsor – as holds true with every area in this post. But I can’t list them all! So I am letting you know the best ones that I have either personally eaten at or have been highly recommended to me by friends in Melbourne. 

Personally, I don’t find it that helpful when I get a list of 15 restaurants in an area. I prefer it when that choice has been curated down to 3 or 4 options so that’s what I am offering in this post. I hope that’s okay! 

exterior of Greville Records store in Prahran Melbourne
back to vinyl at Greville Records

Coffee in Prahran and Windsor

My favourite place in Prahran for coffee is on St Edmonds street – a café actually called St Edmond’s. They do fabulous sandwiches/toasties and a mean salad. All with a very cute outdoor seating area.

In Windsor head to Melbourne classic The Yellow Bird Cafe or the Journeyman.

Colourful spool seats and tables on Greville Street
Colourful spool seats and tables on Greville Street

Boutique Hotels in Prahran and Windsor

The Cullen is named after Australian artist Adam Cullen and is part of the fantastic Australian boutique hotel brand the Art Series. Even if you’re not staying here I am a big fan of the HuTong Dumpling bar at the hotel!

The rooms have some fantastic views of Melbourne and have loads of glass and modern design. 

⇒ Read reviews on TripAdvisor Book Now

Room and outdoor terrace at the cullen hotel
PC: Cullen Hotel

3. Melbourne where to stay – Carlton & Fitzroy

Fitzroy is one of Melbourne’s most eclectic and interesting suburbs and it sits next to Carlton, definitely one of Melbourne’s loveliest inner-city suburbs.

russian doll statues in fitzroy melbourne
Russian Dolls

Who should stay in Fitzroy and Carlton

Fitzroy and Carlton are the slightly glitzier, still gritty but not as much cousins of Prahran and Windsor. This is for those who are looking for quirk and atmosphere but in a slightly more luxurious way! 

Brunswick Street view
Brunswick Street

Things to do in Fitzroy and Carlton

Hit the Streets

These two suburbs have some of the best streets for wandering in Melbourne. Start out with great little Gertrude Street which runs between Smith Street and Brunswick Street.

It has loads of cute and unique shops and cafes. I particularly liked Made in Melbourne as all the clothes and jewelry is of course made in Melbourne and quite stylish. 

Made in Melbourne shop front
Melbourne shopping

There are also funky furniture shops and even a milliner! Although this Milliner seems to sell caps for blokes rather than race day headgear. It is quite hard to choose where to eat along here as there are so many good options.

There are five super cute busy cafes sitting almost next to each other. I went to Arcadia. I enjoyed a sandwich featuring roast chicken stuffed with lemon and thyme on dark rye and a healthy green smoothie. 

⇒ Australia is a great jumping-off point to visit beautiful tropical Samoa! Check out my post on the 9 Best Resorts in Samoa.

sandwich on brown bread with lettuce at arcadia gertrude street
Lunch at Arcadia

Dessert can be at The Donut Shop which is 130 Gertrude Street. They have taken the art of a filled donut to a whole new level. Take a right once you hit Brunswick Street.

On the corner is the famous Melbourne pub/restaurant the Provincial which has gotten away with its dilapidated exterior for years There are quite a few outlet stores along this stroll. My favourite is Melbourne brand Life with Bird which is at 264 Brunswick Street.

Fantastic local designers are one of the best Melbourne hidden gems!


⇒If you’re heading to Perth don’t miss my posts on the Perfect Perth Itinerary for Boutique Hotel Lovers and my complete guide to Perth’s Rottnest Island Day Trip.


donuts with pink and chocolate icing
Delicious donuts

Rose Street Artist’s Market

If you’re in Fitzroy on a Saturday or a Sunday between 10 am and 4 pm do visit Rose Street Artist’s Market. The work of up to 120 local artists will be on display – from furniture to fashion to jewelry – and it’s all handmade! 

flower shop on brunswick street fitzroy
The famous Vasette florist on Brunswick Street

Lygon Street

Lygon Street is one of the most well-known streets in Melbourne and has traditionally been the home of the Italian community in Melbourne. The reason that people from Melbourne are such coffee snobs is that the southern Italians who migrated to Australia after World War 2 all brought their espresso machines.

