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“A beautiful, tasteful, old world hotel” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Hotel Windsor

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The Hotel Windsor
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   111 Spring Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia   |  
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Ranked #21 of 169 Hotels in Melbourne
Melbourne
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“A beautiful, tasteful, old world hotel”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

I think this is probably the loveliest hotel I have ever stayed in. I love traditional, old fashioned things and this hotel is beautifully renovated and sufficiently modernised to offer all the comforts you could want. The room we stayed in was spacious and comfortable, with delightful decor and old world charm. However, a couple of things happened that jarred.

Firstly, we were asked to pay for the mini bar up front, to be told it would be credited back to the credit card if we didn't use it. When we questioned this, we were told it was standard policy at all hotels. Well, not in any of the hotels my partner and I have stayed in all over the world in recent years. Given that they have the credit card details anyway, why take the amount out in advance? Maybe we just haven't encountered this practice but it surprised us.

Secondly, there was an extremely noisy wedding celebration in one of the function rooms that night. When we got back to our room at 10.30pm, the noise was so loud there was no question of sleep or peace! When we contacted reception, we were assured the noise would stop at 11.30pm but in a hotel of this calibre and cost, one does not expect to have to have the feeling that you are next door to a very loud disco and to have to put up with it. They then made the offer to move us to another room, which is what we did. The second room was even nicer than the first one, so in the end, all was well.

The buffet breakfast offered a reasonable choice of foods, although I would have liked to have the option for eggs to be cooked to my taste, rather than simply scrambled. The breakfast sausages were delicious though and made up for the eggs!

Location wise, this hotel is great - right near the Treasury and Fitzroy Gardens, not far from the Yarra river and with the free City Circle tram running right past the door. We went for some lovely walks in the gardens and the city. I would go there again, and would recommend it to those wanting an old world charm - for that, there is no finer in Melbourne!

Room Tip: Ask to be well away from the function rooms!
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
Nick M, Front Office Manager at The Hotel Windsor, responded to this review, March 15, 2013
Dear AussiePianoGirl,

Thank you so much for your review and kind words. It is wonderful to hear that you appreciated our hotel's rich history and location however I must apologise for the disturbing first night of your stay due to noise from one of our function rooms. I am aware of the evening you stayed and i can assure you that the noise levels in our function rooms have been addressed this past week so I do hope that in the future you will not experience the same.

I do hope that we may have the pleasure of your company in the near future. Until then we do, as always remain at your service.

Warmest Regards
Nick

Nick McLennan
Front Office Manager

Celebrating 130 Years | The Hotel Windsor
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2,829 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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USA
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

This is a grand old Victorian hotel with a majestic facade - reminded me a little of a shabby old men's club - creaky floorboards under the thin carpets, tired lifts, rooms average.
- some rather nasty reproduction paintings in faux frames trying to add some historic flavor to the premises.
Whenever it was renovated ( some time ago for sure), the designers did not hit the mark.
The breakfast room is very special - wonderful space
Location is a little out of the way if you are there on business.
If you can get a room at a reasonable rate compared to the other more luxurious hotels in Melbourne, it may be worth a stay

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Nick M, Front Office Manager at The Hotel Windsor, responded to this review, March 15, 2013
Dear RabaulUSA,

Thank you for choosing to stay at The Hotel Windsor and for taking the time to review your time with us.

Our team are constantly looking at ways to improve the condition of our rooms and public spaces and I thank you for your comments which I have forwarded to David our C.E.O. for his attention. As you can imagine being built in 1883 and now in our 130th year does provide it's challenges however I do hope that our service team looked after you during your stay.

We do hope to welcome you back in the near future and if I can be of any assistance please do not hesitate to contact me at the hotel.

Once again our thanks and warmest regards,
Nick

Nick McLennan
Front Office Manager
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Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013 via mobile

They say that walking into the Windsor is like stepping back in time. And indeed it is. Sadly, however, not the elegance and glamour of the 1890s Victorian era that they'd like you to believe but somewhere around a century later which is clearly the last time it was refurbished.

