Melbourne has a very compact, high-rise central district laid out in a grid pattern rather like New York, but on a smaller scale. It is therefore important to choose a hotel with a location that puts you in the heart of the action.
Step forward the Langham Hotel, adjacent to the Southgate arts and restaurant complex, and world-class theatre and art galleries. Cross the Yarra River via a footbridge and you are well positioned to attack the extensive shopping district.
Our only quibble with the Langham was its Internet system which crashed entirely on the last night annoying guests who often rely on being able to get online these days.
In all other respects the Langham comes well up to the five-star mark. The porter service is friendly and efficient. The check-in was immaculately done. The breakfast restaurant has pleasant views and adequate service.
The 387 rooms and suites are furnished in a quiet modern style with marble bathrooms bordering on the opulent with separate showers, although without a bidet as seems to be the general rule in Australia, something which might not be to the taste of Arab guests. Choose one of the 45 executive floor rooms for a personalised butler service, or go for the recently refurbished Presidential Suite for expansive skyline views and a classical interior.
On the other hand, the lavish hotel lobby is the sort of central meeting area highly prized in the Middle East, and ascends through several floor levels providing that added wow factor on arrival.
Chinese spa treatments
To chill out after a hard day in the city you should try the luxury Chuan Spa on level nine with locally made products created by Chinese health care expert George Dellas and a wide variety of massage options. Or at the weekends enjoy The Chocolate Bar high tea experience with a famous Langham Torte, an indulgence not recommended for anyone on a diet.
The 25-storey hotel also boasts a roof top 15-metre salt water pool which opens to the sky when weather conditions permit. You could also relax in the zero edge Jacuzzi. Be warned Melbourne is hot in the summer and chilly in the winter, so it is important to choose a hotel for all seasons, and the Langham is an excellent choice and will doubtless sort out its Internet problems long before you arrive.