Melbournians have been drinking good coffee for a very long time! 

Lygon Street is still a fantastic street for shopping and of course food. And it is perfect for strolling. Don’t miss the amazing, massive Brunetti’s store and do make sure you plan your caffeine intake for a coffee in here!

And if you’re looking for something different in the evening the Nova cinema is another Melbourne landmark and a lovely place to see a film. 

exterior of babka bakery on brunswick street fitzroy
Babka Bakery

Carlton Gardens

The Carlton Gardens are a World Heritage Listed site situated between Carlton and the Melbourne CBD. They are home to an IMAX cinema, the Melbourne Museum and the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. There are also miniature lakes, formal flower beds, a fountain and lots of paths to walk.

print work of melbourne trams against colourful backgrounds
Melbourne trams

Where to Eat in Carlton and Fitzroy

Outside of Melbourne’s CBD, this is the most amazing restaurant rich area in Melbourne. I am going to try to cut this down to a manageable list of recommendations but honestly when you’re walking along Brunswick Street and Lygon Street see what grabs you – and there is always somewhere new! 

Exterior of Carlton Wine Rooms
Carlton Wine Rooms

For a mix of Hawker Bar and Asian fusion check out Rice Paper Scissors. Kazuki is Asian fusion with a European edge. For casual modern Italian and great pizza head to Capitano.

For a more special meal head to the lovely Carlton Wine Room. In addition to an amazing wine list with lots of unusual wines, the food is outstanding! The duck and pork croquettes are outstanding as is their nearly famous Stracciatella and mushrooms with potato focaccia.

For a fantastic classic Melbourne pub – that I used to go to regularly! – with a new look dining room check out the wonderful Standard Hotel. For a posher gastropub option check out the Fitzroy Town Hall Hotel. 

oysters on a plate with a light sauce
Oysters at Carlton Wine Room

Where to get coffee in Carlton and Fitzroy

Pop into Babka for some bread to take home. Babka is another institution – I used to come here for breakfast when I was at University so it’s been around for a while!

Alimentari is also on Brunswick Street and does an amazing brunch as well as a great flat white. In Carlton, DOC Espresso is a classic on Lygon Street and Seven Seeds is widely acclaimed.

Fitzroy and Carlton Boutique Hotels

Zagame’s House is a super stylish home away from home run by a local Melbourne couple. They offer five different types of rooms all beautifully designed and heavy on comfort. Enjoy a flat white at the 1851 Coffee + Kitchen or hit up the Lord Lygon Wine Bar for wine and cheese.

⇒ Read reviews on TripAdvisor Book Now

Zagame House Hotel room in melbourne
PC: Zagame House Hotel

4. Places to stay in Melbourne Australia – South Melbourne

South Melbourne is one of Melbourne’s oldest suburbs and it features wide leafy streets and a relaxed pace. It is home to many heritage Victoria style buildings and lots of fantastic little restaurants and bars – and best of all the amazing South Melbourne market! Clarendon Street is its centre. 



Who should stay in South Melbourne

South Melbourne is the lowest key option on this list of the best places to stay in Melbourne. It is an easy-going, quiet neighborhood next to the CBD. If you’re looking for a relaxed, take your time, live like a local (this is a highly sought after area by locals) experience in Melbourne South Melbourne is for you! 

Things to do in South Melbourne

South Melbourne Market

South Melbourne Market is one of my favourite places in Melbourne! I used to live in the next suburb, Port Melbourne, and I would visit South Melbourne market every Saturday for fruit, vegetables, and meat. It was always home to outstanding food.

