The main purpose of staying in Melbourne’s CBD was to attend the Australian Open, so location factored highly in our decision for the Punthill Manhattan Apartments. Though not inexpensive, the fact that we could walk to Rod Laver arena in under 10 minutes was an absolute plus. Furthermore, we had a full kitchen and laundry facilities, so we could freshen up our wardrobe a week into the trip.
The hotel offers discounted parking at an adjacent parking garage for $16/night and due to Eric’s rock-star navigation skills, we arrived at the hotel after a series of left-hand turns, which meant no hook turns to negotiate. I street parked, while Eric ran in to double-check which of the three nearby parking decks we were supposed to use (and grab an exit ticket). The guy checking us in was very friendly and we spied a listing of that day’s tennis action on the front desk. Internet was an extra $10 for the length of our stay but we have yet to be charged, so I’m not sure how well that’s enforced. Definitely get the exit ticket before paying at the deck, it was a $114 discount for just two days!
Unfortunately, we didn’t have much luck with reception after our good check-in experience. The following day, I asked the front desk to help us make reservations at a nearby place for dinner and he replied that ‘they didn’t do that’ but I was welcome to use my room phone and incur local call charges. Gee, thanks. Personally, I think he just didn’t want to help us, as I thought that was a weird policy for a hotel with a staffed front desk. We also noticed that the tub faucet didn’t work (only the shower head) and there was no plug for the drain. So, having a tub wasn’t really that helpful if there was no feasible way to take a bath. Small gripes to be sure, but worth noting.
the bed was separated from the living space and quite pleasantly dark; the bathroom with washer/dryer
our kitchen area and the front lobby entrance
I was recovering from a 36-hour bug while Eric was coming down with one, so we didn’t eat out much in Melbourne, mostly brekkie and comfort food.
After parking the car and checking in we had a few hours before the tennis night session started, so we ventured out on foot for some dinner. Mrs Parmas was a good choice because I was in the mood for Italian and they only have Victorian craft beers on their menu. Eric stuck with the traditional chicken parm plate while I ordered the prosciutto with eggplant. The draft beers were on the hoppy and light side, so we both opted for bottles.
The next morning, we wanted a filling breakfast to tide us over for a day of tennis, so we popped next door to Cafe 53 for a tasty salmon omelet with dill and fresh spinach for me and a (leg) ham & cheese sandwich for Eric. This place was full of folks waiting for coffee to go but at those prices I settled for the instant stuff back in the room. We mentioned that we were staying next door so they let us bring actual plates home to eat. The girls said we could leave the plates at the front desk, but I quickly washed and returned them on our way to the arena.
Cafe 53 storefront; my huge omelet
After a day of tennis and walking around to photograph graffiti alleys, we opted for a light dinner. I stopped at Pieface for a Thai chicken pie, which at $5 is the cheapest meal we ate in Australia! Eric finished the other half of his breakfast sandwich with a blood orange soda. Note to self: Ginger Ale is not a popular beverage in Australia convenience stores.
Pieface pie; granola, yogurt and fresh fruit @ Cumulus Inc
Quite unexpectedly, due to an Instagram conversation on a photo I posted from Rod Laver the day before, we were treated to breakfast on our last morning in Melbourne. Veda Gilbert, a food writer, had visited Durham a few months ago on a trip through the South and met a mutual friend of ours who then introduced us online. We both had the morning free, so she met us at the hotel and we grabbed the last table at nearby Cumulus Inc. for coffee and conversation. I wasn’t very hungry, so I nibbled on a towering blueberry-hazelnut-apple muffin, while Eric went for the filling house-made granola with strawberry rhubarb yogurt. We left promising to return the favor when she makes it back to the States!