Melbourne may have lost the ‘World’s Most Livable City’ crown to Vienna in 2018 but you wouldn’t know it. The city on the Yarra is continually finding new ways to increase its ‘visitability’. Where should you stay to be in the heart of all the action? Take an apartment at Punthill Manhattan for a few nights and you’ll feel like a Melbournian in no time.
Punthill Apartment Hotels Manhattan is within easy reach of everything Melbourne does best – art, food, coffee, history and music. From this Flinders Lane location, you can find everything that makes Melbourne so tempting – all in the Free Tram Zone.
This is a perfect jumping-off point for the Arts Precinct treasures such as the NGV, ACMI and the people’s place – Fed Square. Want fine or budget dining? Walk out the front door and turn left or right.
FIRST, A LITTLE HISTORY
Once the heart of Melbourne’s schmatte trade (Yiddish for the rag trade), buyers from across the country could do the lane in one day. Many of the loft buildings are still home to fashion labels and even the oh, so, perfect Chanel boutique shares a Flinders Lane corner. Déjà vu? This end of town has definitely got that New York Garment District feel.
Located on the quieter, northern end of Flinders Lane, Punthill Manhattan is moments away from world-famous and grungy Hosier and AC DC Lanes. Tourists clamour to photograph the street art mix of tags, stencils, paste-ups and colour, not noticing the rough-hewn bluestone cobbles at their feet. Yes, the ACDC Lane street sign is emblazoned with that signature lightning flash.
Flinders Lane is slap bang in the middle of Australia’s dining capital. At the Spring Street end, we are surrounded by the highest concentration of hatted restaurants in the CBD. Take your pick: Ezard, Kisume, Sake, Fonda Mexican, Supernormal, Chin Chin, Tonka, Cecconi’s and just two doors away – Cumulus Inc.
Made famous by the New York Times, Lune Croisanterie now has another café just around the corner and people queue for croissants here too. Carlton favourite, Brunetti also has a new outpost on Flinders Lane. For early birds, black tie-wearing servers dish up dreamy pastries and ristrettos from 6 am.
Later in the day, give the Garden State Hotel a go for bao and a shandy or two. Trinket wins the prize for the best bijou bar – a jewel box of plush green velvet with sparkle courtesy of the large, glittering chandelier. And there’s a secret door to more cocktails!
TIP: When walking on Flinders Lane don’t forget to look up; sometimes swimmers at the Adelphi Hotel’s cantilevered pool kick a minor deluge on the unsuspecting below.
While the entrance might be unremarkable, the reception was anything but. The Fornasetti ‘faces’ wallpaper and the cheerful welcome made check-in stress-free. Now for five nights ‘Living in the City’ and exploring Melbourne’s less-discovered places at every ‘twist and turn’.
Punthill Apartment Hotels have three other Melbourne CBD properties and nine in the suburbs, designed for both business and leisure.
Opening the front door to the soaring, raw concrete ceilings, it’s the on-point black framed, shaded windows and exposed brick that you can’t miss. The bedroom and combined living, dining and kitchen also sport LED track lighting. Manhattan indeed –the décor certainly has a New York vibe.
The bedroom is simple and comfortable with just a king size bed, timber side tables with matte black reading lamps, in-built robe and the benefit of a dimmer on the lights. Comfort is the first consideration throughout the apartment.
There’s both a washer and a dryer in the ultra-spacious bathroom. Extra points for the first walk-in shower that this reviewer has found that doesn’t leave the bathroom floor a swamp.
A 3-course Christmas lunch for 7 is a snap with a kitchen not merely a kitchenette. The full-sized fridge, dishwasher and extra-wide bench make breakfast and all meals easy. The closest Woolies is a 15-minute walk with Queen Vic Markets also in the Free Tram Zone.
A work desk adjacent to the kitchen means your laptop has a happy home too.
The apartments are serviced daily and there is a small gym on-site. The Wi-Fi is straightforward and connectivity was never an issue over 5 nights and a few Instagram stories.
With Punthill Manhattan close to but not in the middle of the CBD, savouring Melbourne’s best is mostly just a walk away. Head to Flinders Street for Federation Square while Chinatown’s culinary delights are only a ten-minute walk, west. Parks like Treasury Gardens are super close if you need to some green space. You could quite easily never venture outside the CBD free-tram zone – but what fun would that be?
Disclaimer: TML were guests of Punthill Apartments for part of this stay.