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“Excellent Romantic Moments” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hilton Melbourne South Wharf

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Hilton Melbourne South Wharf
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   2 Convention Centre Place | South Wharf, Melbourne, Victoria 3006, Australia   |  
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Ranked #15 of 171 Hotels in Melbourne
Melbourne
1 review
“Excellent Romantic Moments”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2010

The Hilton Melbourne South Wharf was the location for a very romantic wedding anniversary weekend. The tastefully decorated and spacious room, elegant bathroom and general quiet of the hotel together with the spectacular view of the city made for an ideal location for our special occasion. We left the blind open all night to soak up the beauty of the city view. Dinner at Nuevo 37, where our taste buds were intrigued by the amazing degustation menu with accompanying wines, was truly a memorable event.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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sydney
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2010

We recently did a mattress hop around Melbourne staying in numerous 5 star hotels including the Park Hyatt, Crown Towers, Intercontinental and Hilton South Wharf.
The HSW is a nice new hotel located about a 5 minute walk from the Casino and Southgate and about a 20 minute walk to Swanston St or Flinders Street Station and directly opposite the convention centre. We stayed here for a total of 5 nights.

THE GOOD:
The hotel still feels very new being only 8 or so months old. Being new it doesn’t have as many signs of wear and tear as some of its competitors and subsequently the staff have an easier time ensuring the place is kept clean and all appliances are in working order. The overall feel of the hotel is a Madrid meets Melbourne modern style with a trendy atmosphere partly assisted by the very nice bar and restaurant areas and extensive wood panelling, maroon carpet and dim lighting used throughout absolutely every corner of the hotel.
In addition, the buffet breakfast on offer at the restaurant is one of the better ones with an extensive selection of both hot and continental items including a made to order egg station where the chef whipped up anything from French toast to waffles and even a juice station with a fresh selection of fruit and vegetables available for squeezing. The tapas bar offers an amazing selection of cured meats and cheese with its charcuterie tower and is just a very nice place to grab some drinks either in the evening or during lunch.
The hotel is located in an extremely quiet location yet most attractions are accessible either by foot or by tram with the tram stop located between the convention centre and the casino. There is also a new DFO factory outlet centre open next door which would be a good place to spend a few hours on a rainy day if that’s your thing.
The staff at the HSW are generally pleasant and the rates at the hotel are probably the lowest of any other hotel within its star category. Over new years eve we paid $220 for a standard room including buffet breakfast which was a steal compared to any other hotel we found. We booked this only 3-4 weeks ahead of the big day, we then decided to extend our stay a week before we left and ended up paying only $185 per night including breakfast.
Very comfortable beds.
THE BAD:
While the hotel is located on a quiet stretch of the Yarra River and only 5 minutes by foot to the casino or tram stop it is still a fair walk into the CBD. Although not far or incredibly inconveniently located to all of Melbourne’s attractions, the only reason one would chose the HSW location wise would be if requiring accommodation because of a conference/exhibition at the adjacent exhibition centre.
The HSW has definitely gone for modern/casual over sophistication and opulence and this is reflected in everything from the fixtures in the rooms to the single basins in the bathroom. While the Interior of the rooms has character, the colour scheme is somewhat drab and dreary. The Crown and Hyatt are truly in a league of their own in this regard as well as having larger basic rooms at 48 and 45sqm respectively compared to 38sqm at the HSW. The extra space is definitely better utilised at these other hotels with overall larger rooms and bathrooms as well as change room areas. The bathtub at the HSW was also the most narrow and shallowest bathtub I have ever seen.
The television whilst a flat screen LG was perhaps the most unresponsive television I have ever come across in a hotel. It is literally impossible to flick through channels as you would at home and although we don’t watch much TV you just don’t want to find burnt out light bulbs, missing batteries and unresponsive television sets in a 5 star hotel. We did notify reception of this only to be told that it is just the way the sets are programmed. Facility wise the hotel has a well equipped gym and sauna area but surprisingly does not have a pool which seriously questions its 5 star rating.
As mentioned earlier the rooms and the entire hotel is perhaps the most dimly lit hotel I have ever stayed in, it is really difficult getting any work done once the sun sets and you rely on artificial lighting.
Although we found most staff to be friendly enough, we found certain staff members to be totally incompetent with handling issues that arose during our stay. The issues we experienced were fairly minor but it’s how the hotel deals with them that can make or break a stay and justify wether the expense of staying in a five star hotel is worthwhile. Service wise we found it wasn’t at the HSW.
The first day that we arrived was a hot day with the mercury peaking at 38 degrees celsius. We walked into our room and found the window blinds half open, we thought the natural light pleasant. I really despise how most hotels make it a priority to ensure that all curtains and blinds are shut when a guest first enters a room and find it always creates a dark and unpleasant first impression for me anyway. As the day progressed the room warmed up significantly even though the air-conditioning was turned to the max. By midafternoon it was quite bad so we called the team at MAGIC who sent a mechanic to see if all was in order who in turn determined that it probably had something to do with the fact that the hotel was running at close to full capacity and because the blinds were left half open for most of the day. Without much fuss they offered to move us to another room although assured us that the situation would be much the same as it was housekeeping policy to leave the blinds half open when they finished cleaning the rooms. Why not provide housekeeping with a weather forecast allowing them to determine whether the blinds should be left open or not on any given day? As we had already unpacked we didn’t think it was worthwhile to change rooms, so they offered to send us some cold water and an ice bucket which we thought was a very nice gesture and an appropriate solution. The hotel rooms really don’t seem to be able to cope with the Melbourne weather elements all too well. Summer temperatures in Melbourne do surpass 38 degrees and the current air con system really does not operate to a satisfactory standard. Now where my main concern came was that 3 hours had passed and no one had brought up the water or the ice bucket so we called MAGIC again only to be told by whoever picked up the phone that their department had not been notified of this and that someone would send up the water immediately. It arrived half an hour later. They apologised, we understood that mistakes happen and that the hotel was at close to capacity although not quite at capacity on this particular night.
