Hotel Review: QT Melbourne, living our best glamorous life

We have been long time lovers of all things QT, whether it be Adriano Zumbo zhooshing up the traditional High Tea, popping in for pre-theatre cocktails or checking out their new openings around Australia and beyond. However, it’s been a while since we reviewed their Melbourne outpost including their recently reopened rooftop bar. I head from Sydney to Melbourne for a solo adventure.

The Arrival, Reception & Location

Whenever I arrive in Melbourne, the aesthetic and energy differences between here and Sydney are always striking. Melbourne with her darker, understated cool, industrial chic vibe vs the more flashier, brighter showiness of Sydney. Both are based in top CBD spots near theatre and shopping districts and offer design, a quirky attitude and top-notch service. But where the QT Sydney vibe is more theatrical and flamboyant; QT Melbourne is more restrained, art-focused and moodier.

I step into the dramatic entrance centred around the glamorous staircase that is flanked by the function area to the left and reception and foyer to the right, surrounded by carefully curated art at every turn. Check in by the uber stylish Romance Was Born attired staff is a friendly breeze and it’s off to explore!

Carefully curated cabinet of curiosities to purchase as reminders of your stay

The Lift – Taking the lift turns out to be an adventure in itself. While I (briefly) wait for it, I check out the curated cabinet of curiosities situated opposite the lift. It features exclusive Japanese knives, various QT paraphernalia, and even has pickleball racquets signed by recent Australian Open guest Naomi Osaka. This is definitely the cheekiest lift I have been in The sassy speaker has no hesitations in telling guests to “Pull yourself together, dear” when you enter and might see you off with a perky “See you later, sweet cheeks!” overlaying some classic tracks from some of my favourite bands such as Portishead.

Inside the cheekiest lift I have ever been in!

Hotel Room 206 – Corner King Suite

Stepping into the Suite, my first, second and third thoughts are WOW!! This is like a dangerously glamorous, rather grown-up studio apartment with a massive bathroom, king size bed, disco bar, separate dining area and oh my, that bathtub! If this room was an animal, it would be a panther. It’s all sleek, dark, sexy, industrial moodiness with high quality finishes and plenty of pillows, fluffy towels and muted lighting. There is oodles of space to work, relax, bathe or enjoy a drink and bite to eat. The comprehensive bar sadly is not complimentary (including the water) but stocks a high-end range of drinks and snacks you definitely don’t see elsewhere, like half bottles of Mumm, Johnnie Walkers scotch and Four Pillars gin.

The oversized bathroom is stocked with Kevin Murphy body and hair products and a Dyson hairdryer, so there’s no excuse not to look as glam as the room. The only disappointment is the bathrobe which is rough, uncomfortable and very small and there are no slippers provided. It’s a shame as I would have loved to wrap up in a plush robe to sink onto the bed with a film after a delicious soak in the bath.

Speaking of that enormous freestanding Victoria and Albert bath…it is an absolute joy to sink into after a busy day trotting around Melbourne. I drop the QT bath bomb which smells divine – it has green citrus, sage, jasmine, musk and sandalwood notes. I wish they made candles of these gorgeous flavours to take home! For the ultimate in self-care indulgence, I have swivelled the TV around to watch Barbie whilst relaxing in the bath with a glass of champagne and a face mask (because, why not?).

Sleep Quality – After that relaxing bath, I have no trouble sleeping in the enormous King sized bed, especially given it is a corner room. It is quiet and so there is no foot traffic.

Restaurant – Pascale Bar and Grill

I have invited a friend to join me for dinner on the first night. We head up the fabulous staircase and glide past several elegant private dining and wine tasting rooms. At the rear is the large open kitchen aka where the magic happens.

Cocktails… Four-Leaf Vodka Martini and Northern Lights

Given we haven’t seen each other for a while, we start with cocktails! I have the Four-Leaf vodka martini and my friend has the pretty pale pink Northern Lights with gin, strawberry and basil flavours. Executive Chef Nic Wood has created a menu that is focused on meat and seafood dishes, prepared with strong European cooking influences and adding a dash of modern Australian flair. This sentiment is also reflected in the well-curated wine list which features a mix of well-known Australian and international favourites along with plenty of choices for true connoisseurs who have both the taste (and budget) to enjoy Grower’s champagnes and back vintages of special wines served in Pascale’s Plumm stemware.

We start with the Abrolhos Scallops which are caramelised to sweet, nutty plump perfection served on the half shell drizzled with a buttery sea-urchin herby sauce. This dish partners with one of my favourite NV champagnes – the Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut. This is followed by the Abrolhos Octopus medium-chargrilled on the outside threaded onto a skewer that is perched above a romesco sauce with herb oil. Sensational! Rounding out the trio of entrees, we get the Squash flowers with scallop filling that seems to have been finely chopped and whipped into a light souffle-like concoction.

