Agoda Winter Escapes: Magical Melbourne
As temperatures across the northern hemisphere rise, the prospect of an escape to cooler climes becomes more appealing. While many travelers head to the beach, a holiday of sun, sand and surf isn’t the ideal vacation for everyone. But heading south for the winter has many benefits: travelers can enjoy low-season rates, temperatures are milder, summertime crowds have thinned and the spotlight focuses on indoor cultural activities.
Melbourne is one city that really comes to life during winter. Consistently ranked by The Economist as one of the world's top three most livable cities, Melbourne is widely regarded as Australia's cultural capital. Its Victorian architecture and wide avenues are frequently compared to those in Europe’s great cities, and, just like Europe, Melbourne offers world-class shopping and dining, as well as boasting a thriving arts scene.
Wintertime in Melbourne (June to August) counters the popular stereotype of Australia being a hot, dry country. Temperatures hover about the 10C mark, mornings and evenings are frosty, and the leaves fall from the trees giving the city a particularly European feel. Agoda has great ideas for a memorable escape this winter, with great Melbourne hotel rates to match right across the city.
Melbourne winter experiences
• Stroll along the Yarra River’s South Bank. The glassy grey waters of the Yarra reflect Melbourne's city lights – a beautifully romantic winter setting best viewed from some of the city's finest restaurants and hotels. Australia's only Gordon Ramsay restaurants – maze and maze Grill – can be found here.
Crown Metropol Hotel, South Bank 5 stars – from USD 184 per night. Book 30 days in advance and enjoy 25% discount. Valid for all rooms until 31 August, 2010.
Langham Hotel, South Bank 5 stars – from USD 198 per night. Book a Classic Room 28 days in advance and enjoy 10% discount. Promotion valid until 31 August, 2010.
• Shop 'til you drop. Melbourne's shopping is unrivalled in Australia. Chapel Street, Prahran features upmarket boutiques and local designers, the GPO in the city center houses Australian and international luxury brands and Fitzroy's Brunswick Street is an enclave of alternative fashion. Retail therapy is best enjoyed during the winter sales.
Art Series The Olsen Hotel, Chapel Street 5 stars – from USD 155 per night. Stay 3 nights and enjoy 30% discount. Valid until 23 September, 2010.
Art Series The Cullen, Prahran 5 stars – from USD 162 per night. Stay 3 nights and enjoy 30% discount. Valid until 23 September, 2010.
• Explore the laneways. Melbourne's inner city features narrow winding laneways that hide hundreds of tiny bars, clubs, shops and cafés. It's surprising what can be found while seeking shelter from the elements.
The Windsor Hotel, city CBD 5 stars – from USD 160 per night. Stay 2 nights and enjoy 20% discount. Valid until 31 August, 2010. www.agoda.com/pacific_ocean_and_australia/australia/melbourne/windsor_hotel.html
Kingsgate Hotel, city CBD 3 stars – rates from USD 95 per night. Enjoy 10% discount on all room types.
• Dine al fresco. Melbourne can be cold year round, so restaurants and pubs are well prepared with oil heaters to keep patrons warm. Al fresco dining is particularly popular in Carlton and along the picturesque South Bank.
Central Sky Lounge, city CBD 4 stars – rates from USD 101. Book 28 days in advance and enjoy 15% discount.
Bayview on the Park Hotel, St Kilda Road 4 stars – standard room rates from USD 98 per night – enjoy 10% discount.
• Sample Chinatown’s spicy treats. Last year Anthony Bourdain proclaimed Melbourne's Chinatown the best producer of Sichuan food outside of the Chinese province. Chinatown is right in the city center, a short walk from the famous Bourke Street mall.
Grand Hyatt Hotel, city CBD 5 stars – from USD 242 per night. Book 28 days in advance and enjoy 10% discount. Valid until 31 December, 2010.
Causeway 353, city CBD 4 stars – Agoda rate from USD 128 per night.
Normal rate USD 342. Specials available across all room types.
• Play your cards right. No visit to Melbourne is complete without a trip to the Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex. Apart from housing an immense modern casino, it has cinemas, concert halls, nightclubs, restaurants, bowling alleys and all sorts of family entertainment. The complex is open 24/7 with everything from high roller rooms to one-cent slot machines available.
Crown Towers, South Bank 5 stars – from USD 293 per night. Book 30 days in advance, minimum 2 nights and enjoy 20% discount. Valid until 31 August, 2010.
Crown Promenade Hotel, South Bank 4.5 stars – from USD 217 per night. Stay 2 nights and enjoy 20% discount. Valid for all rooms until 31 August, 2010.
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