We’ve both made a number of trips to Melbourne on business but this trip would be the first time we’d experienced Melbourne together and just for fun. We planned to be in the city for Easter weekend, fully aware that the vibe of Melbourne on a weekend is quite different to the working week.
We were excited to be exploring the city at last and to try some of the many restaurants and cafes that the city is famous for but I have to admit to not really being a big city person at heart and that was a significant factor in our selection of Peppers Docklands on the city fringe as our base. It’s close enough to walk into the Bourke Street Mall and city laneways but still in sight of the harbour and an easy stroll to the more relaxed pace of the Docklands precinct.
Exploring Melbourne City
Peppers is ideally located if you’re headed to an event or game at Etihad Stadium. It’s also close to the dining, entertainment and events of Docklands. While it’s not city centre we walked comfortably to Queen Victoria market, through the many city parks, into the central city lane-ways and across the river to explore Southbank.
If you prefer not to walk there’s also a tramway stop on the city circuit loop just 20 metres down the road from the Peppers Docklands. You can catch a tram there that will take you to all the central city highlights. All trams in this inner city area are free whether you hop onto the historic W-Class series or one of the larger modern ones. Not having to work out the local public transport pay card system first was a real bonus, we just flagged it down and hopped on when we’d had enough of walking, knowing which ever direction it went we’d get a bit of a city tour and end up right back outside the hotel.
Peppers Docklands Review
We arrived in Melbourne City directly from the airport. Peppers Docklands is a convenient 10 minute walk from the Skybus depot or take the complimentary shuttle to the door.
Alternatively if you use the Starbus service from the Airport it’s directly to the door, just a little harder to find at the airport if you haven’t pre-booked.
Check in was friendly and efficient, being a more boutique hotel it’s a comfortable seated process in the lobby with a personalized welcome rather than queuing at a counter.
Of course if you arrive earlier in the day as we did they’ll securely stow your bags and have them delivered to your room when it’s available so they are waiting there for you on your return.
We stayed in room 513, a King balcony room on level 5 that was elevated enough to offer a great outlook down to the water. Only the first 5 floors are hotel rooms, beyond that the building is residential and accessed from a separate set of lifts. The King View are good sized rooms with a wall of windows and a small deck furnished with a table and chairs looking out toward the view of Docklands harbor.
The bed was comfortable and there’s a pillow menu available if the provided selection wasn’t your preference. The room also has a lounging chair, a desk and bedside units. There’s a small robe and plenty of room to store suitcases but it would be best suited to short stays as there’s limited space to unpack into for an extended period.
The bathroom and toilet are within the one room and are spacious and modern with good quality complimentary toiletries. The shower features a monsoon style shower head with excellent water pressure.
As someone who often works from my hotel or accommodation something I do care about is the cost and availability of WIFI. While I know this isn’t a consideration for everyone, some just want to unplug on holiday, it is something I hear more and more comment around from travellers of all ages. At Peppers Docklands there’s fast WIFI available within the room for multiple devices and also around the common areas of the hotel such as the restaurant.
Something I was especially looking forward to on this stay was trying MOMAMI restaurant. Being big fans of current trend of sharing plates and of Asian fusion it was the perfect choice for us. Our thanks again to Peppers who hosted us for dinner and breakfast in the restaurant during our stay.
We visited MOMAMI on Easter Saturday, a day when it seemed a good portion of Melbourne was next door at Etihad stadium watching Carlton and the Gold Coast battle it out. Instead we were cozy at our Dockside table letting our taste-buds rule our better judgement and trying ‘just one more dish’. The concept behind the restaurant is fresh local produce, lingering over sharing plates and enjoying the great food experiences and conversation.
Looking through the dinner menu it was a tough choice to narrow it down, I have to say that Tony Moss as the executive chef has really excelled with the menu and I’m not being at all biased by the fact that he’s a Kiwi and honed his culinary skills in the Hawkes Bay.
The sharing plates are a generous serve for two and all beautifully presented. Our highlights in the savory courses would have to be the chili beef spare ribs served with black garlic , the teriyaki lamb ribs, tuna poke and sticky glazed eggplant. I couldn’t fault any of the dishes and would order any or all of them again – the difficult choice was what to leave untried on the menu.
It’s not often I’ll rave about a dish, when I do it would almost always be savory. I have to admit that MOMAMI challenged my norms this week. We were tempted into ordering the chili chocolate lava cake with chocolate peanut bar and caramel ice-cream for dessert by our fabulous waitress – really no-one should be allowed to leave without trying it. It’s a flavor explosion, in a good way. It’s not that chili chocolate is unusual, more that many chefs seem to lose their nerve part way through and back off, leaving a glimpse of heat and the diner a little confused on whether it was or wasn’t there. This dessert left you in absolutely no doubt, it was a definite punch of flavor and heat but so perfectly balanced with the chocolate that there was still no doubt that this was a rich and decadent dessert.
The fusion of Asian flavors and great local Australian ingredients on Tony Moss’s menu really do set an excellent standard. I really can’t imagine food this good will be our secret for long.
We were pleased with our selection of Peppers Docklands for our weekend in Melbourne. We enjoyed the locations proximity to the restaurants and entertainment in the Docklands area while still being easy enough to get into the central city, however if you’re planning on testing out the city bars into the early hours you may prefer a more central location.
The rooms are modern, clean and big enough to be comfortable. We’d also rate it highly on it’s on-site restaurant and friendly helpful team.
Location: Peppers Docklands is located at 679 La Trobe Street, Docklands VIC.
Access: Car parking is accessed from La Trobe Street next to the main entrance and this pull off area can also be utilized for a brief set down or pick up area.
Check in/ out: Check-in is at 2 pm and check-out at 10 am. If you arrive outside of these hours a luggage storage service is available.
For more information on hotel facilities and booking see the Peppers official site.
As always if you have any questions please ask in the comments below and don’t forget to check out our Melbourne Travel Guide for the best things to do in the city, where to eat and some of the fabulous places you can explore on a day trip from here.