For mains, we opt for the prawn pasta which is in a word – luscious! It is glossy with prawns and yellow tomatoes layered with a chilli prawn oil sauce seductively clinging to the linguine. The Voyager Estate Chardonnay is an ideal match for the pasta. We also share the 250g Angus Sirloin from the Riverina region which is char grilled medium rare with Café de Paris alongside glimmeringly bright green long stemmed broccolini with almond flakes and tahini. And of course, a mountain of moreish rosemary salted fries that somehow magically evaporates!

Breakfast – Pascale Bar and Grill

The breakfast is unusual in that it is an a la carte offering with full table service, rather than a buffet of the usual suspects.

Grab a newspaper and settle in with a morning battery charge of Industry Beans coffee, a pot of T2 tea or a refreshing Emma and Toms green juice to start. The Spanner crab and goats cheese omelette is a light and fluffy delight. The smashed avo is sensational with firm sourdough smothered in lots of the good stuff, topped with perfectly poached eggs, cherry tomatoes, dabs of ricotta and basil leaves. No wonder it is a staff favourite! And the all-in option is suitably hearty with sausage, eggs, toast, bacon, tomatoes, mushroom and mini potato rostis filling up the plate. Whilst the bacon is too crisp for my taste, they make up for it with the (almost definitely) most fantastic potato rostis on the planet.

Rooftop at QT

Sunset at the fabulous Rooftop at QT

Friday night hits and it’s time to up the glamour ante for the trip. I take that sassy lift up to Level 11 and am met with a beautiful bar space, indoor area and the star of the show – the rooftop and it’s cityscape views on this lovely summer evening. The crowd is an all ages and backgrounds mix of dressy and more relaxed post-work and pre-dinner cross over that has a friendly upbeat energy.

The rooftop has a nice mix of walled booths and Palm Beach style low table and chairs settings and a small bar. And of course, the QT sign, perfect for fun shots for the ‘gram.  The QT loves to showcase whatever is hip and happening in that Melbourne moment so they have a pickleball court set up on the rooftop as a cheeky nod to the AO that is lots of fun and getting plenty of action throughout the night. I wonder how many balls have gone over the edge after a few too many cocktails?! And I have it on good authority that the next creative theme will strike when the Formula 1 hits town…vroom vroom!

I start with their Martini comprised of their house made QT X Four Pillars collab Gilded Chaos gin, with vermouth and served with pickled onions and their liquor on the side (is there a pickles / Pickleball theme going on, perhaps?). It is a slightly smokier and yet sweeter taste than I anticipated which is dangerously moreish. I try a delicious cheese filled zucchini flowers drizzled with raw honey. The raw tuna bowl pairs perfectly with the Perrier-Jouet champagne. Super fresh tuna cubes are mixed with avocado and served with a large smear of tahini-laced labneh and plenty of homemade seeded crackers.

The DJ is pumping some remixed old school tracks like ‘Groove is in the Heart’ and the bar is furiously shaking out plenty of inventive cocktails. This is a very happy place to be. If I lived in Melbourne, I would be here most weeks, like some of the locals I spoke with often do.

Out & About – Reine and La Rue Restaurant

After a busy Saturday exploring Melbourne, I venture out to the recently opened Reine and La Rue. This instant icon is located at the other end of Collins Street and is an imposing converted cathedral with a seafood station on one side and glamorous bar on the other. Downstairs seating is amongst what was the pews. It is the latest gem from the Nomad Group which is well known in Sydney and more recently, Melbourne. This is more of an upscale, special occasion spot than some of the other offerings.

I just have time for a quick stop, so order the Ruinart Brut champagne, which is served in a Spieglau glass (natch). I pair this with 3 different types of oysters, which are helpfully marked on the plate. There are two types from NSW (Crookhaven and Merimbula) and the Pittwater from Tasmania which all vary in creaminess, sweetness and saltiness for $8 each. They are served with homemade smoked oil. I do wish that they had served a slice or two of crusty bread with the oysters as most of that lovely smoked oil unfortunately went to waste. Next is a couple of bites: the comte and celeriac shortcrust tart with kohlrabi and horseradish and the beef tartare on a crisp onion base with bone marrow.

What we are addicted to: Um… can we move in, please? From the rooftop bar with it’s killer cocktails (of which we have many more to try) and fun vibe to the sensational food and wine at Pascale Bar and Grill and of course the Corner suite with THAT bath!! And post-trip, I am also kinda missing that cheeky lift giving me a regular dose of sass.

What we need to be more addicted: Clearly, not much, but there is opportunity to include complimentary water daily along with offering big fluffy bathrobes to snuggle in and slippers for padding around. Oh, and we would be very happy to become addicted to a QT scented candle should one be released!

QT Melbourne
Reine and La Rue

About the author

Having wined, dined and socialised her way around the world, Kelly now calls Sydney home and loves to share her discoveries – lucky us! Most often found with a glass of champagne in her hand, something delicious to eat in front of her and telling a tall tale.


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