The striking 40-storey new-build stands in an enviable corner of Southbank, and effortlessly combines the luxury of a hotel with the conveniences of serviced apartments
Upon entering the one-bedroom abode on the 32nd floor, I was captivated by the panoramic view of the Yarra River and CBD skyline, aptly framed by the floor-to-ceiling windows.
The one-bedroom apartment provides a separate bedroom with an incredibly comfortable bed and four plush pillows. Having not slept well on the plane, I knocked out almost instantly that night. The luxurious bed did its job and kept me warm and relaxed, so much so it was very hard to get out of bed the next morning.
The living room houses comfortable sofa and circular dining table, alongside a compact kitchen. The kitchen is well-equipped, and features a full-size fridge, oven, microwave, cooktops, and enough crockery and cutlery for two. If I were a long-stay business guest, I would be very relieved to find a front-load washer/dryer combo that could put my laundry worries to rest.
While I loved that my unit offered a number of power sockets, unfortunately, the most convenient power sockets did not have enough space for both my international adaptor and protruding MacBook charger.
As part of the brand’s hallmark experience, we got to experience the Oakwood Premier Mobile Bar, a personalised club lounge experience that is said to be the first of its kind in Australia. A mixologist created seasonal cocktails in the comfort of my room, and to complement the drinks, a selection of hot canapés was also offered.
There is a quiet and conducive co-working space on Level 6, as well as an adjacent 12-seat boardroom appropriate for C-suite meetings. There are three other function spaces on the second and third floors of the building, accessible via dedicated elevators from the lobby.
I was surprised to find that there was a sizeable Southbank Ballroom on Level 3 (usually serviced apartments do not have ballrooms), which can accommodate up to eight round tables for a dinner function, or can be set up with elegant long tables.
What stood out for me was that a number of the spaces – Resident’s Lounge, co-working space, and boardroom – had access to its own private alfresco terrace furnished with tables and chairs and looks out at Port Philip Bay or Melbourne’s surrounds. These outdoor nooks would be perfect for when a breather is needed.
The all-day dining restaurant, Fifth, serves a modern Australian menu with a taste of the Pacific. The fresh barramundi with a refreshing Thai coconut sauce is worth a mention, as well as the memorable thick-cut, beer-battered fries. A buffet breakfast is also served in the mornings, and I thought the best dish was the smooth and creamy scrambled eggs; I had two delicious helpings.
There’s also a handsome Lobby Bar offering light refreshments and evening cocktails, while the Sky Bar on Level 40 – billed as a contemporary diner set against spectacular views – is set to open in June 2022.
Although there is no swimming pool, the fully-equipped gym makes up for it with its wide array of high-tech machines and weight racks. My travelling companion really liked the treadmill as the programmes could be customised according to her needs, ensuring she received a good workout.
There is also a Resident’s Lounge on Level 6 – meant for long-stay guests – that could potentially be used to organise get-togethers when occupancy returns in full force. Oakwood has also set aside a communal Games Room that sports a full-size snooker table, with free-to-use cues, racks and balls.
The property is within a 10-minute walk to Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Crown and South Wharf DFO.
Hospitality was top-notch across the board, from reception to the restaurant. It was also nice to be remembered and called by name by some of the staff members, evoking a warm fuzzy feeling of coming home.
Oakwood Premier Melbourne would be one of my top options to stay at regardless of whether I visit the city for work or leisure. My two-night stay at the impressive property was enjoyable, and I was sad to leave the amazing bed behind.
Number of rooms 132 hotel rooms and 260 serviced apartments