melbourne: crown metropol hotel

if roulette, the pokies, the 'monte carlo room' and seafood platters aren't your thing, then staying at a hotel run by an intercontinental casino operator would most likely top your must-avoid-list. after all, casinos aren't known for setting the pace in the highbrow world of urban design hotels. that is... until now. in what could perhaps be described as an aesthetically astute and enlightened move, crown have channeled a substantial amount of gambling rake into one extremely sleek modernist lodging - the crown metropol - at the far extremity of their vast crown entertainment complex. with not a brass rail, chandelier or croupier in sight, this hotel has suddenly skipped the queue and made it to the inbox of the superjetset. with 658 rooms, studios, lofts, spa accommodation and an apartment, this spacious, curvaceous 28 floor palace is industrial scale boutique, and international style modern. the lobby is grand, contemporary art is on point, indoor pool and sundeck impressive, and rooms super sharp. high ceilings and huge windows ensure dramatic views into a vertical skyline, and with matt and gloss black walls, burnt orange carpet, curtains, shoji screens and 60s-esque styling you could forgive yourself for thinking you were in osaka. on top of that, there's the fully equipped isika day spa, a serious gymnasium, plus restaurants maze, maze grill and room service dining by gordon ramsay - to keep you entertained and cosy should melbourne's infamous weather suddenly turn european. better still, upgrade your room to get access to 28 - an executive guest floor jackpot with sky-high lounge, fireplace, bar and outdoor deck - and you might never want to leave. location: 8 whiteman street southbank [melbourne]
© shannon mcgrath