Exterior of south melbourne market
South Melbourne Market

Today, it is a thriving mini-city almost with loads of shops of every type, some fantastic restaurants, and a wonderful bustling atmosphere. I love Claypots for a meal at South Melbourne Market and the market has been famous for its dim sims for many years (bring breath mints)! 

South melbourne market dim sims stall
The famous South Melbourne market Dim Sims

Albert Park Lake

The suburb next to South Melbourne is lovely Albert Park. Albert Park does have a beach but Melburnians are much more fond of its beautiful lake. Albert Park Lake is a very popular spot for runners, cyclists, and walkers.

The Point is a fantastic restaurant with some great views that sits on the lake. Albert Park Lake is also where the Grand Prix is held in Melbourne each year. And nearby Coventry Street is super cute with loads of cafes and cute stores. 

Where to Eat in South Melbourne

South Melbourne market on its own contains loads of fantastic places to eat. The Kettle Black is a very popular local cafe. For a quick meal, I love Misschu for its Vietnamese fusion menu. For something more formal check out the inventive Lume. 

Coffee in South Melbourne

South Melbourne is home to my number one favourite coffee bar in Melbourne – and where I go every time I visit and buy beans to bring back to London. The fantastic St Ali makes amazing coffee and supplies many of the best restaurants in town. And it is a super cool cafe. 

Inside St Ali South Melbourne
The coffee machine at St Ali South Melbourne

South Melbourne Boutique Hotels

Coppersmith Hotel is a gorgeous boutique hotel that is on busy Clarendon street. It has a tram stop literally out the front which is super convenient. The rooms at the Coppersmith Hotel are a minimalist Scandinavian style design with some warm touches. Coppersmiths also has a great pub and restaurant. 

⇒ Read reviews on TripAdvisor Book Now

Bedroom at the coppersmith hotel
PC: Coppersmith Hotel

5. Melbourne Areas to Stay in – the Central Business District (CBD)

The centre of Melbourne is referred to as the CBD or the Central Business District. This is the bustling, buzzing centre of London, home to its businesses but also its lovely laneways, endless great restaurants and cafes and some great shopping. 

Myer melbourne in the Bourke Street Mall
Bourke Street Mall

Who should stay in the Melbourne CBD

At the beginning of this post, I wrote that if you couldn’t decide which of the Melbourne neighborhoods to stay in based on the above I would tell you where I recommend to friends who ask me where to stay in Melbourne Australia?

Well, I always recommend the best area to stay Melbourne has on offer is the CBD.

This is the heart of Melbourne and has a great atmosphere – a bit like staying in the heart of an Italian city.  So if you like staying at the heart of a city and being able to walk to amazing restaurants, tourist sites and great shopping then the CBD is the area for you! And it is particularly good if you are figuring out where to stay your first time in Melbourne.  

⇒ If you’re in Melbourne and looking for a weekend away check out my post on Things to do Mornington Peninsula or Daylesford Spa Weekend.

The Atrium at Federation Square
The Atrium at Federation Square

Things to do in the Melbourne CBD

Explore the Laneways

Melbourne’s laneways and South Melbourne market are my two favourite things to do in Melbourne. Melbourne is famous for its street art, the home of which is in the CBD area in a series of laneways.

These laneways are Hosier Lane, Centre Place, AC/DC Lane, Caledonian Lane, Croft Alley, Duckboard Place, and Rankins Lane.

There is street art all over Melbourne but these are some of the key ones if you’re looking for Melbourne Street Art. 

tables with yellow chairs in melbourne laneway
One of Melbourne’s many laneways

But the laneways of Melbourne offer more than just street art. They are also home to some fantastic restaurants, bars, cafes and shopping. Degraves Street is one of my favourite. This is a tiny pedestrianized street that is packed with tables and cafes. 

Federation Square

Federation Square is a plaza of sorts across the road from Flinders Street Station. It is quite well known for its unique and stunning modern architecture.

It is also home to large public spaces where there are many events, pop-ups and general relaxing. Federation Square has some excellent restaurants, quirky shops, design studios, art galleries and really just a lot of cool and interesting stuff to explore! 