Old, tired and clearly living off past glories, you almost get the impression that the staff think you should feel privileged to stay in their slowly decaying relic of a hotel.

The Room: Lets start with our room, number 349, a "Traditional" room. To be fair we should have done our homework and discovered the size of the room before we booked. There was just about enough room to walk round both sides of the not very large double bed. Well, there was until our luggage arrived. As the only place to put it was on the floor beside the bed there was then only enough room to walk round one side of the bed, and then only if you didn't mind clambering over a chair.

The only window in the room had frosted glass and was firmly locked making the room dark, dingy and airless. The paint on it was peeling so badly that it seemed like the main reason that the badly fitting double glazing had been added at some point was because if you had tried to open the window the whole thing might just crumble to pieces in your hands.

The furniture consisted of a jumble of bits and pieces that looked like they'd been picked up from a local house clearance and in the corner was an air conditioning unit that clearly put most of its energy into clicking, banging, whirring and dripping as it seemed to put very little effort into cooling the air.

The Bed: The bed was actually very comfortable once we ordered another two pillows from their 10 pillow menu which includes the "High Profile" and "Low Profile" not to mention the "Anti Snore" option. I suspect we would have slept very well if it hadn't been for the game of all night elephant football being played in the room above, the constant banging of the door to the service lift opposite our room or the noises from the air conditioning unit two feet from my left ear as I lay in bed.

The Wardrobe: There wasn't one so unpacking wasn't even an option.

The bit between the Bedroom and the Bathroom: Squeezed between the bedroom and the bathroom was a space with enough room for one person to comfortably stand upright with their arms by their side. However, sadly not enough room to then close the door that blocked access to a small rail where you could hang a few clothes, a shelf, two drawers and a mini bar. Thankfully, before my girlfriend put some of my shirts on the shelf she ran her finger along it to make sure it was clean. Historians may be pleased to hear that the layer of dust was so thick that some of it dated back to 1883 when the hotel was originally opened. The Windsor is, by the way, very proud to claim that it is the oldest hotel in Australia. A fact that is clearly challenged by The Duke of Wellington Hotel, a quarter of a mile down the road, which has a plaque outside proudly claiming it is "Melbourne's Oldest Hotel" dating back to 1850. Anyway, why let facts get in the way of a good story.

The minbar: In a dust encrusted cupboard between the bedroom and the bathroom was a small half empty mini bar with about four or five random bottles of beer, wine and other drinks which were so expensive that only Richard Branson could afford to crack them open. By the way, apparently he has stayed here in case you were wondering. I know this because a big plaque by the lift proudly boasts of the many illustrious guests that also made the mistake of staying here at some point in history. (Please look at the Windsor website for the full list if you're interested). I wanted to write "Why?" at the bottom of the plaque but my girlfriend prevented me.

Anyway, to give you a run down of the mini bar prices, would you like the half bottle of plonk for just $34 or would you rather pay $5 for the pack of two biscuits?

The Bathroom: Boasting all the mod cons expected of a 5 star luxury hotel of the 1980s the tiny bathroom included some obligatory marble, a hair dryer attached to the wall, a telephone reminiscent of one my dad upgraded to in 1982 with push buttons and everything, a bath with a shower over it and two taps that required the skill of a Swiss watchmaker to finely balance the temperature between scolding and freezing. The three tiny bottles of shampoo and shower gel were only replenished once during our three day stay and there was enough dust under the sink to house a large colony of dust mites.

The Food: We didn't actually eat at the hotel because on our first morning we asked one of the doorman where to go for breakfast. He kindly suggested a cafe just down the road rather than the hotel dining room, a tip that we were quick to latch onto. Oh and he was right, the cafe down the road does an exceedingly good breakfast for less than half the price the hotel charges.

On a positive note, they do offer WiFi in the room for the princely sum of $15 per day or $25 per day if you wanted something faster that could download today's newspaper before tomorrow's issue was available. After connecting my iPad and iPhone I then tried to connect my girlfriends iPhone only to be told that I'd exceeded the number of devices I was allowed to connect. Seriously? Incidentally, free WiFi is available in several public places around the city. 

