Girls Trip. The Ultimate Melbourne Weekend Away
We can feel it, can’t you? Like a beacon, enticingly close – the prospect of a rejuvenating weekend away with the girls as lockdown restrictions start to ease. Hallelujah.
In readiness for long-awaited get togethers, why not plot a girl’s night in as well as a girl’s night out with the help of our Next level Melbourne staycation guide:
“They say nothing lasts forever; dreams change, trends come and go, but friendships never go out of style.” Carrie Bradshaw
First things first – organise your Melbourne girls trip
The most challenging part will be deciding on dates, but once diaries are synched, securing yourself an intimate, stylish and well-located sanctuary is a must.
At Next Hotel Melbourne, you and the girls are headed for arguably the most sophisticated of Melbourne’s new luxury hotels, located within the dynamic new ’80 Collins’ precinct of high fashion and hospitality hot spots.
Step through our discreet street-level entrance on Little Collins Street to be transported to a luxurious blend of ‘New York meets Shanghai’ while still oh so uniquely Melbourne. Loft ceilings and luxe fabrics, buttery leathers and creative, artistic details soothe and inspire, with a sleek, sweeping marble staircase is fitting for the well-heeled. You can read more about the swoon-worthy interiors over here.
Next Tip: Be sure to ask for interconnecting rooms when you book to allow for late-night heart-to-heart chats alongside alone time. Or better yet, book a Club Suite to gain exclusive access to The Club as your in-hotel locale to plot the day ahead over continental breakfast, refuel with all-day refreshments and unwind together over complimentary aperitivo.
Melbourne’s best coffee, Campari and more…
Once settled in your rooms, what’s Next is up to you. For daytime arrivals, head to Ingresso on the ground floor for a cosy booth, street-side dining or something to grab and go. Enjoy Cartel Coffee or kombucha on tap, house-made pastries, antipasti, or the famous Porchetta Roll, and Hainanese Chicken inspired “Rooster Rolls” to keep hunger at bay. And if the mood strikes for a quick celebratory prosecco, you’re in the right place.
Soul Sisters – Melbourne Art Galleries, street art & laneways
As the arts capital of Australia, Melbourne is home to some of the country’s best boutique galleries – fertile ground for a soul-nourishing meander with the girls. Here are some of our favourites for a morning or afternoon of gallery hopping:
- Tolarno Gallery: can be found just over the road in nearby Exhibition Street. Tolarno is known as one of Australia’s most stimulating exhibitors of contemporary art and design with a rich history of presenting innovative and challenging work from modern masters and emerging artists
- Anna Schwartz located in Flinders Lane is a contemporary art gallery that represents over thirty multigenerational artists and also presents individual projects with Australia and international artists and curators
- Arc One located further down Flinders Lane represents some of the country’s most highly respected contemporary artists working in various mediums
To know Melbourne is to know her Laneways
Extend your creative wanderings in Melbourne CBD to include exploring the City of Melbourne’s latest initiative Flash Forward. Walk and talk your way across a connected network of laneways in the heart of the city to discover more than 80 creatives across 40 art installations, 40 albums and 40 gigs. A very Melbourne way to spend an afternoon, evening or late night.
Things to do in Melbourne?…firstly some retail therapy
No self-respecting girls’ weekend in Melbourne would be complete without a little shopping.
Set aside ample time to get to know our closest neighbours in the fashionable 80 Collins precinct, where a line-up of luxe labels in clothing, accessories, footwear, jewellery and design is on the doorstep. Saunter further to discover some of Melbourne’s most interesting designers, tailors, milliners and artisans and more global fashion ateliers. They don’t call this the “Paris end” of the city for nothing. (Discover our dream shopping itinerary in last months Next Notes.)
If you’re keen for guided exploration, why not arrange a personal city shopping tour with our friends ‘in the know’ at Hidden Secret Tours or renowned Melbourne stylist Sally McKinnon aka Styled By Sally to expertly advise on the perfect post-lockdown purchases.
Pique-Nique A La Mode in Fitzroy Gardens
Plot an oh-so-stylish picnic lunch to enjoy the company of your friends in nearby Fitzroy Gardens, where you can relax in dappled shade amongst the grand old elm trees, rolling lawns and weaving pathways. Look out for the gorgeous Spanish mission style Conservatory that houses magnificent seasonal indoor floral displays to stop and smell the flowers.
