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The Albany Hotel, Melbourne (Australia)

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Hotel in South Yarra district of Melbourne

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      01.08.2011 16:21
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      Fab base from which to explore Melbourne, you would struggle to beat it for the price and location.

      We recently stayed 3 nights at the Albany Hotel in the South Yarra district of Melbourne. It is part of the Bloomfield group of hotels in this area which also includes the Bloomfield Hotel and South Yarra Residencies. The Albany also has four different levels of room ranging from basic, budget rooms on the ground floor to rooms with access to a rooftop pool at the other end of the scale.

      We choose to stay in one of the 'Original Superior' rooms which is effectively a refurbished budget room. It cost us about £60 a night, room only, which for the location we thought was actually pretty good value. And, to be honest, it is all about the location with this hotel. Walking distance from the river and Flinders Street if you can be bothered (about a 45 minute walk) or 5 minutes from various tram lines which take you either into the city centre or out to St Kilda.

      We actually felt that it was the best of both worlds because it is on a fairly quiet residential street, at either end bordered by parkland and therefore there are lots of lovely little boutique coffee shops and restaurants, utilised by the locals and therefore cheaper and far nicer than the tourist haunts of the city centre. Breakfast at these places was a delight and a darn sight cheaper than that offered in the hotel itself so do utilise these if you stay there.

      As regards the hotel itself, we found all the staff to be very friendly and courteous. We had a problem from the outset in that the key for our room did not work (it was a large, old fashioned metal key). After numerous attempts we had to get housekeeping to let us in. Front desk staff were very apologetic and promised to get their caretaker to fix the lock while we were out and they duly did.

      Our room was on the ground floor right at the back of the motel-like outside section of the hotel. It was fairly basic and most of the furniture was a bit dated but it did have a very modern and clearly recently refurbished bathroom with funky black and red tiles and a fabulous and powerful, large walk in shower. The main room just had a bed with sidetables, a long shelf along the opposite wall and a TV on a bracket facing the bed. Although the TV was clearly quite old it worked perfectly and we had a multitude of channels so no complaints from us.

      Behind the sliding doors which led to the bathroom there was also a large cupboard which contained a kettle and coffee and tea making facilities as well as an ironing board and iron. This space also gave some capacity to hang clothes as it also contained a rail and some spare bedding. We did not struggle for space but neither would I say space was in abundance!

      A nice feature of this hotel is that they have a PC hooked up to the internet in the lobby which is totally free for guests to use. We really appreciated this and used it a number of times, we never had a problem getting on it and they have it set to 20 minute periods before it will ask you to log back in, therefore encouraging people to be considerate of other people waiting to use it.

      We did not use the restaurant although they offer full breakfasts and other options, I did use the bar to meet with some friends and the house wine was pretty expensive ($18 for two regular glasses!) but then most hotels in Australia offer the same kind of prices. Much cheaper to buy a bottle and drink it in your room!

      We really liked this place due to the location, the price and the friendly staff. We both also slept really well here as it was fairly quiet, I would definitely stay here again if we went back to Melbourne and would recommend it as a great value base from which to explore the city.

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