In August, 2014 my girlfriend and I spent two weeks in Australia. We generally aim to travel at least twice a year, and our “sweet spot” for hotels is the local currency’s equivalent of $200 CAD/night—bonus points if breakfast is included. As serviced apartments are apparently quite popular in Australia (and less expensive than “hotels” proper) we decided on two Punthill properties—the Punthill Little Bourke in Melbourne and the Punthill Brisbane in, well… Brisbane.
This is a review of the Punthill Little Bourke.
An early check-in was a big deal for us, as we had not seen a bed since our cab to the Toronto airport, almost 36 hours prior. It was after 11am local time when we arrived at the Punthill, and though we were initially told our room wasn’t yet ready, after we had freshened up in the change rooms for the pool (gym?) we were able to check in… Achievement unlocked!
When I made my reservation back in the spring I made a specific request for apartment #511, based on a review I had read here on TripAdvisor. As it turned out this is the exact room we stayed in, a spacious one-bedroom unit with a queen bed, kitchen and both a washer/dryer and jacuzzi in the bathroom.
The kitchen proved to be very handy for early-morning and late-night snacks. The living room had a nice view out over the courtyard in front of the property, but I felt like the room itself had seen better days. There were noticeable paint scratches on the walls, likely from the lids of heavy suitcases like ours (but not actually ours, just to be clear). And the sofa was really uncomfortable, so much so that when we had a friend over she sat on the floor.
No issues with the bed though, or noise. And everything in the apartment was kept clean throughout our stay.
We had chosen the Little Bourke over other contenders—Fraser Place Melbourne, Causeway 353 Hotel—because of it’s unique locale, smack dab in the middle of Melbourne’s Chinatown. In retrospect it proved to be a fairly good choice, with most of Melbourne’s main attractions easily accessible on foot. But I wouldn’t fault anyone for wanting to stay further south, closer to Collins Street and Flinders Lane.
There is a restaurant attached to the property called The Tea House but honestly, we never saw a soul in there during our entire stay. Fortunately there are lots of other places to eat nearby. For Dim Sum I’d recommend Crystal Jade just up the street towards Russell. For an Aussie-style breakfast you can’t go wrong with Trunk Diner—a big thanks to the front desk staff for recommending it!
Would we stay at the Punthill Little Bourke again? I don’t think so. The lack of an on-site breakfast option is a big minus for me, even if there’s lots to eat close by. I personally prefer to get a hearty breakfast and healthy dose of coffee out of the way first thing in the morning, leaving more hours in the day to explore.
Were I to return to Melbourne anytime soon I would look into staying somewhere a little closer to Collins and Flinders. The Novotel Melbourne on Collins and Swanston Grand Mercure are two properties I’d consider. In the opposite direction, The Marriott looked really nice if you’re willing to spend more.
I can’t deny the value of Punthill Little Bourke, though. We booked in March for a stay in August, and ended up paying about $150 CAD/night all-in.