We were so disappointed that we tried, through the agent that booked it for us, to either get us out after our first night or at least move rooms. The hotel, apparently, offered us an upgrade to a slightly bigger room for $27 more per night. The agent also asked whether we would be able to get a refund (as we'd prepaid) if we left after the first night and moved somewhere else. As I write this the agent has still had no reply to this request and we are sadly still here. 

I've been fortunate enough to stay at some fabulous 5 star hotels; The Plaza in New York, The Observatory in Sydney, the Shangri-La in Hong Kong, The Venetian in Las Vegas, The Ritz in London, The Peninsula in Bangkok and The Fullerton in Singapore to name but a few. I've also stayed at a Premier Inn in Brighton, UK, and frankly the room there was bigger, cleaner, better equipped and considerably cheaper than our room at The Windsor.

So here's my advice;

If you're the owner or manager of The Windsor; stop trying to pretend that you're something you're not and clearly haven't been for a very, very long time. Then please go and stay for one night at one of the hotels listed above, including the Premier Inn if you want, and find out what's really expected of a 21st century 5 star hotel. And while you're away, I suggest you put Russell in charge. What a charming, helpful, knowledgeable and lovely chap. I reckon he'd have the place sorted by the time you got back. 

If you're a traveller and thinking of staying of The Windsor, don't. By all means walk into the lobby, have a beer in The Cricketers Bar (we would have done but it was closed for most of our stay for some reason) or savour the history by taking afternoon tea. Then leave and save your money by staying somewhere much better and cheaper nearby. I'm sure the doorman would be happy to suggest somewhere suitable.

Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nick M, Front Office Manager at The Hotel Windsor, responded to this review, March 15, 2013
Dear Jon I,

Thank you for taking the time to review your recent stay with us and for pointing out to us a number of items which I must agree with you can be improved on. TripAdvisor is a great forum as it really does help us to see the entire picture through our guests's eyes which is vitally important to us.

This coming week will see us complete a comprehensive review of your comments with the results being made available to you by this coming Monday and will involve not only myself but also David our C.E.O, Executive Housekeeper, Maintenance Manager and Reservation's team.

The Hotel Windsor does have seven different room and suite types ranging from 22sqm to 122sqm in size. We do endeavor to accurately portray our room and suites on our own and other websites however we will complete an audit this coming week to ensure that the information available to everyone is up to sate and relevant.

We do hope that we may have the opportunity to welcome you back in the near future. As always I am available at the hotel if you do require any assistance to ensure a wonderful stay which will leave you with memories far more befitting The Hotel Windsor.

On behalf of David and the hotel our sincerest apologies and thanks for your considered review.

As always at your service.

Warm Regards
Nick

Nick McLennan
Front Office Manager
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Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2013 via mobile

The Windsor didn't disappoint, providing understated but very efficient customer service throughout the complex, from the access to valet parking on arrival, the seamless registration process and our accommodation in well appointed, comfortable, spacious rooms.
We found all Windsor staff to be helpful and obliging when required. Proximate to a range of excellent restaurants, theatres, boutique shopping and Melbourne's major sporting venues, the Windsor is ideally located. With its own excellent bars and dining room, the Windsor is certainly recommended.

Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nick M, Front Office Manager at The Hotel Windsor, responded to this review, March 14, 2013
Dear John A,

Thank you so much for your kind review of both our wonderful hotel and our dedicated service team. It is fantastic to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us and were able to take advantage of our great location at the 'Paris' end of the city.

We do look forward to welcoming you back in the near future and until then we do, as always remain at your service.

Warm Regards
Nick McLennan
Front Office Manager

Celebrating 130 Years | The Hotel Windsor
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2013

There are still glimpses of past times of gracious living at The Windsor, an institution in Melbourne. Many famous guests have graced it from The Duke of Windsor to celebrities across the spectrum. We had a lovely room with 2 comfortable lounge chairs, the most comfortable bed, elegant work table. The Hotel faces Parliament. Is famous for it's elegant afternoon tea.The a la carte menu needs to be more appetising. Very friendly staff.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DavidGAPerry, Manager at The Hotel Windsor, responded to this review, March 12, 2013
Dear Madam,

Thank you for your kind review. There is a certain responsibility incumbent upon us when this famous hotel is regarded as an institution. The ultimate test of that responsibility is whether we as a team are delighting guests each day in 2013 and the years to come leaving them with wonderful memories that last a life time.

