We bed test two of Melbourne funkiest, sleekest penthouses offering a very different experiences of the high life.
If you had a rich uncle I bet this is where he would live, up high above the city laneways. He knows how to party and is the ultimate host (he’s never there). When you arrive the fridge is stocked with beers, boutique wine and an artful array of organic mixers. The kitchen bench is a Wondersnack mountain of goodies ranging from Charlie’s Savoury bites, Monsieur Truffle chocolate bars and lolly jars. Then there’s danger – a cocktail bar accompanied by a blackboard of recipes for you to get suitably tipsy along with full size bottles of Jack Daniels, Gordon’s Gin and all essential rookie bar tender paraphernalia. What’s more it’s all yours with his compliments.
If you don’t have a rich uncle then consider OVOLO laneway as part of your immediate family. Arriving late in the evening, we miss the complimentary cocktail and canapé hour (drat!) normally held in the narrow corridor aka reception. Given the bottle shop waiting in our fridge upstairs, just as well! Pressing the button for the penthouse, a sign says “Apologies for Grandpa Lifts noisy joints…we did offer to throw him a farewell party but he said he was too old and squeaky. A slicker replacement is coming soon” The hotels personality breaks the formal hotel rule book of what a GM should say when things go wrong. You can’t help but be amused by creativity and playfulness which is OVOLO.
OMG 1 is the name of our penthouse for the next night – aptly named. Pushing past the bright red door, party central is ours. My partner in crime, Mr G pounces on the pinball machine. There is something addictive in the lights, noise and drama which induces a trancelike state. It’s the adult male equivalent of an episode of the Teletubbies. Mr G is transfixed in a new and happy land. Good bye romance.
It’s an entertainers delight; blazing with personality. We share the space with Bowie, Bono and Jagger who grace the wall with their pop art busts. Flashes of citrus on a monochrome palate don’t distract from the enormous kitchen island which has seen its fair share of fun and raucous nights especially as this penthouse has 2 kingsize bedrooms thoughtfully on either side of the living areas.
Throw in two generous sofas and this space could house even more happy party goers. We dive into our goody bags as Mr G starts working through the recipes for an OVOLO sour. It’s extremely rewarding to watch such a rare thing as seeing this male beast in the kitchen. That’s what a penthouse can do to you…bring out the wonderful and unpredictable!
If the interior wasn’t breathtaking enough, outside takes it to a new level… sliding glass doors reveal another ‘wow moment’. A huge hot tub is roaring with steam rising up into the Melbourne night air. We jump in and peruse which of the chill out areas to test out next …a large padded garden bench wide enough to sleep on or the Wimbledon-esque layout of astro turf, bean bags and low tables.
After a blissful evening’s sleep I’m up early for breakfast; but my plans are scuppered, there is no restaurant. Shock horror for hotel buffet fiends such as myself! All is not lost. At reception there is an array of continental breakfast items from croissants to quiches. Grabbing a paper bag (well OK, two) I retreat back upstairs to munch in the tranquility of my own home. Perhaps that’s why grandpa elevator is a bit tired, too many buffet elevator runs? As we wave goodbye to the bubbly personalities at reception, it’s hard not to wish that this was one home we had in the family.
Best for Glamour & Romance – COMO – Gold Suite
I’m getting flashbacks to Fifty Shades of Grey; the baby grand Steinbeck piano is a head turner reflecting off the black marble floor. Double height floor to ceiling windows take your eyes skyward to the buildings beyond as spiral stair case weaves its way up to… heaven? (I can confirm no red room of pain here).
A single oversize black leather sofa pronounces that this is a place where you’re meant to share things together, even if a tan leather reading chair and gold footstools might provide solo options. A stunning black table seats ten, matched with immaculate white leather chairs. This penthouse is sexy, sleek and achingly beautiful. It doesn’t come with its own Christian Grey (Good job I brought mine with me!) but if he owned an apartment I am guessing this is it.
Upstairs the open plan loft style bedroom has a curved galley, allowing you to look down onto the floor below. King-size beds are illuminated with the loft glow from the down lights.
A good view from bed is essential and this one’s a little novel – your entertainment is via an open archway onto a designer white standalone bath. It’s a masterpiece – or living art in motion depending on weather you wish to take your plunge solo or chose to invite the hotel’s cute rubber duckie – ‘Artducko’ for a swim with you.
As it’s raining we decide to check out the hotel bar, rather than wrestle with cabs on Chapel Street. Our eager barman talks us through the options. Mr G is now sporting a whisky sour, which he chases with a mighty fine espresso martini. It seems fitting that penthouse dwellers should order scallops or something refined, instead we order a delicious chicken and mushroom jaffle and confit style Peking duck. Mains of gnocchi with lavender honey chicken and a lamb shoulder are devoured whilst chilling on a sofa for two.
Next morning the pool on the top floor is quiet and it’s a luxury to do a few laps whilst everyone is sleeping, gym bunnies can get their fix too. Breakfast is a civilized affair of continental buffet and a la carte hot options. My eggs benedict get the tick of approval and Mr G’s sweet corn fritters are a winner.
A Sunday stroll down Chapel Street is the perfect lazy morning. Como Gold Suite has given us a seductive experience. It’s gown up, sophisticated and uber glamorous which creates the ultimate challenge… to find a pair of shoes worthy of it.