Flight Centre Guest Blogger Gaynor Alder is introducing you to five places she always takes her guests when they visit her in Melbourne. Take notes, this lady sure knows her stuff when it comes to her beloved Melbourne.
Melbourne embraced me with open arms, and I've never looked back. Why do I love thee so you ask? Besides the undeniable style, culture, cafes, restaurants, bars, shopping, and the European architecture, it's because in Melbourne you can be whoever you want to be. Come and explore Melbourne with me - the Melbourne that calls to me when I wake up every day, and says, I have secrets, come and find them.
Stop #1 The Spice Market
I distinctly remember the first time I entered the Spice Market. The grandeur entrance swept me off my feet with its opulence and the Middle Eastern inspired decor transported me to another world. I was taken on a sensory journey as I explored the bars and private lounges of the Persian Room and Shanghai Lounge, but it wasn't until I sunk into my plush couch that I was able to fully absorb the ambience of the stunning and unique surrounds.
“The lavish Spice Market takes its inspiration from the ancient spice route travelled by traders of old, and has been exquisitely furnished to reflect this famous journey from Asia Minor through to the Far East. Honouring the Melbourne tradition of laneways and discovery, Spice Market is entered from Beaney Lane, off Russell St, adjacent to the Grand Hyatt Melbourne.” - The Spice Market.
The lounges are made from luxurious fabrics, black birdcages hang from the roof and brightly coloured ceramics, glass mosaics, art and antiques collected by the owners from their world travels adorn every corner.
But it was the Belle Epoque Lounge that was to truly make me swoon with ardent desire. The ultimate in luxury, this lounge is the only one of its kind in Australia. 14 guests are taken care of by a private attendant and treated to the same service reserved for royalty.
From Tuesday to Thursday there is a minimum spend of $1500 to book the room, and there is a minimum spend of $2500 for Friday and Saturday. Expensive yes, but do not fear, there are plenty of spaces to dine and drink at the Spice Market that do not require you booking a lounge.
The service is sublime and their mouth watering tapas are second to none. The hummus is silky, the lemon infused chicken wings are tender and the Turkish bread is delightfully soft. The drinks menu is also impressive with a beautiful selection of wine and a martini to please everyone.
I prefer the ambiance of Tuesday & Wednesday nights, when I feel the Spice Market is reflected in its true light, whereas on a Friday and Saturday night the lines are long and the music is reminiscent of a nightclub rather than a sophisticated and relaxed Melbourne bar atmosphere.
Want to know more about Gaynor Alder? Catch up with her on the Modern Woman's Survival Guide.