InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto, Melbourne
Tel: 888 424 6835 (toll-free)
Tel: 61 396 209111
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:As face-lifts go, the $40 million spent to transform this 1891 Melbourne grand dame into a cool city chick has proved to be well spent. Today, although the five-story Rialto is dwarfed by its skyscraper neighbors, it exudes charm on the outside and class within. On the National Heritage List, it is actually two buildings (the older, gothic Rialto and the Romanesque Winfield Building) linked by a soaring glass ceiling that covers what was once a wide lane. The King suites and Deluxe rooms have all the expected mod cons, the wood-paneled roof-top pool and sauna drip with minimalist comfort, and the service is super-snappy. The real star, however, is the enormous atrium, a spectacle of light, angles, marble, mosaic, bluestone, and carefully selected local art. At its base is the Alluvial Restaurant, host to deal-making business-types and Rialto residents. Overlooking it is the Market Lane bar, with its deep leather couches and more than 100 kinds of martinis, including an antipodean array featuring everything from bloodlimes to quandongs. 2009 Hot List
When to go: March through May for the warmth, clear skies, and autumn colors.
Which room to book: Turret Suite 601 has space (775 square feet), charm, and Executive Club access. Otherwise, make sure your room is on the Winfield side, for better views across the atrium to the Rialto Building.