CBD or Fitzroy — Where’s Best To Stay in Melbourne?

Melbourne might be Australia’s second city, but it comes first at pretty much everything else. Regularly topping the rankings as the world’s most liveable destination, it’s low crime rates, excellent education, and accessible healthcare are all reasons to stick around forever (not to mention it’s serious coffee culture). But if you’re just touching down in the Victorian capital and trying to get your bearings, you probably have a much more pressing question burning on your mind — where do you stay in Melbourne?

Panorama of Melbourne Skyline at sunset at the Yarra River

Photo| Panorama of Melbourne Skyline at sunset at the Yarra River and St. Kilda Road| GETTYIMAGES – CHARLIE ROGERS

Each of Melbourne’s numerous neighborhoods bustles with a character of its own. St. Kilda’s seaside attractions are the perfect way to waste away a Sunday; Carlton whips up the best gnocci this side of the Mediterranean. However, when you really whittle it down, all Melbourne experiences begin and end with its two top dogs: CBD and Fitzroy. With over 400 million annual visitors to Hotels Combined, we’ve combed the laneways, taste-tested the flat whites, and bar hopped our way from Brunswick Street to Chinatown to settle the debate on where to stay in Melbourne once and for all.


The Lowdown

Forget the name — Melbourne’s Central Business District is much more than a place to make and break deals. A pulsating hub of art and entertainment, the CBD is center stage for Melbourne’s theatrical community, with playhouses lining the storied Paris End of Collins Street. It’s also the place to go to experience the city’s famed laneway culture, with vibrant graffiti murals spanning thoroughfares like Hosier and AC/DC.

a car in front of iconic Flinders Street Station, stay in Melbourne

Photo|A car passing by Flinders Street Station Melbourne| GETTYIMAGES – NEERAJ SHARMA

It’s also the place to go for all of the city’s main tourist hotspots. First stay in Melbourne? Hop on the free City Circle Tram and trundle past iconic sights like Melbourne Aquarium, Old Melbourne Gaol, and Parliament House. And when you need something to wash down all that culture, CBD’s glitzy bars and glamorous rooftop sky lounges will be waiting.

Where to Stay in CBD

QT Melbourne

QT Melbourne, Stay in Melbourne

Photo| QT Melbourne| Provided by ICE PORTAL

A self-described “luxury landscape where rules were meant to be broken,” the QT throws the book at traditional five-star accommodation. It seems like every room, corridor, and lounge space at this renegade hotel was torn from the pages of an Italian Vogue issue. Neon fixtures and taxidermied peacocks add to the whimsical flair of the lounge areas. Meanwhile, the oh-so-boldly-Melbourne rooms and suites are dressed down with punky wall art and post-industrial finishing touches. For the full rock star treatment, check in to the QT Corner King Room and have a naughty peek out at the bustle of Rustle Street from your personal freestanding bathtub.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Manchuria, sophisticated Asia-inspired cocktail bar (240 meters)
  • Melbourne Town Hall (350 meters)
  • Her Majesty’s Theatre, classic 19th-century theater (450 meters)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 146 – USD 409
Guest Rating: 9.2
Address: 133 Russell Street, Melbourne CBD, Melbourne, Australia

Grand Hyatt Melbourne

Grand Hyatt Melbourne, hotel in Melbourne CBD

Photo| Grand Hyatt Melbourne| Provided by ICE PORTAL

The Grand Hyatt knows how to suit up for hotel guests, and their Melbourne hotel is no exception. They’ve put in that extra lick of shoeshine in each of their beautifully appointed rooms, all of which boast Italian marble bathrooms, generous work stations, and floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over either Yarra River or the city skyline.

