Friday, 24 January 2014

The Bed Report 6: Adelphi Hotel Melbourne Accommodation Review

The Adelphi Hotel is only three blocks from my apartment, but I've always wanted to stay there so I could swim in its pool.

The Adelphi swimming pool is something of a legend in Melbourne, a curiosity of the the city which never fails to raise a gasp when pointed out.

It projects from the top floor of the hotel over the street for a metre or so, allowing passers-by the odd vision of people swimming high in the air above them.

So here I was, finally staying overnight to review the place, and my chance had come. No matter that one of Melbourne's bizarre weather changes had just blown in, rattling the windows and lowering the outdoor temperature to 16C. I was getting in that pool.

It was freezing, but I'm glad I did it.

The swim had been preceded by this - the Adelphi's new take on High Tea. With the hotel's refurbishment and reopening in late 2013, it's rebranded itself as a "dessert hotel".

The in-house Om Nom restaurant specialises in sweet dishes and cocktails, with a smattering of savoury choices for people like me who don't have much of a sweet tooth.

The centrepiece of the Sunday afternoon menu is the tower of small sweet and savoury items, as seen above. Accompanied with a glass of Veuve Cliquot, and a coffee or tea served with macarons, it costs $65 per person.

Narrelle and I enjoyed this. The savoury elements such as a small vegetable tempura and noodle dish were tasty, but the sweet items stood out above them. Highlights were the pineapple verrine (the reddish-yellow one at the top of the stand) and the excellent peanut butter, chocolate and raspberry gateau.

There was an inventiveness about the items and their presentation which we liked, taking it away from the stuffiness usually associated with afternoon tea. In the below pic, you can see Narrelle handling the bulb of sweet and sour sauce which arrives inserted into the poached bug tail:

As for the room, we were placed in a suite on the seventh floor, looking out onto taller buildings but with enough of a gap provided by street and alleyway to provide natural light.

The living room decor was very much the model of a cutting-edge upmarket small hotel - interesting angled furniture, eccentrically furry armchairs, a giant angle-poise lamp and a footstool resembling a licorice allsort. (The entry-level King Rooms have similar decor but in a smaller space.)

Not everyone's cup of tea, no doubt, but I like this sort of contemporary eccentricity:

Behind Narrelle in the picture above you can see shelving stacked with jars. These were full of various types of sweets, provided free with the room rate. A nice touch.

The bedroom and bathroom were similarly unconventional, as you can see below:

Overall, we enjoyed our stay in the new Adelphi. Our room did possess a couple of the Problems of Posh Hotels I've talked about before - dim lighting that made reading tricky, and overly firm pillows.

However, it compensated for this with positive attributes such as free wifi, free local phone calls, accessible power points, a bar fridge whose contents were included in the room rate, and complimentary sweet snacks dotted around the room. And the windows could be opened. Hallelujah!

Just the Facts:
Adelphi Hotel
187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Phone: 03 8080 8888 (International +61 3 8080 8888)
Web: www.adelphi.com.au
Rates: Rooms from $260 per night; suite from $690 per night.

Disclosure time... for this stay I was hosted by the Adelphi Hotel. To read previous accommodation reviews, click on The Bed Report label below.