Assuring you of our commitment in that respect and hoping to welcome you back soon.

With kindest regards,

David
David G.A. Perry
Chief Executive Officer
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Sydney
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2013

Lovely greeting at the front door. A bottle of champagne arrived for our anniversary so thankyou so much to front office manager Nick! We had a deluxe room, very roomy, beautiful furnishings and very comfortable. Minor criticisms for honesty to other guests, bathroom needs refurbishing by creating a shower recess. Instead of climbing over a bath. Some mould around the bath in areas, the single airconditioner was struggling with size of the room on hot nights and you can hear every movement above you from the creaking floorboards. This kept us us awake late at night then early morning. I'm not sure how that could be fixed with the age of the beautiful hotel.
Then breakfast, beautiful dining room, friendly staff but food was to us at a poor level. The food on both mornings was either cold or we were waiting for food to come back out. We didn't eat much as the scrambled egg was so runny, the mushrooms and bacon was stone cold. We did tell the waiter who in turn said he would tell the chief! We then ordered poached eggs which were perfect.
We appreciated the beauty of the hotel for its age and understand there would be a lot of upkeep involved with a hotel like this. I'm sure if the breakfast problems were addressed, the bathrooms were refined, and the floorboards in some way were baffled we would have said it was excellent. Hope this helps management and gives the visitors an unbiased review. Thankyou

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DavidGAPerry, Manager at The Hotel Windsor, responded to this review, March 11, 2013
Dear Sir,

Thank you for your honest review and apologies for letting you down.

No excuse regarding breakfast. The issues can and shall be addressed immediately.

Bathroom alterations and creaking floor boards present slightly more complex challenges which shall be addressed in our future refurbishment however I would draw readers attention to the fact that half the hotel has wooden floors and half has solid floors depending in which end of the hotel your room or suite is located. For those who are light sleepers a request for a room without wooden floors will always be given our serious attention.

Assuring you that the team will be focussed on leaving you with memories which are worthy of an excellent rating next time we have the pleasure of your company.

With thanks and kindest regards

David
David G.A. Perry
Chief Executive Officer
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Poole UK
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2013

A wonderful stay in a comfortable and historic hotel -an amazing staircase, wide spacious corridors and a sense of occasion. Room comfortable and functional. Staff very friendly and helpful. If I needed to I would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
DavidGAPerry, Manager at The Hotel Windsor, responded to this review, March 11, 2013
Dear Sir / Madam,

You are most kind. Thank you.

Hoping to be of service to you again when next you visit these shores.

With kindest regards,

Yours faithfully,

David
David G.A. Perry
Chief Executive Officer
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Hotel Windsor

Address: 111 Spring Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > Victoria > Melbourne
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#15 Romantic Hotel in Melbourne
#15 Family Hotel in Melbourne
#16 Business Hotel in Melbourne
#21 Luxury Hotel in Melbourne
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Hotel Windsor 5*
Number of rooms: 180
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Hotel Windsor is Australia’s most loved and recognised grand hotel. Built in 1883 during the Victorian era and pre-dating other notable hotels such as The Savoy, Waldorf Astoria, Ritz Paris and The Plaza Hotel, it set a benchmark for style, elegance, sophistication and charm which remains ever present today. The hotel is located in Melbourne’s most central and fashionable district. Its location is in close proximity to the corporate, financial and designer heart of Melbourne. Many of the city’s best theatres, landmark attractions and sporting venues are within a comfortable walking distance. The hotel is located 20km from Melbourne’s Domestic and International Airport, with a traveling time of between 20-45 minutes. Parliament train station and tram stops including the City Circle route are located at the hotel’s doorstep. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Windsor Hotel Melbourne

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