Though you are the briefest of walks away from the exquisite eateries on the Paris end of Collins Street, you shouldn’t necessarily head out on an empty stomach. Award-winning Collins Kitchen on the hotel’s ground floor serves brilliant farm-to-kitchen fare. Try at least once during your stay to force yourself out from under your Egyptian cotton linens and make it down there before 10:30. The breakfast buffet has garnered more awards than there are beans in a Melbourne roastery.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Regent Theatre, elegant 1920s playhouse (200 meters)
  • The Ian Potter Center, sprawling gallery with over 70,000 pieces (250 meters)
  • Union Lane, iconic laneway featuring vibrant graffiti (550 meters)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 219 – USD 1,322
Guest Rating: 9.2
Address: 123 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD, Melbourne, Australia

Treasury On Collins

Treasury On Collins, stay in Melbourne

Photo| Treasury On Collins| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Nothing spells out the start of a luxury stay in Melbourne like checking into this heritage-listed building on storied Collins Street. Treasury On Collins is one of the few establishments in the CBD that is independently run, and you’ll be able to appreciate that in the thoughtful extra touches that a stay there all the more pleasant. We’re talking complimentary breakfast and an afternoon wine down at the Treasured Guest Lounge, a sophisticated common space that encircles the Treasury on Collins’s vaulted foyer. If you’re dealing with the repercussions of an overly revelrous night at renowned cocktail joint Collins Quarter (just down the road), there’s also free Netflix available in each self-contained apartment.

Attractions Nearby:

  • AC/DC Lane, iconic laneway with murals (250 meters)
  • Gin Palace, cocktail institution (400 meters)
  • Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium (1.4 kilometers)

Star Rating: 4.5
Price: USD 152 – USD 308
Guest Rating: 9.1
Address: 394 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD, Melbourne, Australia

Hotel Lindrum Melbourne – Mgallery

Hotel Lindrum Melbourne - MGallery by Sofitel, Melbourne CBD hotel

Photo| Hotel Lindrum Melbourne – Mgallery| Provided by LEONARDO

Housed in a storied turn-of-the-century building, this storied boutique on Flinders Street exudes Old-World charm. Originally the store and salesroom of the prominent Melbourne tea merchants the Griffiths Brothers, Hotel Lindrum has retained many of its original features. You’ll be able to appreciate that in the vaulted ceilings of Felt Restaurant, the onsite restaurant serving contemporary British fare. Upstairs, Lindrum’s rooms feature updated decor and amenities that will add to the character of your stay in Melbourne.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Chin Chin, relaxed Asia-inspired restaurant and bar (400 meters)
  • Fitzroy Gardens, landscaped public green space (450 meters)
  • Melbourne Cricket Ground, home to the National Sports Museum (1.1 kilometers)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 165 – USD 297
Guest Rating: 9.5
Address: 26 Flinders Street, Melbourne CBD, Melbourne, Australia

Adelphi Hotel Melbourne

Adelphi Hotel Melbourne, stay in Melbourne

Photo| Adelphi Hotel Melbourne| Provided by ADELPHI HOTEL MELBOURNE

Brightly-hued Adelphi is a zebra-stripped rebuttal to anyone that says CBD is all work and no play. This colorful boutique on Flinders Lane lives with its tie a little looser than all the other luxury hotels on the block. There’s plenty of kook and charm throughout the 34 rooms, with cherry-inspired lamps, liquorish stools, and swinging couches to amuse the ADD-afflicted child within you. However, the real champ of this whimsical, art-plastered boutique is the gravity-defying rooftop pool, which literally hangs off the building’s 9th floor.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Regent Theater, historic Victorian playhouse (180 meters)
  • National Gallery of Victoria, celebrated fine arts museum (800 meters)
  • Eureka Skydeck, observation area atop Melbourne’s highest tower (1.0 kilometers)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 179 – USD 386
Guest Rating: 9.1
Address: 187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD, Melbourne, Australia

Imagine Lighthouse

Imagine Lighthouse

Photo| Imagine Lighthouse| Provided by ICE PORTAL

Perched atop one of Melbourne’s most jaw-droppingly pretty skyscrapers, Imagine Lighthouse sets the bar very high for the rest of the city. This star-garnering luxury residence boasts flat-out unbeatable city views, many of its serviced “sky apartments” peaking out from above the 50th floor. The moment you manage to pry your eyes from the floor-to-ceiling windows, you’ll let out a second round of “oohs” and “ahs” at the stylish timber floors, walk-in showers, and catalog-gorgeous kitchen and entertaining spaces. There’s also a choice between a one, two, or three-bedroom apartments, making this the perfect choice whether taking on Melbourne with friends or like the solo high-flyer that you are.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Queen Victoria Market, historic local market (400 meters)
  • Meat Market, popular entertainment venue (1.0 meters)
  • The Comic’s Lounge, esteemed comedy club (1.2 meters)

