Friday, 14 December 2012

Hilton on the Park - Melbourne

As long time readers will know, I have a history with this hotel, my first stay was appalling and things have been getting better and better since. This pattern continued with the check-in this time.

I was some hours before check-in. Originally, I would have been happy to drop bags and go for an extended wander, however, Friday 14th was a day when it decided that it was going to rain rather heavily in Melbourne, so I'd decided that if I could hole up in some corner with WiFi, that would be find.

I've opted on this trip to get non-smoking rooms (no choice in Sydney) on the grounds that I feel that the upgrade pool is better and that it's usually warm enough to go out for a smoko. 

I was welcomed, not chided for being several hours earlier than check-in starts (I'm looking at certain Londump Hiltons here) and was told that they would prioritise my room, but if I wanted to go up to the Exec Lounge, I could wait there, it might be a couple of hours. That seemed fine to me and here's a wifi voucher.

Two long blacks and a pastry later, they showed up with a key and had already transferred my bags. It's a modernised corner suite, I couldn't be much happier.

Anyway, day 1 was Zombie day, apart from the odd smoko and a trip to the 7-11, it pretty much confined to base, where I worked out that what I had forgotten and what I needed to get for my stay in Melbs. I did whinge about about the WiFi, which seemed a bit slow and determined to only allow one device at a time - on reflection from the other two stays in Australia, it was decent. Dinner on Day 1 was room service - Chicken Parm and Fries, the fries were good, the Chicken Parn wasn't. I didn't order room service again.

Day 2 was a nice walk down into Central Melbourne, picked up the essentials, charged up my MyKi, had a couple of coffees, back to the hotel, scoped out Bridge St and ended up at Grill'd for a late lunch. Grill'd was good. A slow walk back up the other side of Bridge St back to the hotel for a short nap and then out to Two Fat Indians for dinner. Good Lamb Saag, but I need to remember to order it desi style, skippy doesn't do spice.

Day 3 was a rather longer walk along the Yarra, starting at the Casino and ending at the other end of Bridge St (I meant to go on a further 5km, but my heel was starting to chafe), pho for lunch and then back for a somewhat longer rest that I had managed. Dinner was a take out pizza from just up the parade - great toppings, weird base.

Day 4 was the traditional trip to St Kilda and a lovely day for it, an early lunch then a snap decision to go to the zoo, returned from that and head down Brunswick St to have dinner at Vegie Bar and then back to repack.

Then the next morning, it was time to repack and head off to Brisvegas, but there were early morning balloons to make me happy. It's nice to open the curtains and have hot air balloons hanging lazily in the sky just outside the window.

You'll notice a lack of mentions of the lounge. I used the lounge for breakfast every morning, I found it decent for that. The staff were very friendly and good at customer service. The view of the MCG from the lounge was great. However, both afternoon tea and evening canapes were, ahem, disappointing in terms of quality and after day 1, I only used the lounge for breakfast and the odd swift bottle of Coke Zero.

However, the suite was great and the cleaners did a good job of picking up after me, the only slight disappointment was turndown service, which seemed to occur about 5pm and consisted of no changes to bedding arrangements, just placing a mentos and a room service breakfast hanger on the bed. What's the point?

My point stands, every time I've been to the Hilton on the Park, it has got better and better. Next time it should be fabulous.

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