Saturday 23 June 2018

Review: Sage Hotel Melbourne, Ringwood

For this review I was hosted by the Sage Hotel Melbourne, Ringwood.

If you ask inner-city Melburnians what they think of the eastern suburb of Ringwood, be prepared for some wrinkling of noses. The district had a bad rep in years past, of being somewhere poor and dodgy.

So it was with some surprise that I stepped out of Ringwood train station yesterday, to find the area north of the railway had been transformed by the rebuilding of the Eastland shopping centre.

It's still very outer-suburban - a huge mall with plentiful chain stores - but the frontage has been transformed into an attractive public square lined by restaurants with outdoor seating.

Next to this is Realm, a new public building which includes the local library.

And on top of the shopping centre, though entered from the main road, is the new Sage Hotel.

It's an eye-opener. One doesn't expect much from suburban hotels, but the Sage is impressive by any standard.

My room is compact but attractive, with a sleek modern look. The big windows face the Dandenong Ranges, so there's a lot of natural light and a view beyond the nearby suburban streets.

The room has a practical set-up, with a useful desk and a straightforward bathroom area. The hanging zone for clothing is open and a bit constricted, but otherwise there's sufficient space to move.

Where the hotel really stands out is in its public areas. The area beyond reception is one big open space, artfully divided by long open-sided bookshelves stacked with works ranging from art volumes to thriller novels.

The largest area is a combination of lounge, bar and co-working space. Alongside the comfortable lounge chairs is a number of desks which guests can use, and which are also available for hire by business people wanting a temporary workspace.

Opposite the lounge area is the restaurant, Partake. This is another open space, with a range of tables from banquettes to high tables. There's some impressive art on the walls, and even more impressive food on the menu.

To give you an example, last night I had this for dessert: the raspberry and strawberry mess with meringue, crème légère and Persian fairy floss.

It was excellent, and a symbol perhaps of how much Ringwood has changed.

And with its proximity to the Dandenong Ranges and the Yarra Valley, the Sage Hotel has a lot to offer tourists, as well as business people and hungry locals.

The Sage Hotel is located at 211 Maroondah Hwy, Ringwood, Australia. For more info and bookings, visit its website.

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