Star Rating: 4.5
Price: USD 94 – 165
Guest Rating: 9.6
Address: 442-450 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne CBD, Melbourne, Australia

Hotel Location


The Lowdown

A stay in Melbourne can’t get much hipper than one in Fitzroy. This bohemian neighborhood extends out north from the CBD’s theatrical East End, and serves the city’s creative community with its eclectic collection of trendy cafés, second-hand stores, and idiosyncratic boutiques. Start on Smith Street if you’re in the ‘hood for some vintage hauls. Hallowed local institutions like Lost and Found Market are the place to go for retro clothing, kitchenalia, and conversation pieces to clutter your mantlepiece.

women having tea at sidewalk cafe

Photo| Women having tea at sidewalk café| GETTYIMAGES – JACOBS STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY LTD

Finding somewhere to grab a drink in Fitzroy is as easy as spinning a bottle. Look no further than Brunswick Street for Melbourne’s best live jazz and indie music. Or turn it down a notch at sleek and sophisticated locales like Black Pearl and The Elysian — a table service whiskey bar with over 280 varieties behind the counter.

Where to Stay in Fitzroy

Tyrian Serviced Apartments Fitzroy

Tyrian Serviced Apartments Fitzroy, stay in Melbourne

Photo| Tyrian Serviced Apartments Fitzroy| Provided by ICE PORTAL

Discerning guests will need a moment to fully appreciate the clean-cut, minimalist interiors of these beautiful apartment rentals. Tyrian has gone to great lengths to cultivate its image, and it shows in the monochrome color palette, designer rugs, and high vaulted ceilings that characterize each of its apartments. Guests can choose between connecting one, two, and three-bedroom apartments — meaning there’s room for a party. And the spacious desk space and beautifully thought out study nooks make it a great choice for those that might have to whip out their laptops during their stay in Melbourne.

It’s worth noting that the Tyrian portfolio includes a second apartment hotel in South Yarra, which features a rooftop infinity pool with views of downtown Melbourne.

Attractions Nearby:

  • The Old Bar, diversely old-school live music venue (32 meters)
  • The Rose Street Artists’ Market (300 meters)
  • The Melbourne Museum, historic 1854 museum (1.0 kilometers)

Star Rating: 4.5
Price: USD 129 – USD 257
Guest Rating: 9.2
Address: 91 Johnston Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia

District Fitzroy

District Fitzroy. Fitzroy hotel

Photo| District Fitzroy| Provided by BOOKING.COM

This boutique establishment is perfectly located for anyone looking to get the full Fitzroy experience. Conveniently sandwiched between Brunswick and Smith Streets, you’ll find yourself within easy range of the district’s world-renowned thrift stores and live music bars. Add a little extra caffeinated pep to each morning with a stop off at esteemed coffee institution Pony White, a couple of doors down. Or eat back at the flat if you’re feeling a little lazy. Each of District Fitzoy’s apartments features a beautiful open plan kitchen and dining space. If you’re staying in one of the deluxe apartments you’ll even be able to take your brekkie on the balcony, accompanied by views of Fitzroy’s charismatic yellow brick terraces — it doesn’t get more Melbourne than that!