Exterior of Federation Square
Federation Square

Flinders Street Station

If Melbourne had an exact centre in the hearts of its residents it would be Flinders Street Station. This station serves metropolitan Melbourne – if you want to take a train outside of Melbourne you’ll need to head down the road to Spencer Street.

But it is its unique architecture and particularly its famous clocks that make it the centre of Melbourne.

Meeting under the clocks at Flinders Street has been a Melbourne institution since this picturesque building was constructed. Taking a photo under the clocks at Flinders Street is a must when in Melbourne! 

exterior of Flinders Street Station
Flinders Street Station

Queen Victoria Market

You may have noticed that I love markets! Queen Victoria Market is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere and has been operating since 1878 (that’s a really, really long time in Australia!).

The market has always been known for outstanding produce and for its hot jam donuts when I was a kid – and I am delighted to say that there are still hot jam donut vans at Queen Vic Market and they taste just as good! 

upclose of 3 jam donuts
Jam donuts at the Queen Victoria Market

Queen Victoria Market is much bigger than the South Melbourne market and if you’re looking for clothes and broader goods this is the place to come. As this is Melbourne, of course, the food is also excellent!

The market runs food and education tours regularly. Best of all in Melbourne summer it runs a night market which is full of fantastic things to eat and live entertainment.

Have afternoon tea in the Block Arcade

The Block Arcade is a beautiful art deco style arcade in the centre of Melbourne. It is home to some lovely shops – Haigh’s chocolates are a local favourite – and the gorgeous, Instagram friendly Hopetoun tea rooms.

I used to come to the Hopetoun tea rooms with my mum when I was a little girl. It is a Melbourne classic and still very popular – due to its amazing cakes! 

interior of the block arcade melbourne
The Block Arcade

Go Shopping

Melbourne is renowned for having the best shopping in Australia. Head to Little Collins Street, particularly the area between Swanston and Elizabeth streets, and investigate local brands like Scanlon and Theodore and wonderful Aesop.

Myer and David Jones are Australia’s two primary department stores and they stock lots of local brands. 

Inside the emporium shopping centre
The Emporium

Mecca is the Space NK of Australia and it stocks the top local beauty brands like Dr Roebucks and Frank as well as its own excellent brand.

If you’re keen to explore Australian clothing designers head to the second floor of the fantastic and glamourous Emporium Melbourne shopping centre. This floor stocks just Australia designers such as Zimmerman, Saba, Alannah Hill, Camilla and Marc and many more. 

Restaurants in the Melbourne CBD

I am not sure that if there is anywhere in the world that has as many outstanding restaurants in one area as the Melbourne CBD – and best of all they are generally excellent value!

My favourite website for keeping up to date with all things food and coffee in Australia is Broadsheet so check out their extensive selection of great restaurants in the Melbourne CBD. But here are a few to kick you off.

Sashimi tuna salad at coda
Tuna Sashimi salad at Coda

For fantastic modern Japanese head to Coda and try out their outstanding Moreton bay bugs (better than lobster) done in tempura, their amazing yellowfin tuna, and their famous crispy tapioca and prawn betel leaf.

A big contender for the best Asian fusion in town is the amazing Chin Chin

Interior of coda restaurant
Coda

Supernormal is modern Australian dining at its best. For classic Melbourne Italian dining don’t miss local icon Il Solito Posto. For groovy Thai food head to Magic Mountain Saloon. And for fantastic Mexican check out Mamasita.

Exterior of Chin Chin restaurant
Chin Chin

Where can I get a great coffee?

There are SO many places to get great coffee in the Melbourne CBD. Indeed, it would be hard to stay in business as a cafe in the Melbourne CBD if you didn’t have great coffee. Look out for those cafes that use Milk Lab, this UHT milk is the milk of choice for Melbourne’s top barristers.

drip coffee machine in coffe shop
Axil Roasters

But I will, of course, give you a couple of recommendations! First up is the fantastic Axil Coffee roasters.

