Last weekend was InterContinental Hotels & Resorts 70th birthday and boy did they throw a birthday party to remember! Intercontinental Melbourne The Rialto is one of those iconic hotels in Melbourne you just have to visit. The hotel is a combination of two heritage listed gothic-style buildings joined together with a breathtaking modern ten-storey atrium nestled in between. It’s a hotel that has history, style and character. Peek inside and you’ll find that it is most definitely not your typical hotel. Have a look below..
You wouldn’t believe it until you were told – the famous glass-topped Atrium was once upon a time one of Melbourne’s many laneways. The hotel rooms sit on either side of the building with the rooms facing inwards having balconies that overlook the beautiful Alluvial restaurant downstairs. It’s definitely a unique way to build a hotel, the ‘laneway’ in the middle gives it a really uniquely Melbourne feel to it too.
We stayed in a Club Intercontinental room and with this room, there is access to the exclusive Club Lounge on level 4. Buffet breakfast is served in the mornings here with plenty of options to choose from. My favourite place to enjoy this spread is up on the little balcony in the Club Lounge which overlooks bustling Collins St. The spot is cosy and quaint – it kind of reminds me of breakfast in Paris. The unique corner hideout also makes my mind wonder what might have been here back in the day.
If you stay in a Club Intercontinental room there are also all day refreshments (hello, constant supply of Emma & Tom’s juices!), 2 tier high tea (this is starting to remind me of #baliresortlife) and evening drinks with canapés from 5:30pm-8pm. I would have loved to try the complimentary high tea & evening canapés but ran out of time and I guess stomach space too.
Remember how I said the building is repurposed and built over laneways and all? Within the Intercontinental, there is this secret laneway hidden on the side with entry only if you have the key to the locked gates. High above on the wall there is a massive 40m long street art installation (you can see it from some of the laneway rooms in the hotel) and down below is where we participated in a graffiti workshop with Blender Studios. I made my flower mark – legally – on a Melbourne wall!
The proximity to the Yarra & Southbank area gives you great access to this side of the city. We took a wander around here on the recommendation of James from the Intercontinental concierge team. He’s part of the Les Clefs d’Or International which sounds kind of like a secret club for concierge professionals doesn’t it? Anyway, Intercontinental has this fun ‘One Word Adventure’ with the concierge where if you tell them one word or topic, they will craft for you – on the spot – the perfect itinerary to suit. Definitely give it a go!
Mrs D’Ebro’s high tea spread at Market Lane bar was the perfect option for a late lunch. It was so interesting to hear the history behind the naming of the high tea here. Mrs D’Ebro was married to the architect who designed part of the hotel building & loved to serve extravagant afternoon tea at her house back in the 1890s. Hence the name. Here the hotel recreated her world, serving high tea as far as the eye can see.
We wanted to find something colourful to explore – James from concierge pointed us to the Conservatory at Fitzroy Gardens. I love re-visiting this place time after time again as it’s always got a fresh look every season. Here’s me trying to be one with the hanging pot plant. #Ihaveathingwithjumpinginflowers..
A beautiful multi-location roaming dinner was served in celebration of the hotel’s anniversary. Throughout the evening, we were told historical stories of the hotel’s past by one extremely animated and humorous hotel host. Starting on level 4 were drinks & canapés by candlelight, followed by two beautiful courses at Alluvial restaurant downstairs. The table setting was too magical to not photograph!
After, we headed upstairs to one of the laneway function rooms for a magical dessert spread under hundreds of fairy lights. The melting white chocolate sphere was just as magical when served. If you follow me on Snapchat (@kisforkani!) you would have seen how it all happened & just how much caramel the waiter accidentally poured on my dish because we were both distracted by Snapchat! This was followed by some winding down in the Club Lounge with an extravagant cheese plate & antipasto set up before retreating back to an evening’s sleep with our stomachs packed full.
That plane ticket that we found on our bed the evening before? It all made sense when we arrived fifty-something floors later at the top of the Rialto. When the elevator doors opened, we were greeted by ‘Pan Am airline’ flight attendants who led us to a fun themed breakfast experience high up in the clouds, reminiscing about how Intercontinental was once upon a time established by Pan Am airlines as a luxury hotel serving those who were flying to South American cities. The whole ‘breakfast in the sky’ idea was made even more authentic with cute little travel pouches like the ones you would receive on flight!
The view from above wearing Three Floor dress.
Thank you Intercontinental for a birthday weekend to remember!
Photography: Rowena Cao, Tom Debono & I using Canon EOS 7D Mark II