InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto

Prologue

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When it was completed in 1891 by celebrated architect William Pitt, the Rialto Building was a testament of Melbourne’s status as the richest city in the world. More than 100 years on, the neo-Gothic heritage building and the adjoining Winfield Building continue to wow visitors and guests as the InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto. We check-in on a recent trip down under.

 

Location / Accessibility

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Located on Collins Street, the hotel is a short stroll from Southern Cross Station (the city terminus for the SkyBus service and trains beyond Melbourne) and many of the city’s business and leisure addresses including the Block Arcade, Flinders Street Station and Federation Square. Getting around is convenient with Melbourne’s tram network at the doorstep, while the Yarra River waterfront is situated 5 minutes behind the hotel.

 

Arrival Experience

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We arrived by foot on a Sunday morning to a quiet lobby manned by a single guest service agent. The simple space was a contrast to the elaborate facade, but we found it to be adequate for the size of the hotel, with none of the long queues or waiting found at most business hotels.

 

The registration process was seamless but we were unable to check-in due to the early arrival. The friendly agent was apologetic about it and handled the situation professionally, offering suggestions on places to go while waiting and promising to call when the rooms were ready. She also arranged for our bags to be stored (and subsequently sent to the rooms), giving us the freedom to explore the neighbourhood.

 

Guestrooms

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We had requested for a room with double beds prior to arrival, which was duly assigned. Situated on the 4th floor of the Winfield wing, the large size of the room was impressive and the decor was the familiar InterContinental style with neutral colour tones and clean, business-centric furnishings.

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We especially like the large windows that let in light flowing through the glass roof of the atrium, although it could be better if they could be opened out to the small patio overlooking what was once a Melbourne lane way leading to the docks by the Yarra River. Having endured little sleep the previous night, the large and firm bed was a godsend. We did feel that the pillows were rather soft for our liking, but the redeeming factor was the duvet that kept temperatures very comfortable, while a lazy lounger ideal for light reading complemented the bed.

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Like the living and sleeping areas of the room, the bathroom had plenty of space and was equipped with a walk-in rainforest shower. While ceramic tiles were used instead of marble (which we felt would have been fitting given the heritage of the property), the bathroom was not short of all the material comforts from a 5-star hotel and perfectly functional with good quality products and amenities.

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Entertainment and connectivity options consisted of a selection of cable television channels and pay-per-view movies, while personal content may also be viewed from the 32-inch flatscreen television by utilizing the connectivity panel built into the workdesk. While there was a Bose sound system in the room, the connection was via a line-in cable rather than dock connector, which we felt was rather underwhelming given that most hotels now offer iPod docking stations. On a plus side, wireless internet was complimentary to all IHG Rewards Club members and the speed was good for emails and video streaming.

 

Dining

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In a city known for its gastronomy, the InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto does not disappoint with its food & beverage offerings. The Bluestone Wine Bar and Alluvial Restaurant sit atop the original blue cobblestones, with the bustle of goods-laden carts and carriages replaced by a lavish breakfast spread and the smell of aromatic coffee.

 

Guests have the choice of ordering a la carte or the buffet spread featuring organic honey and herbs grown in the hotel’s own beehives and rooftop garden. We opted for the former and enjoyed a hearty meal of fried eggs, ham and hash on toast. Food quality and quantity were both good, although the speed of service could be improved.

 

A Melbourne institution, Market Lane Bar, hosts the unique “High Coffee” ritual pairing coffee with sweet and savoury dishes and snacks.

 

Facilities

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As with all InterContinental hotels around the world, the property has a Club InterContinental housed within the Rialto Wing and meeting planners have 13 function spaces (uniquely named to reflect the heritage of the buildings) to choose from. Modern recreational offerings include a rooftop swimming pool and the adjacent gym, as well as the East Day Spa.

 

Service / Staff

We found the hotel’s staff to be friendly, courteous and professional. From the guest service agents at Reception to the servers at Alluvial Restaurant, they were highly focused on the guest experience and made sure to check that our stay was going well. Special mention goes to the Concierge team who went beyond their duties to perform several requests for us (some with very little lead time).

 

Verdict

A true gem in the city, InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto offers a great combination of history, art and Aussie charm. The hard product is solid for business and leisure travellers, available at a steal when compared to other Melbourne hotels in its category.

 

InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto

495 Collins Street

Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia

+61 3 8627 1400

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