Second is a more local and special place – because a very old friend of mine runs it! Mario and I used to be waiters at the same restaurant when we were at University. He has always been a huge foodie and a man that knows his coffee.

He has a fantastic little cafe called Sbriga in the CBD that also does great food and a fab Aperol spritz after 5 pm! When you go to Sbriga, tell Mario The Boutique Adventurer sent him and that I said hi! 

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Ready to Book? Here are my travel favourites:

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⇒ For flights skyscanner.net – always have the cheapest prices and great tools to help easily figure out if it would be better to leave the day before etc

⇒ For car hire rentalcars.com – huge range of options and a price match guarantee

⇒ Every trip is improved if you know at least a little bit of the local language – Rosetta Stone is the best and often have great getting started deals.

Skip the Line tours – Viator have over 14,000 of these – I am always so happy when I have pre-booked one of these! And you can cancel most Viator tours with full money back if you’re more than 24 hours out

⇒ And finally and super important – Roam Right for Travel Insurance have an excellent rating and lots of choice. I particularly like their policies that just cover medical or car rental. They also have great options for adventurous travellers.

entrance to Brunettis little collins street
Brunetti’s

Places to Stay in the Melbourne CBD 

The Adelphi was Melbourne’s first boutique hotel before boutique hotels were even a thing! I remember coming to the bar here in the mid-1990s and being blown away by the first infinity pool I had ever seen!

The Adelphi has kept up with the times and it still an exceptionally stylish place to sleep. The rooftop pool is still there and they have a great restaurant called Om Nom. When it comes to the best place to stay in Melbourne Australia the Adelphia is a contender for the title! 

⇒ Read reviews on TripAdvisor Book Now

Exterior of the Adelphi Hotel
The Adelphi Hotel

If you want to stay right in the heart of the centre of Melbourne you can’t do better than QT Melbourne. QT has a few boutique hotels in Australia and they are known for great style and fantastic bars and restaurants.

They are so good that the locals go! The design aesthetic is minimally funky with lots of concrete and street art. Best of all is the cool rooftop bar! 

⇒ Read reviews on TripAdvisor Book Now

bedroom in the QT Hotel melbourne
PC: QT Melbourne

Ovolo Laneways are sleek, modern and inspired by Melbourne’s famous laneways and their street art. The premium rooms come with everything from punching bags to outdoor jacuzzis with a view.

There is no restaurant at Ovolo Laneways but you are located in the heart of one of the world’s greatest food cities so sometimes it can be nice to be forced to try out Melbourne’s famous brunch scene! 

⇒ Read reviews on TripAdvisor Book Now

Bedroom in Ovolo Landeways hotel
PC: Ovolo Laneways Hotel

For a very different style of sleep checkout the Notel. The Notel is six luxury airstream trailers that sit on top of a carpark on Flinders Lane. Every mod con you can imagine is available the design is very chic and modern. 

⇒ Read reviews on TripAdvisor Book Now

Trailer at Notel Melbourne
PC: Notel Melbourne

Getting to Melbourne and Getting Around

Flights to Melbourne

Once in Melbourne, the best way to get around is to hire a car. Melbourne has trains, trams and buses. The city centre or CBD has a free tram travel area. For payment, you will need to get a Myki card.

Myki has an Explorer Pack designed for tourists.

To travel a little farther afield to local hotpsots like things to do Mornington Peninsula or Daylesford Spa Weekend the best option is to hire a car.

⇒ If there was ever a time to fly business class it is when you fly to Australia! Check out my reviews on these airlines which fly to Australia: Qatar Airway Business Class Review, Air France a380 Business Class Review, Thai Airways Business Class Review and Malaysia Airlines Business Class Review.

Melbourne Tram
Classic Melbourne Tram

Who Paid for what in this Post on Where to stay in Melbourne? 

As I was born in Melbourne, lived there for 27 years and return regularly there weren’t any extra costs in putting together this post on places to stay Melbourne has on offer!

