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Saturday 23 May 2015

A terrific discovery: somewhere quirky and fun to stay in Melbourne

Don't you just hate it when you are quoted, say, $250 a night for a hotel room and end up in a shoe box paying an extra $50-60 because you needed to use the wifi, wanted a breakfast juice, fancied a beer and some crisps from the minibar and had the temerity to watch a movie?

There are no such problems at Ovolo Laneways, a quirky apartment hotel in downtown Melbourne that is inspired by the city’s eclectic sub-cultures. 

Think graffiti art on the walls, bright lights, space, no hidden charges. And you are right in the centre of the action on Little Bourke Street with Chinatown on your doorstep and Federation Square and Spring Street's restaurants and wine bars just a short stroll away.

Ovolo Laneways' new Penthouse and Terrace Suites pay tribute to the inner-city creativity - and the laneway which the apartments overlook is itself decorated with street art. 

I sampled a Terrace suite last weekend and it ticked all my key boxes; comfortable and clean, free wifi, plenty of power points, and a free minibar with a load of Coopers beers, soft drinks and waters, as well as complimentary crisps, peanuts and chocolates.

There is plenty of kitchen space, enough room (and the equipment) to whip up some cocktails and enough funky space to hold a party.

Both the Penthouse and Terrace suites include two-bedrooms, en-suite and second bathrooms, spacious lounge and dining areas, three flat-screen TVs, state-of-the-art sound systems and chic little private balconies perfect for a late afternoon cocktail. Although I must admit six remote control units is overkill in anyone's book. 

And, as previously mentioned, all Ovolo Hotel guests receive free daily replenished in-room bar and snacks, breakfast, happy hour in the Lo Lounge, access to a Nintendo Wii and games, Apple TV and wifi - all complimentary. 

The beds are extremely comfortable and the bathrooms well equipped. A friend had reported noise issues, but I had none. It might pay on check-in to request a quiet room if city noise is likely to be on concern. 

There is good news, too, in the lobby, where reception is manned by bright, knowledgeable people a million miles away from some of the slack-jawed nincompoops who check you in and out of chain hotels nowadays. 

Ovolo Laneways is full of surprises and hidden treasures, just like Melbourne," says hyperbole-driven Dirk Dalichau from Ovolo. So think touches like a Nespresso machine in the lobby and random artworks in the corridors.

The 43-room boutique hotel is close to the theatre district, boutique shopping precincts, an abundance of renowned eateries and bars and iconic Melbourne laneways and was the first international property to be acquired by Hong Kong brand Ovolo Group in 2012.

Ovolo Laneways was voted Australasia’s Best City Boutique Hotel at the 2014 World Boutique Hotel Awards. 

Options range from studios for short business trips to the entertaining potential of the Penthouse and Terraces. 

Room prices start from $260 for a studio (and can be found cheaper online) and there is flexible 24-hour check-out on offer - a huge bonus for anyone with a flight to catch. 

Ovolo Laneways is at  19 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, 3000. (03) 8692 0777.  

To celebrate its new suites, Ovolo Laneways is offering 25% off for stays booked until July 2015, although terms and conditions apply.  

For more information visit:

# The writer was a guest of Ovolo Hotels 

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