The next day we ordered room service which arrived promptly but I found we had been overcharged on the bill. We had this resolved with the room service attendant who apologised for the mistake. Upon checkout we found that the bill was in fact not amended and still reflected the inaccurate amount. Upon pointing this out it was finally rectified. On another occasion we had brought in some takeaway for dinner and as we walked into the building we asked if someone could send up some cutlery and dishes to our room. We waited for an hour before I had to call someone at MAGIC to tell them that we had been waiting for an hour, again they were apologetic and said they would send someone up immediately which they did. Service issues were also apparent on a few occasions at breakfast with my coffee order being totally forgotten on one morning and taking over 45 minutes on another.
What we were very disappointed with was that there was no New Year greeting by any staff member we encountered throughout our stay. This was also the case with Christmas although we put that down to political correctness rather than anything else. We went out on new year’s eve to see the fireworks and returned a little later, as it was raining we had taken umbrellas from the concierge and upon returning them there was no new year greeting nor was there any greeting from the arrogant doorman who bluntly demanded we show him our room key card before entering the building (I noticed a reviewer below also commented on this). Whilst I’m all for adequate and present security this is still hospitality and arrogance doesn’t improve the standard of security does it? In addition there was no note left in the room for new years, nor a notice in the lobby/elevator or any public area spreading some holiday cheer. Service has never been a major concern of mine as im incredibly easy going and prefer being addressed as mate rather than sir, but the HSW really needs to get their game together service wise. Staff seemed particularly depressed on the holidays and whilst I understand that working on new year’s eve isn’t really something to be overly joyous about this really shouldn’t be reflected in the quality of service being offered. They are afterall being paid good money in penalty rates while we are there and actually spending money. In addition housekeeping did a very poor job on one occasion and needed to be called up for a second visit. Most annoyingly however there is a $5 room service charge for anything you order other than breakfast which does not exist at the Hyatt or the Crown Towers and whilst the others may work this charge into their menu pricing we still found the overall pricing better at these other hotels mentioned.
In general although staff were pleasant enough they went nowhere near out of their way to be overly friendly or even professional. They were very rough around the edges and we rarely encountered basic service essentials or on that point basic manners such as pleases, thankyous and if one did say thank you to them it was quite apparent that all staff seemed to lack the ability to say you’re welcome. Like I said I have never really thought of service as an aspect that would make or break a hotel. As long as staff were friendly and efficient I found that adequate but after several service mishaps over 5 days I have realised that friendly, competent and just generally respectful service is vital and separates the true legacy hotels from those who are just trying to be something that they’re not.
NOTES:
The hotel seems far more suited to the MICE or convention market than to general leisure/business travellers and this is reflected in everything from facilities available to the lack of opulence in the rooms and public areas.
Now I realise that my review on the whole sounds rather negative, it is just apparent that the hotel is resting on its laurels, trading on the Hilton name and disguising its pitfalls through its new and fresh hard product appearance. Due to lack of some facilities, rooms and in particular service wise the hotel is a seriously lagging 5 star hotel but far more suited to being an adequate 4 star city hotel. It is not a bad hotel but it’s also not the luxurious, service orientated haven of a hotel it claims to be.
Generally speaking about Hiltons MAGIC service, I find it on the whole to be flawed. No one’s department ever seems to be notified of anything another department does or says it will do. Room service also becomes a bit of a case of Chinese whispers with the final delivery at times not reflecting what you order. Whether you speak to the relevant department directly is a gamble with MAGIC as it just seems anyone in the hotel from any department can answer. Rather than improve efficiency or the service experience for the customer through MAGIC it just unnecessarily complicates things and causes frustration. I prefer speaking to front desk, concierge or the restaurant directly rather than having someone else pass on what I need or wait to be transferred.
In addition to the breakfast being good value for money, the river view rooms would also be worth the slight premium they charge for them as the view is that bit more pleasant to looking out at a freeway and large car parking lot as the standard rooms do, although these rooms do have a bit of a view out to Port Phillip Bay so it’s not all unpleasant.
At the end of the day in all fairness, rates tend to be lower at the HSW than at the other major players in Melbourne and at the prices we paid we were quite happy with the product. If for some reason they decide to lift their rates or is similarly priced to any of the other hotels we used on this particular trip (Park Hyatt, Crown Towers or Intercontinental) I would definitely book with any of the others as they are all superior in every way. The HSW just shouldn’t be rated 5 star which is where my gripe stems from.