However, this post does contain affiliate links. That means if you click through on them and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. Just wanted to make sure that you knew. 

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Looking for the Best Place to Stay in Melbourne? Love restaurants, boutique hotels and areas with character? I was born & raised in Melbourne so know it well! #melbourne #melbournehotels #melbourneboutiquehotels
melbourne street art and melbourne tram
Melbourne Street Art - Fitzroy is one of Melbourne’s most eclectic and interesting suburbs and it sits next to Carlton, definitely one of Melbourne’s loveliest inner-city suburbs. Both are great places to stay when you go to Melbourne. #melbournethingstodoin#melbournefitzroy
Tall drip coffee machine in a cafe
4 images of melbourne - tram, flinders street station, statue and street art
Front of Melbourne tram

28 thoughts on “Best Place to Stay in Melbourne for Boutique Hotel Lovers

  1. Tom says:

    The “Milk the Cow” place would do it for me. Perhaps it was just the excellent photo, but that looks great. You covered a good variety of eating/drinking in this article.

  2. Indrani says:

    That is 24 hours well spent in St. Kilda. The stay option seems comfortable and practical. I have a special love for cheese, I will look out for this variety there.

  3. Fiona Mai says:

    St. Kilda seems like a quiet sunny little town which everyone will be fond of once they’ve been there. I like your Milk the Cow cheese platter – looks so good! Too bad I did not have much chance to explore Melbourne’s surrounding areas last time I was in Australia. Will note this for next time then.

  4. travelwithtarah says:

    Any place that has good coffee is somewhere I want to visit! I also would love to try the cake on Acland Street. Coffee and cake are two of my favorite things so I think this would be a perfect place for me!

  5. Suruchi says:

    The place seems to be comfortable and cozy. Milk the cow will be a great place for the Cheese lovers. you seem to had a gala time.

  6. GIORGOS SPYRIDAKOS says:

    Ah that is a perfect 24 hour programme wisely made for people like me that need a “compass” when I find myself in a new place! I like the hotel photos, especially the corridor reminds me of the Ibis hotels 🙂

  7. Simon Thomas says:

    It looks like you had a great time in St Kilda with its bars and restaurants. Did you get to see the Fairy Penguins coming ashore at the top of the pier in the evening?

  8. Megan Jerrard says:

    Very good way to describe Melbourne as being European, we’re over the pond in Tassie and really love taking weekend trips up  I actually prefer the laid back, chilled vibe of Melbourne more than the glitz and glamour of Sydney. St Kilda is definitely authentic Melbourne – we haven’t stayd at Tolarno’s yet so will have to stay on our next trip. Thanks for the tip! I definitely also have to hit up the Donut Shop in Fitzroy – omg yum!

  9. Priya Vin says:

    Love all the quirky art and functional and unique seats on Greville street. Looks like you are spoilt for choices here at St.Kilda. Bookmarking this for when we plan a trip to Melbourne.

  10. Holly says:

    Never heard of this place, but it looks nice. I like the hotel and it is very cool that they still hang the artists work in there. Did the cafe had speciality salads?

  11. Kerrod says:

    St Kilda is amazing and has some of the best coffee that I’ve had ever!! Thanks for the article.

  12. Marie Phillips says:

    I would love to stay in any one of those places. I have always wanted to go to both Melbourne and Sydney. Maybe someday!

  13. Chad says:

    omg these places!!! I would love to go to Melbourne one day, i even have friends there. Soon I hope.

  14. Shruti says:

    These places seem amazing. Will add it to my list in case I visit Melbourne. Thanks

  15. aisasami says:

    I have never been to Melbourne but I always wanted to visit Australia. Thanks for some great recommendation, I might have to book my future stay at one of these places!

  16. Odette says:

    Ah I’ve been wanting to visit Melbourne for ages, really hope to visit it some day soon! Will definitely have to save this guide, those are some amazing recommendations!

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