You usually don’t associate words like suburban and shopping centre with boutique hotels. But Sage Hotel Ringwood IS in Melbourne’s outer Eastern Suburbs and sits over Eastland shopping centre. More importantly, Sage Hotel Ringwood’s location makes it a serious contender for Melburnites considering a staycation or travellers looking for a less expensive jumping off point for the nearby Yarra Valley.
Sage as part of the Next Hotel Group is expanding across Australia on a mission to satisfy both the corporate and leisure travellers. The 120-room, 4-star, Sage Hotel Ringwood opened late last year after Eastland’s rather swish $655m makeover with the addition of designer stores and smart casual restaurants. Welcome ginger, lemongrass and lemon water greets you as you exit the elevator. Industrial design makes the main space feel a little like a warehouse conversion with polished concrete floors. The co-working space is a mix of timber, colourful suede and muted leather chairs arranged for two or larger groups. Striking, colourful murals add that unmistakable Melbourne feel. Check-in ticks all the boxes: professional, speedy and extra friendly.Walls of glass and the High & Dry bar border the vast co-working space. Extensions of timber bookshelves lead you to the elevators past the restaurant’s banquettes and tables. Desks are available for hire for non-guests on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Somehow the designers have blended fun and work into one functional, architecturally interesting space. With views to the Dandenongs, the large open plan area also makes for time well spent latte-drinking or cocktail-sipping with a good book.
SAGE HOTEL RINGWOOD ROOMS
The hotel’s rooms are cleverly designed to make the best use of the space. Our Executive King has floor to ceiling windows to take in the views towards the Yarra Valley. Sage’s DreamWeave Sleep system King is definitely dreamy and with complimentary WiFi and 24-hour room service seems like the perfect weekend.
The bathroom divides the shower and toilet from the basin. With natural light from the open wardrobe, working some mascara magic is so much easier. A soaking tub for a long relax would have been the cherry on top but the functionality of the bathroom doesn’t allow for the indulgence.
Back downstairs you can partake at Partake, a complimentary breakfast or for an extra $10 Chef will make to order omelettes or eggs if you want more than the impressive mueslis, fruit, toast and pastries.
Singapore orchids and vivid, turquoise plates sync with the colourful murals in the otherwise monochrome space for a sunny start to the day.
Parisian trained Executive Chef Tony Milton also once worked at the Yarra Valley’s Coombe The Melba Estate and he regards the region as one of the world’s finest gourmet destinations. He does love the Valley’s bounty and working with the producers. He has created a menu that shows it off at its very best. Local artisan cheeses including Yarra Valley tempters star on both the restaurant and bar menus. Best described as Mod Oz bistro fare the menu does a great job of being all things to all people. With vegetarian starters like spinach gnocchi with sweet potato cream to a Little Cattle Creek Porterhouse carnivore delight. All steaks are served with celeriac remoulade, café de Paris butter, house-cut fries and red wine jus.
The spiced confit duck leg with fondant potato, pomegranate, pear and rocket is a triumph, while the orchard apple crumble was not only on point – it was enough for two. If you’re eating local, you must drink local. St. Huberts The Stag Pinot Noir foes down a treat with both the duck and steak.
HIGH & DRY
Hotel bars are notoriously bland. High & Dry is the exception. Not hidden away behind the restaurant, this bar is front and centre and an integral part of the décor. A Sage Sunrise is not only the bar’s signature cocktail it’s a beauty to behold. Four Pillars Gin from just down the road at Healesville is partnered with cranberry juice, lime and fresh sage. There’s also a good selection of Australian wines by the glass and a dedicated Victorian Spirits and Liqueur list. Award-winning whiskeys, gins and exceptional liqueurs from Jezebel Absinthe to Timboon Railway Shed Distillery Baxter’s Coffee Cream.
Sage Hotel Ringwood has cottoned on to how to best serve business guests and those needing a little TLC at the end of the work-week. On weekends, the hotel is only twenty minutes from Melbourne courtesy of the freeway and the wineries only twenty minutes further north-east. The location is second to none. Some might say a sage choice.