Being a fan of luxury and upscale Accor properties and after finding out about the recent renovations to this property (including the addition of an Executive Lounge), I decided to book a couple of stays over May and June as romantic local escapes during the recent Accor sale. After dropping in and checking out the rooms and lounge (with a very friendly and helpful staff member – Emma), I booked a third stay for April, and convinced a family member to book a stay also for April.
I have incorporated the first two stays in this review. Although there were a few minor issues regarding Le Club Accor status recognition and closure of the lounge on the first stay, it was still enjoyable and the issues were more than made up for in the second stay.
The hotel lobby is impressively designed, with the effect of the crisp white walls of the levels above the lobby, the modern light fixtures and a staircase leading to the first level giving a very nice, modern feel as the first impression of the hotel.
Late checkout was organised for a fairly generous 3pm on the first stay (though that involved a bit of push and shove to be later than the standard checkout of 11am), and an extremely generous 5pm on the second stay - which occurred without having to even request it. Although we did not stay right until the end of the checkout time on either stay, having generous late checkout is always appreciated.
Being able to wait at the bar made the check in and wait-for-room experience an enjoyable - though not terribly speedy one on both stays. The bar at the lobby level does a very good Bloody Mary, and a passable (though not great) Martini, and has a nice selection of other cocktails, beer and wine. On both of my stays drink vouchers were included as part of the Le Club Accor Platinum status welcome, allowing the above drinks. This is a fantastic touch, and much better than when the hotel decides what you are having as your welcome drink (I have left far too many fruity cocktails half consumed in SE Asian Accor properties).
The rooms are where this hotel really shines. The size of the rooms, the room colour/ design choices and the views were all excellent in the Executive Lake View Rooms. I was truly surprised at this feeling of spaciousness in an Australian upscale hotel on both stays (as opposed to the Sofitel Melbourne - where the Club access rooms feel quite cramped). The room on the first stay was slightly larger, though I actually preferred the second room – slightly smaller but I think nicer.
The beds are not quite as 'cloud like' as some other Pullman and Sofitel beds. Although the bed was slightly firmer than I was expecting on the first stay, it is not necessarily a bad thing as ultra soft beds don't always equal the best sleep. Either way, the beds are still very comfortable.
In the room for the second stay there were (always appreciated) welcome note(s) for Le Club Accor status, with a printed and hand written provided. A bowl of fruit was provided as the check-in gift, which was also appreciated. Overall the status recognition on the second stay was very good – at the same level as nicer SE Asian chain hotels (which generally trump their Australian counterparts).
The lounge access was one of the main reasons I booked at the Pullman Albert Park. I had assumed that booking an Executive Lake View Room gave access to the Executive Lounge. This assumption was based on this being the way to get access at all other Accor hotels stayed in (where Club or Executive Room bookings give access to the Club Lounge/ Executive Lounge). Unfortunately this assumption was wrong for this property, and lounge access is only granted by paying for it as an extra – or by being Le Club Accor Platinum (which I thought meant I was doubly covered). I think it would make sense for the hotel to review this, and raise the cost of the nicest rooms slightly to incorporate lounge access (it would make them money for guests who don't use it as well as avoid confusion and make the experience more luxurious for those booking the nicest rooms).
The interior design of the Executive Lounge is well thought out (though with fairly uninspiring views – they have been deservedly reserved for the Lake View rooms). There are a fairly large number of seats for the at-the-moment underutilised lounge. The staff member who attended the lounge (I did not catch her name) was fantastic, and she conducted herself with the right ratio of professionalism and friendliness. Available all day at the lounge was a selection of soft drinks (in the old school glass bottles which is a nice touch), juices, sparkling water, tea and coffee, apples, and very tasty passionfruit biscuits. The canapés provided in the evening were decent, and the limited alcohol selection was of pretty good quality – both were enjoyed immensely. Although the quality of the food cannot be compared to the Sofitel on Collins lounge (which I actually preferred as much or more than dishes at No. 35 Restaurant at that same hotel), it was on par with some international Sofitel properties and many Pullman properties, though with an understandably very limited selection given the number of clients. The breakfast was very relaxed and of high quality in the lounge. There was a nice selection of hot food, pastries, fruit, cheese etc. I can thoroughly recommend booking lounge access with your room, as the whole experience was very enjoyable and lounge access makes a stay feel much more luxurious.
The breakfast was quite good in the restaurant on the first stay as well, though it was very busy and cramped. The selection was much larger in the restaurant than in the lounge, though surprisingly the quality and freshness seemed better in the lounge (I write surprising, as one would assume that they come from the same batches of food with the lounge changed less frequently).
The room service ordered on the first stay was really good - which is not always the case in nice hotels, or even in nice hotels with good restaurants.
The movie on demand system had a great selection of fairly recent movies, which made getting the unlimited movie deal worthwhile.
Overall, I think this hotel deserves to be ranked much higher on Tripadvisor than it currently is (a relic of the previous branding of the hotel I expect), as it is definitely a better property with better value than many of the hotels ranked higher.
I look forward to my next stay in just under a month.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Pullman Melbourne Albert Park is located opposite Albert Park Lake, just minutes from Melbourne’s CBD and St Kilda’s beaches. The hotel offers 379 spacious guest rooms featuring LCD TV's, on demand movies, satellite television and internet access, in-room safe, iron and ironing board, mini-bar as well as tea & coffee making facilities. The hotel also features a gymnasium, indoor pool, spa and sauna as well as three dining outlets. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Sebel And Citigate Albert Park Melbourne
- The Sebel & Citigate Albert Park Melbourne Hotel Melbourne
- Sebel Albert Park Hotel Melbourne