Let the team at Ingresso know your plans and you’ll be all set to grab some deliciousness on your way to the park – freshly made sandwiches, savoury tarts, sweet treats, coffee to go and perhaps a chilled bottle of Prosecco too.
Events & Exhibitions Coming up in Melbourne
Our picks of marvellously Melbourne events back on the agenda to add to your itinerary or provide the perfect reason to time a stay:
- Melbourne Fashion Week returns 15 – 21 November with a line-up of installations, parades and showcases by the city’s coveted retailers and designers
- Bark Ladies: Exhibition at the NGV: celebrates the NGV’s extraordinary collection of work by Yolngu women artists from the Baku Larrngay Mulka Centre (Buku) in North East Arnhem Land, approximately 700km east of Darwin. 19 Nov 2021 – 1 May 2022.
- Get some early Christmas shopping done. The city’s annual Christmas festival will launch on November 12, two weeks earlier than usual, with dazzling displays, festive events, entertainment and activities across a six week period.
- Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto will make its international debut in Melbourne at the National Gallery of Victoria on 5 December. See the first exhibition in Australia to exclusively focus on the work of renowned French couturière Gabrielle Chanel with an arresting display of more than 100 garments – a must for any fashion devotee
- NGV Friday Nights return in the summer with classic cocktails, street food, and exploration of NGV galleries at night.
Regroup & refresh in your Melbourne hotel suite
With the shadows growing longer, find yourselves back in your suite to freshen up.
Perhaps a brief recline amongst the textured fabrics and French linens that nod to the global fashion DNA of Collins Street’s Paris End. Other inclusions include Pinterest worthy bathrooms with rain showers, deep soaking tub, Dyson hairdryer and straightener plus heavenly Melbourne based Hunter Lab products (in eco-wise sizes) to ensure your home-away-from-home for the night – or several days – has all the extra touches you desire.
Heels On – Melbourne Style
“With the sparkly hours ahead, the third-floor awaits”
Time to dress for drinks and dinner. And you won’t have to venture far to one of the city’s most talked about new destinations – La Madonna Restaurant and Bar. Perched on Level 3 of Next Hotel Melbourne, an entire floor is dedicated to dining, drinking and the culinary creativity of two of the city’s hottest chefs, Adrian Li and Danny Natoli. Check out the Broadsheet review of Melbourne’s best new restaurants.
Meet at the sleek New York style bar or sink leisurely into a lounge with a city-loft style view – either way we’d recommend the 1951 Martini matured in ex-Chardonnay Barrels for two weeks as a very good place to start.
What comes next is up to you. Stay where you are and graze the bites and plates and let the team guide you through the barrel aged cocktail list (more on the first in scale in-hotel barrel ageing program ). Or if you prefer, take up residence at one of the tables or booths in La Madonna’s restaurant.
Check out a sample menu, though the chefs love to simply feed guests with a progression of their favourite dishes and matching wines – so there’s no need for decisions, just more time for talking!
Kicking On – The Bars in Melbourne
While La Madonna Restaurant & Bar is open until the wee hours, Melbourne has always been a city of night owls and she’s more than a little overdue for the click of happy heels on her pavements!
If you’re in the mood for a little late-night adventure, some of our favourite Melbourne bars are:
- Arlechin, a late-night laneway bar from the Grossi family
- Dessous, a very Melbourne laneway basement bar
- Romeo Lane Cocktail Bar
- Gin Palace, an iconic piece of Melbourne that has been serving since 1997.
- Nick & Noras, one of our 80 Collins neighbours – spread across five rooms and three balconies with cocktails, champagne towers and fancy canapes. Makes for an easy return to your room.
And depending on timing, keep in mind the Flash Forward laneway gigs while you are out and about.
At the end of the evening, sated and soul-replenished, the shoes can come off, the Bose sound system comes on, and you can enjoy a late-night chat over local herbal teas and tempting Koko Black chocolates from the not-so-traditional minibar.
You’ll soon be waking up on a weekend very well spent.
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