Somerset on Elizabeth Melbourne
250 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia
T: +61 3 8665 8888
Under Singapore’s Ascott group, Somerset on Elizabeth St is the cheapest (A$170 a night) and has the best location among the three hotels, smacked right in the hustle and bustle. Near all the shopping, and just a street from Hardware Societe, my favorite cafe in Melbourne, and from Mamak, famous Malaysian restaurant. About 15 minutes’ walk to Flinders St train station, the major train station in Melbourne.
The serviced apartment, with a kitchenette, a living room, a bedroom, and toilet, is spacious. Nothing to complain. Very homely. Great for families.
25 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia
T: +61 3 9653 0000
View from hotel room
French Sofitel, 5-starred hotel, is swanky (A$270 a day), and the staff goes, “Bonjour!” The lobby cafe is packed with rich angmoh taitais for high tea on weekends. The hotel is located at the end of a long atas (unaffordable) shopping street, which isn’t as convenient as Somerset, and the layout is confusing, the lobby being on the 3rd floor of a mall called Collins Place with luxury shops and cinema . But the advantage is it is quieter and more relaxing. Sofitel is also near to atas restaurants, and my #3 favorite restaurant, Cumulus Inc, is just across the street.
Langham’s room is slightly bigger than Sofitel’s, but I prefer the latter: newer and a nice view. Sofitel provides a glove in the bathroom to scrub the body. How considerate!
A small gym
The service is the best among the three hotels. When we took a cab, the doorman scribbled the taxi number down and passed us the piece of paper in case we leave things behind in the cab. He also instructed me to keep my camera and wallet properly, very fatherly and very friendly.
The Langham Melbourne
1 Southgate Avenue, Southbank, Melbourne, Victoria 3006, Australia
T: +61 3 8696 8888
View from the South Bank
Langham (A$330 a night) is under the British, and they are opulent. Look at the chandelier! Located at South Bank, it’s near the Crown casino, and restaurants awarded Chef’s Hats (equivalent to Michelin stars). There is also an expensive food court nearby. 5 minutes’ walk from Flinder St train station.
The room is decorated in a classical style, but it is worn and tired and musky. And if I tilt my body at an angle, I could glimpse a bit of a river from the room (see pic above).
The facilities are quite marvelous, a kickass gym, with an equally kickass pool, much better than Sofitel’s. Quite a proper 5-star hotel, but, in the end, I’d prefer the modish Sofitel simply because that kind of luxe just ain’t for us, we crave a different kind of buzz.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.