Located at the western (New York) end of Collins Street, in the banking/legal precincts, the Intercontinental at Rialto Melbourne is situated in 2 heritage listed buildings, the Rialto and the Winfield, built in the gothic style in 1891, when Melbourne was one of the wealthiest cities in the world from glod and wool exports. It is next to the twin Rialto Towers; the southern tower, with 55 levels, was the tallest building in Melbourne, until the Eureka on Southbank.
Its proximity to the coach terminal at Southern Cross station (Spencer St) means that we were the first to be dropped off from the hotel transfer shuttle, adn the last to be picked up on the return trip. On arrival, we were let off at the front door, which the concierge stated was unusual; guests are usually let off at Flinders Lane at the rear. On arrival, we we greeted by the bell man, who asked for the name and promptly transferred the bags to the room prior to check-in.
Check-in was handled promptly and efficiently; the first night was already pre-paid, and I was surprised at the practice of holding additional funds against the imprinted credit card in case further expenses were incurred. On arrival in the room, which was spacious (46 sq metres) and clean, there were no slippers and one bathrobe; this was quickly rectified by the one touch service button in brown on the phone. The desk was not in the way, near the bathroom wall, allowing plentiful space for the king bed.
Breakfast was included in the package I chose; the variety was good; the duty chef can cook eggs in any style requested by the guest.
The staff attended to our every need, with turn down service in the evening, choice of daily newspaper (I chose The Age), water and fruit, as well as choice of pillows and quilts.
An useful method of keeping track of expenses was messages available on the TV, which included updated invoicing.
A small gripe about the internet access. Despite the provision of an ethernet cable, which was also connected to the phone, the internet connection was wireless. As I stayed for 6 nights, I took the 5 day plan, which worked out at A$20 a day. The shorter term plans are expensive, and only are to be used if your stay is shorter, and there was no alternative.
The location is great, with tram stops and taxi ranks outside the door; also Spencer Street rail station is a 7 minute walk away. The best location of the 3 Priority Club Hotels in the Melbourne CBD, with Holiday Inn a block away in Flinders Lane, and Crowne Plaza another block away in Queenbridge road near the Melbourne Convention Centre.
There was the bonus of Iron Chef Guy Grossi's Merchant restaurant on the premises, serving Venetian food, whcih we dined at once; as another writer has commented, as the business is separate to the hotel, the bill cannot be charged to your room.
So in summary, if you have a quick trip, like a business trip, or for a family occasion, you can stay in a lesser hotel, but for a longer holiday, I recommend staying in a 5-star hotel like this in this quieter end of town.
On this trip, we dined at vue de monde (due to move the the 55th floor of the Rialto South Tower next door), and caught the Tutankhamun and "Dreams come true" (Disney animations) exhibitions.