Just a few minutes drive north of Melbourne lies St Kilda beach. Overlooking the ocean is the six-storey Novotel, built in recent years, and an imposing building on the St Kilda coastline. Adjacent to the hotel is a local park, and monument, and guests enjoy views of the greenery, as well as the ocean. The hotel is separated from the beach by two roads, and a tram line (yes, trams run right alongside the hotel, inter-connecting with the city, and suburbs of Melbourne). The long, white, sandy beach abutts green parklands and the views from the hotel are terrific (on the oceanside). There are no balconies. Access to the hotel is confusing, and it took several minutes to negotiate the right access road, and then I ended up at the rear of the hotel. I bounced in and looked for the signs to reception, but couldn't see any, and the lay-out was not altogether explanatory. Eventually I came across a staff member who directed me up a couple of flights of stairs to an area from where the reception could be seen. There was one attendant at reception, and within a couple of minutes my reservation was underway. The only problem was it hadn't arrived at reception. The receptionist eventually tracked it down in their reservations section, after quite some minutes more, during which two other parties had arrived at reception. After some time two other receptionists hurriedly appeared from behind closed doors, and rapidly dealt with the other parties. Eventually I was booked in (at a rate of AUD 150 a night), and was directed to room 605, on the 6th (top) floor of the hotel. There were no porters so I carried my own bags up to the lift, and eventually found Room 605. On entering the most profound impression was the smallness of the room. It was probably a little more than half of s standard size (modern day) hotel room. The room had a queen bed, two bedside tables adjoining the headrest, one with a phone, and local telephone directories, and the other with a clock radio. There was a tub chair, and small dining table, and a work desk and chair, which was part of a bench which also contained the TV and a mini-fridge (stocked with mini-bar items). A modem and separated power point were provided on the work desk bench, however the modem didn't work, and I had to access Internet through the telephone. There was an inter-connecting door to an adjacent room, which of course was locked. Tan and blue, beige, and marine green were the colours of the decor, which was fine. The best thing about the room though, was the view over the ocean. The bathroom was very small, a combined bath and shower, and toilet in a compact room, with a sink, and virtually no bench space at the entrance. A small wardrobe was also in this area, which contained an iron, and ironing board. A hair-dryer was provided in the area as well.
After settling in I went down to the dining room, which was below the reception level. The restaurant area was divided, and the second half was being used by a conference. A buffet had been prepared, no doubt for the conference, and as I was the only other diner I was offered the buffet, or items from the menu. I selected the buffet, but was told I would have to eat in the bar, as the restaurant "had been set for dinner". When I thought about this I thought it was a bit slack. To have used a table, and the same implements, would have caused the staff no additional trouble. Nonetheless I used the bar area, and enjoyed a 3 course meal, from a variety of well presented dishes, for a cost of $20. I later learnded that a breakfast buffet was served in the Bayside Brasserie each day from 6:30AM to 10:30AM. There was also a fitness centre on the main foyer level, open from 6:00AM to 11:00PM each day.
Probably the best thing about the Novotel St Kilda Beach was its proximity to the beach and the cosmopolitan atmosphere of St Kilda, which houses a multitude of cafes, restaurants, bars, galleries, entertainment venues, and markets. Directly opposite the hotel is the Palais Theatre, and the Palace Theatre, and nearby, Luna Park, an amusement and theme venue. The other big advantage is the hotel is only 10 minutes from the Melbourne CBD. A nice hotel, rooms a little small, but the views compensate.
Get a daily dose of Florida Statesman news through our daily email, its complimentary and keeps you fully up to date with world and business news as well.