STEP back in time into the charm of a century ago in the refurbished Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne in the CBD, where visitors are greeted with a rich décor in the Edwardian Baroque style.
The original building was constructed in 1913 for the Commercial Travellers Association and became one of Melbourne’s best examples of Edwardian Baroque style, thanks to the vision of architect Harry Tompkins.
However, the Commercial Travellers Association club closed in 1976 and the building fell into disrepair before the Rendezvous Hospitality Group undertook a major restoration project which was completed last year.
The hotel, with 340 rooms, is in Flinders Street close to Elizabeth Street, making it an ideal location for guests to walk to nearby shops, restaurants, entertainment and tourist attractions. Trams and trains are close by for easy commutes.
First impressions of the hotel are of a fine blend of the historic and the modern, all the while retaining the charm of the original building.
The light-filled lobby and check-in desks are modern, while a few steps away is the old-world opulence of the Grand Vestibule, a spacious area where marble columns reach up to the double-storey domed ceiling. The Grand Vestibule is dotted with armchairs where guests can meet before moving on to the Traveller’s Bar for drinks or light snacks during the day.
A nice feature of the Traveller’s Bar is complimentary pre-dinner snacks for guests.
The hotel’s restaurant, Mr Tompkins, serves a modern European-inspired menu and is currently open from Wednesdays to Saturdays for dinner.
Natural lighting and local photography feature in the hotel’s rooms, which offer contemporary design while retaining their old-world charm.
The entry-level category is the Commerce room, but to really appreciate the charm of the historic building book into an Edwardian room in the heritage wing which features seven-metre-high ceilings, stained glass windows and two sets of double doors that lead to a balcony overlooking the Yarra River, Southbank and Flinders Street Station, which is beautifully floodlit at night.
There’s a desk, free WiFi, tea and coffee making facilities as well as 24-hour in-room dining and a smart TV with Chromecast. And if you feel energetic there’s a gym in the hotel.
Rendezvous Hospitality Group regional general manager, Stephen Moore, said: “What’s exciting is that Rendezvous Melbourne continues an important legacy as both a meeting place and piece of living history, within walking distance of everything people come to see and experience in this remarkable and romantic city.”
Variety of culture with Renaissance Tours
CULTURAL and special interest tour operator Renaissance Tours has announced about 80 tours in Australia and overseas for this year in the fields of art, music, opera, ballet, gardens and wine.
Its art tours are presented in partnership with the Art Gallery Society of NSW, recognised as one of the largest museum membership programs in Australia.
Among the upcoming Australian tours are “Weekend of Music in the Adelaide Hills” featuring chamber music performances and talks at the Ukaria Cultural Centre in the picturesque Adelaide Hills in March; and “Boyd and Bundanon”, a three-day visit in April to artist Arthur Boyd’s family residence at Bundanon near Nowra, NSW, home to The Art Museum which opened last year.
Renaissance Tours was founded in 1996 and the company was purchased by Evan Petrelis in 2017.
“With our more than 20 years’ operating programs of carefully researched art tours, travellers have confidence that they will enjoy the company of like-minded others, benefit from the knowledge and expertise of art experts tour leaders, have exclusive access to people and places, and have peace of mind knowing that all arrangements are well managed,” said Petrelis.
Philanthropy projects add to the appeal of A&K tours
LUXURY travel company Abercrombie & Kent (A&K) has a range of grassroots philanthropy projects around the world where guests on many of its tours can experience and support the projects.
A&K’s philanthropic arm – Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy – begin in 1982 with a conservation project in Kenya’s Masai Mara national park and today it runs 46 projects in 24 countries.
These projects range from the Chipego Bike Shop in Zambia where women from the village of Nakatindi repair and resell second-hand bikes to support their families and help their community, to building wells for families in Siem Reap, Cambodia so that the local community to enjoy clean drinking water.
While most of the projects are in Africa and Asia, and others are in Europe, the Middle East, North and South America, there is one project in Australia – a raptor refuge in Tasmania that started in 2019.
The refuge, situated south of Hobart, takes in injured birds of prey such as wedge-tailed eagles and rehabilitates them for a return to the wild. The refuge comprises aviaries, a clinic and educational displays.
A&K Australia managing director Debra Fox said: “The future of travel is all about creating a cross-cultural dialogue that strikes a win-win balance between traveller and destination. Our philanthropic reach is growing every day, and more than ever we’re finding our guests really want to come with us on the journey.”