  • Stayed December 2009
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Australia
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2010

Our stay at the Hilton, during their January "Sale" (and hence in a room for under AU$200, breakfast included - great value) left us with an excellent impression of every aspect of the hotel. The service from reception desk was helpful, efficient and polite, and we were able to check into our room early after arriving from the country. The concierge was young, engaging, helpful and informative. Once you have established how to get to the hotel (and I will recommend to them that they put a bird's eye view of the lanes in Lorimer Street onto their website - FYI, stick in the middle of the 5 lanes and drive straight ahead through the VERY broad intersection, into what is effectively the DFO carpark, more than it seems a continuation of Lorimer Street) the parking is easy, whether you choose valet parking, as we did, or not; there are certainly no hassles with pulling in from heavy city traffic. We chose not to pay the extra money - not much - for a city/Yarra view, and yes, you could see the DFO carpark, but so much more was visible, right across to Port Phillip Bay on our left, and down the less developed end of the Yarra to the right of the building opposite us. We felt that the views from the full length windows at day and in the night were such that they were a drawcard in their own right. Breakfast was lovely, with the facility to have one's eggs made "on demand"; I enjoyed French toast one day and pancakes the next. There was an excellent variety of hot food, cereals and toast as well as lovely meat and bread, fruit, yoghurt, fruit salad - everything you could want, although the cappucino might not win any coffee medals in a city as coffee-blessed as Melbourne! Sadly, we didn't get to eat at Nuevo 37, or at Sotano but their reviews are consistently good. DFO (bargain shopping outlets) is literally 50 metres from the front door. A quick walk across the pedestrian bridge allowed for an easy tram ride into the CBD, but we chose to walk along the Yarra River. It's a brisk ten minute walk past the Melbourne Convention Centre (still known by some as Jeff's Shed) to get to the Crown Casino complex with its Gold Class Cinema, meaning it would only be an easy 15-25 minute walk from the main station in Spencer St (Southern Cross). It was another brisk ten minutes past buskers and outdoor diners (in the evening) at Southbank's many beautiful restaurants, to get to Swanston Street and Flinders Street Station/Federation Square (i.e. the city). The room itself, on the 12th floor, was very clean, the blind (controlled by a switch on the wall some distance away) kept out all the light very nicely, and the bathroom with its Crabtree and Evelyn products, was lovely. I'm sure some would appreciate that the door to the toilet can be closed for privacy, although there is no shower curtain, but rather an alcove, for the shower (which was excellent). The bed was very comfortable, and when we rang "Magic" to request that the doona be replaced with a blanket and sheet, it was done promptly and efficiently. There was the facility to dock your iPod or phone on the alarm clock, which was a nice touch, though it is a shame that wireless internet is an additional charge. Overall, we were very impressed with the room, the location and the service, and certainly hope to return.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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melbourne
Top Contributor
177 reviews 177 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 56 cities Reviews in 56 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2010

We have never seen the New Year's Eve fireworks in the city because of the hassles of parking, walking long distances and if we decide to use public transport, the anxiety about going home in a packed train.
So I decided to book an overnight stay at the new Hilton South Wharf so that we can be near the action to watch the fireworks, either at Fed Square or the Docklands.

I used my Hilton Honor points and needed to buy some more but that was still okay. Had a bit of hitch with the international booking system but a quick e-mail to the Hilton Australian office (in Sydney) helped sort that out.

