After 20 Years, Does the Return of Le Méridien Melbourne Live Up to the Hype?

It’s that time of year again where social media fills us with excitement and longing for an adventure. As our Instagram feeds overflow with envy-inducing European summer snapshots, most yearn for a pebbly beach in Santorini. Meanwhile, I find myself savouring cocktails on a rooftop pool in Melbourne. While I can’t deny the allure of basking in the warming rays of the Mykonos sun, I am revelling in the Euro-chic ambience of the recently opened Lé Meridien Melbourne.

It’s been two decades since Le Méridien graced Australian shores, and its return is a warm welcome. Moreover, its choice of location couldn’t be more perfect. Nestled in the historic 20 Bourke Street, which originally served as a hotel in the 1950s before undergoing various transformations as a cinema, theatre, and even a nightclub, the building stands as a remarkable testament to the art-deco architectural style. Inside, mid-century style reigns supreme and a lot more. I was lucky enough to snap up a room for a few nights, and here are my unfiltered thoughts on the new luxury accommodation.

le meridien melbourne


Check-in starts with an impressive open lobby where guests get the first taste of what’s to come. The space is kept clean and sophisticated with polished natural stone, while mid-century-inspired furniture adds playful character and warmth. Art fills the lobby with a large-scale sculptural installation by Marta Figueiredo and a projected video playing on a loop created by Wendy Yu. The art serves as an introduction to Le Méridien’s global Unlock Art programme, which connects guests with the “Art of Noticing” self-guided walking tour and complimentary access to local cultural attractions, all simply accessible by presenting their Unlock Art room key.

Opposite the reception desk is Intermission, a cafe meets wine bar meets gelato station. The best part; when you check in, you get a complimentary Le Scoop, which is a fancy way of saying you get free gelato. What more could you want?

le meridien melbourne

The Room

After devouring a scoop of spiced plum, it was time to make myself at home. Much to my delight, the spacious room opts for a contemporary meets mid-century style. I don’t know about you but I love a clean, open hotel room. Some hotels try too hard to add colours and textures; this room is comfortable yet feels luxurious, with a marble bathroom, velvet chairs, and crisp white sheets.

Speaking of the bathroom, it’s massive. Think room enough for a shower and a bathtub housed in the shower. Although I will admit, I never understood the need for a viewing window into the bedroom from the bathroom. I’ve seen it a few times in hotels and will never understand why. With that said, it didn’t bother me at all during my stay.

My room’s floor-to-ceiling window looks over Parliament House and stretches all the way to St Patrick’s Cathedral and a big lush green park. Once I started looking around, I found bottled cocktails from The Everleigh Bottling Co, Marshall Speakers, chic books telling tales of Europe and travel guides to Melbourne. There’s even a turntable with a selection of vinyl to play.

le meridien melbourne

Le Splash

Let’s hark back to the European vibes for a second. I mentioned sipping cocktails on a rooftop pool. That was from Le Splash, the hotel’s rooftop pool, inspired by European beach clubs you’re probably spotting on your social media feeds. The cocktail bar has all your libations covered. You can also get hand-crafted gelati up here. Who needs an expensive flight to Europe when you can lick gelati and sip Aperol spritz atop Le Meridien Melbourne? Adjacent to the pool is a gym and sauna, and I heard whispers that an outdoor cinema will be joining the deck later in the year.

le meridien melbourne


A hotel restaurant is the last place on my list when I’m mapping out a dining hit list, especially when visiting a city like Melbourne, known for its culinary excellence. But considering I had a generous invitation to dine at the hotel’s restaurant, I made an exception to my rule. Descending the spiral staircase, I entered Dolly—a captivating underground venue boasting a polished ambience reminiscent of the 1930s, paying homage to the building’s rich theatrical past. The plush velvet booths, bars adorned with fluted glass, and dim lighting all contributed to a moody and romantic atmosphere, setting the stage for a truly memorable dining experience.

With a nod to its cinema heritage, the menu at this establishment is cleverly structured like a theatrical production. Each section represents an act unfolding a culinary drama. Act one is dedicated to oysters, while act two introduces a range of enticing entrees.

In act two, the Tasmanian cured salmon roulade takes centre stage with its delicate flavours and impeccable balance. This unexpected gem defied the expectations I have of a typical hotel restaurant. Its presence on the menu is a testament to the creativity and thoughtfulness of the culinary team.

le meridien melbourne

As for the main act, my server’s recommendation led me to the Director’s Cut, also known as the beef Wellington. Yet, this rendition goes far beyond the traditional interpretation. Transforming into a medallion of succulent beef, it is wrapped in prosciutto, silverbeet, and mushrooms, before being encased in a thin, crispy pastry sheet. Completing this gastronomic masterpiece is a harmonising smear of sauce Robert.

The evening reached its climax with an extraordinary finale: a sensational bomb Alaska from Dolly. Once again, Dolly surpassed all expectations, presenting a dazzling creation on a golden trolley—a flaming bomb Alaska topped with a surprising twist: a scoop of crunchy, sweet popcorn.  The culinary performance displayed such finesse and expertise that I would eagerly sit through the entire show repeatedly, captivated by the gastronomic brilliance.

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