Attractions Nearby:

  • Napier Quarter, hip wine bar (140 meters)
  • Marquis of Lorne, edgy craft beer pub (150 meters)
  • Sugar Republic, whimsical art gallery (300 meters)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 134 – USD 398
Guest Rating: 8.9
Address: 160 Argyle Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne Metropole Central

Melbourne Metropole Central, stay in Melbourne

Photo| Melbourne Metropole Central| Provided by ICE PORTAL

If you’re a sucker for a bargain, you might want to avoid Melbourne Metropole Central. This swanky serviced apartment hotels Brunswick Street location puts it right next door to some fo the city’s best vintage shopping — dangerous territory for a shopaholic. If you’re lucky, the creature comforts that come with these comprehensive suites and one-to-two bedrooms might be enough to keep you away from the racks for a little while. The kitchen and dining areas in deluxe apartments are ideal for entertaining, while the private balconies are great for a drink or two before you check out what’s good at the street level.

Attractions Nearby:

  • The Catfish, retro live-music venue (220 meters)
  • Carlton Gardens, historic 19th-century park (700 meters)
  • Madame Brussels Lane, bustling, bar-lined alleyway (900 meters)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 108 – USD 163
Guest Rating: 8.4
Address: 44 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia

Quest Royal Gardens Serviced Apartments

Quest Royal Gardens Serviced Apartments, Fitzroy hotel

Photo| Quest Royal Gardens Serviced Apartments| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Pinched between Fitzroy and CBD, Quest Royal Gardens is an ideal choice for families looking to make the most of their first stay in Melbourne. The 49 serviced apartments can host up to four people, and in some cases feature two ensuite bathrooms. An outdoor pool and kids pool are all nice touches for those with children. They’re also located within an enclosed green space, together with the barbecue area, giving you a little peace of mind while you have your attention on the grill. If you’re looking to escape for an evening, Quest Royal Gardens also provides a babysitting service.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Melbourne Museum, history museum with dinosaur exhibits (180 meters)
  • Smith & Daughters, popular vegan restaurant (550 meters)
  • Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery (550 meters)

Star Rating: 4.5
Price: USD 100 – USD 177
Guest Rating: 8.3
Address: 8 Royal Lane, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia

Lygon Lodge Carlton

Lygon Lodge Carlton, stay in Melbourne

Photo| Lygon Lodge Carlton| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Located on charismatically European Lygon Street, this apartment hotel places you within a few minutes’ ramble of authentic Italian eats, great gelaterias, and a host of cafés worth lingering at. The apartments themselves are functional and spacious, but you’ll almost certainly make a beeline for the private balconies, which after dark enjoy views over Lygon Street’s twinkling illuminations. To make your stay in Melbourne all the more convenient, this cozy inner-city crib can also arrange airport transfers and wake-up calls, as well as providing a handy laundry service.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Donnini’s, reassuring Italian fare (270 meters)
  • Seven Seeds Coffee Roasters (1.0 kilometers)
  • Old Melbourne Gaol, historic site (1.2 kilometers)

Star Rating: 3.5
Price: USD 83 – USD 147
Guest Rating: 8.4
Address: 220 Lygon Street, Carlton, Melbourne, Australia

Hotel Location

The Bottom Line: Where Should You Stay in Melbourne?

Victoria’s capital city is a patchwork of charismatic neighborhoods, each with their own unique story to tell. However, that’s not to say that they all march to a single tune. CBD may suit it and boot it with the best of them, but it’s free flowing rooftop spaces and havens of laneway grit show that it knows how to put the smartphone down for those that want to let loose. Meanwhile, attractions like Chinatown and the Melbourne Aquarium mean that there’s always something to do for the kids.

Fitzroy, meanwhile, doesn’t stop at the rim of a flat white. Local establishments like The Eveleigh and The Rum Diary Bar prove the neighborhood’s capacity to turn on the sophistication for those looking for a refined tipple or bite to eat. Where you should stay in Melbourne then says less about what kind of traveller you are and more about how you want this prodigious city to surprise you.

Which would you choose – CBD or Fitzroy? Let us know in the comments below.

Sebastian Morgan

Photo| Sebastian Morgan| Provided by SEB MORGAN

Sebastian Morgan
I’m a blogger, history buff, and serious overpacker, currently based in Taiwan. Eats, drinks, and destinations are my thing. When I’m not writing about those, I’m either hitting up the local hot springs or slurping down a bowl of sesame noodles. I hope to one day do both at the same time.

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