The room was very modern, a bit cramped because of the roll-away bed for my 10 year old but that was something we could live with. The beds were very comfortable, the shower and bath facilities (and amenities) were great.

The floor to ceiling views of the river, buildings and the skyline (were were on the 9th floor) were fantastic for a standard hotel room.

It was a very hot day, and after a walk around the city, we decided to stay in the comfort of the hotel and watch the fireworks, which reception assured us can be seen from our room.

After all that heat, the anticipated thunderstorms and lightning arrived at around 9 pm, ruining and canceling the first of two sets of fireworks. We were, however, glad that we were not out there in the rain. We instead enjoyed Mother Nature's own fireworks display, complete with thunder,lightning, dark clouds and rain.

By 12 midnight, the lightning and rain have stopped and we admired the planned fireworks and greeted each other (husband and child) a happy new year. Although we had seen several wonderful firework displays in other countries before, this was different, this was special, because this was at home. Well, not exactly our home, but the Hilton Hotel South Wharf room made it feel like home, even just for one night.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2010

We stayed in a Relaxation Suite on the 12th floor for two nights from 31 Dec to 02 Jan. Of course, we booked this suite for its views of the Melbourne fireworks and we were not disappointed. We had two full walls of glass: to the far left we could see the Docklands' fireworks, straight ahead was the Yarra river and the rest of the fire works, and to the far right was Port Melbourne. The views were absolutely delightful - not just on NYE, but the following night as well. It was great watching the Crown Casino gas fires in full flight from the very comfortable bed!!

We did experience a few small issues during our stay, most of which could be put down to it being the hotel's first NYE. For example, pre-dinner drinks in the Executive Lounge saw people having to search through cupboards of their own accord to find plates for food (and glasses for drinks) as there were simply nowhere near enough to go around, and the wash / turn-around cycle was clearly far too slow. Staff did try hard, and were run off their feet. It was, however, NYE, and the hotel should probably have had a clue about how many guests they were expecting in that context and planned appropriately. Hopefully, they'll learn from this experience and rectify these problems for next year.

Overall, a lovely stay in a very nice hotel. The room was well designed and appointed, and very quiet. Good location. Staff who generally tried very hard to meet expectations. A fabulous view from the bath, and very nice Crabtree and Evelyn toiletries (nice touch, Hilton!).

I would recommend this hotel for the north view (up the river, towards the city) as a very comfortable stay for visitors or a spot of luxuary for locals (like us!!).

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Melbourne,
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2010

Enjoyed our stay at the South Wharf Hilton recently. All staff were very friendly, and our room was beautifully appointed. We were celebrating our wedding anniversary and were upgraded to an Executive Room with a view of the Yarra/Crown Casino Precinct. The two times we used room service, the service was prompt and the staff very polite & friendly. Location was great, short walking distance to Crown Casino and DFO outlets. We enjoyed our complimentary bottle of champagne and we will definitely return to this Hotel. This was our second visit already. Highly recommend.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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Beechworth, Australia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2010

I have stayed at many hotels over the years and have found Hilton Melbourne South Wharf to be the best overall in Australia. I would not hesitate to stay again.
Hilton South Wharf sets tha standard in hospitality!

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hilton Melbourne South Wharf

Address: 2 Convention Centre Place | South Wharf, Melbourne, Victoria 3006, Australia
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > Victoria > Melbourne
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Family Hotel in Melbourne
#8 Romantic Hotel in Melbourne
#10 Business Hotel in Melbourne
#15 Luxury Hotel in Melbourne
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Hilton Melbourne South Wharf 5*
Number of rooms: 396
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Synonymous with quality, service, and style, Hilton offers the best of Melbourne.Immerse yourself in riverside cool that is the innovative Hilton Melbourne South Wharf. This upper upscale hotel is located in dynamic South Wharf Promenade and only a short stroll to the CBD, Docklands, Southbank dining precinct and Etihad Stadium - and beside the premium DFO South Wharf. The hotel offers spectacular city views, and mouth-watering dining and drinking options at Nuevo37 restaurant and Sotano Wine + Tapas bar. It has sophisticated private event spaces, and a unique conference offering with partner Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre. •Stylish riverside hotel on South Wharf Promenade, next to DFO South Wharf•Internal access via first floor link to Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre•Executive Lounge with outdoor terrace•396 generous rooms with spectacular views of the city or bay•60 Executive rooms and 54 Yarra, Relaxation and Two-Bedroom Suites•Four-point bathrooms with Peter Thomas Roth® amenities•Sophisticated Nuevo37 restaurant•Authentic Sotano Wine + Tapas Bar•Casual all-day Caffè Cino•24-hour Hilton Fitness by Precor® ... more   less 
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