Recently stayed here to attend a concert at Rod Laver arena which is at the other end (kind of) of the CBD area.
I have rated it overall as 'very good' as it:
- our 'petite queen room' was clean, neat, nicely appointed in terms of bed coverings, pictures on walls, etc;
- staff were friendly, efficient and knew which tram to catch to which destination (e.g. from Alto to Rod Laver arena and from Alto to Queen Vic market area, Docklands, etc);
- had a very small private carpark at hotel and a deal with a larger, secure parking place a 2 min walk away (we were lucky and scored a park in the hotel carpark);
- security for coming in late at night (need your room card to swipe to get past the double glass doors into the foyer;
- toiletries, towels, etc provided were plentiful;
- mini fridge (no mini bar inside it) with milk and carafe of water; tea/coffee/sugar/salt/pepper and biscuits provided alongside a kettle, sink, sideboard and toaster. The next class of room has a microwave as well but the petite queens do not;
- good lighting and a full length mirror in main area as well as writing desk, chair, flat screen TV, radio, ipod docking station on radio, side tables by bed, very comfy bed, ironing board and iron, etc;
- window we could actually open for breeze and when closed the sound was almost obliterated (must be double glazed);
- air con worked great and was pretty quiet.
- location is great; basically across road from main entrance of Southern Cross (Spencer St) train station and the Direct Factory Outlet complex (DFO). Trams run along front of hotel on Bourke and along Spencer etc.
- there is internet and a large TV in their small lounging area near the foyer with tea/coffee and fruit available gratis. The toilets in this lounging area were immaculate. If you are a smoker there appears to be a small room behind the toilets with a lounge and chairs and plants - it is between the toilets and the carpark as we walked through it to get to our car on check out.
The reasons I did not vote this property as 5/5 or 'excellent' are based around the cost of the room versus other similar rooms in a similar area of the CBD, such as:
- whilst they are honest in advertising the 'petite queen room' as a small room it is not a small price even for Melbourne! The room is not the smallest I've ever stayed in.. but it was the smallest at anywhere near the cost I had to pay... by far! We could have stayed in much larger, just as nicely appointed rooms for similar or smaller cost in the CBD (and have). The Vibe Savoy is just around the corner and their lead in room is MASSIVE and much more luxurious for less cost. The Best Western is just a bit further up Spencer St and the room is larger, etc, too.
- paid $178 for 'room only' - no breakfast, no bottled water, etc.
- parking cost was additional $16 extra (in fairness though this is not an unreasonable price for Melbourne for 24 hour parking but it did take our tiny room up to a total of $194 which is extreme).
- bathroom is TINY (but is clean and functional). Shower is a nice rain head one but it comes straight out onto bathroom floor if door is opened at all so bit of wangling to get the water going without drenching everything first. Cannot open shower door and door to bathroom at same time. Cannot fit two people in at same time unless one of you is sitting on the loo or in the shower!
This is not the hotel's fault but just a side note; the Alto is not far from the rather crappy part of King St (late at night this area can be an issue regarding drunks and nightclubs, etc). The area is fine in the day and early evening but if catching trams along Flinders it is better to get off at the Spencer St corner and walk up past the station to the Alto then get off at King and walk up King. Distances from both stops is about the same but one feels a whole lot safer IMO.
We walked from the Alto to Docklands and Harbour town; had late lunch then walked from Docklands to the Crowne Casino. From Crowne we walked up past the Aquarium back to the Alto Hotel. In the evening we walked to the corner of Spencer and Flinders (about 4 or 5 mins at the most - easy walk) and caught Tram #70 directly to Rod Laver Arena stop. Too easy. Tram #70 back after watching Keith Urban's concert (amazing concert) to same Flinders/Spencer corner and walked back the 4 or so mins to the hotel.
The next morning the Alto let us leave the car in their carpark after we checked out (kudos to them for this) and we walked to Queen Vic Market (about 20 min walk at most) then caught a tram back from the market to Bourke St. Short block or two and we were back picking up the car and on our way home.
The Mail Exchange Hotel is a stones throw from the Alto and I had a meal at their lovely Bistro a couple of months ago when on a business trip. Nice spot for a drink after a hard day or evening.
If this property lowered the price of these 'petite' rooms to a more reasonable level in line with what else is available (I think they are priced highly due to it being marketed as a 'boutique' hotel) I would give raise my rating to 'excellent'.
'Petite Queen' rooms are petite! Appointed and laid out well but are expensive & overpri...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.