Being Australia’s first new ‘Marriott’ hotel to open in 20 years, the Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands is certainly making up for lost time. Pairing a resort vibe with a 24/7 M Club lounge, the property appeals to leisure guests and business travellers alike.
In fact, that M Club lounge is an Australian first, with the chain’s flagship hotel offering previously only found abroad. And did we mention, there’s a striking rooftop pool? Read on!
Hotel location and first impressions
Positioned on Waterfront Way, the Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands resides in the neighbourhood of the same name. While the hotel is several blocks back from that waterfront, it’s within easy walking distance.
Its location instead brings convenience for shoppers, with The District Docklands directly attached to the hotel. Sadly, The Star observation wheel nearby has permanently closed, or you’d otherwise be in a perfect spot for some circuitous sightseeing.
When I arrive at the hotel, check-in is swift and comes complete with a Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite welcome. This sees me issued with black ‘Elite Member’ room keys, and a lovely dessert waiting in my room. (It quickly gets moved to the fridge, for later).
If you do have time to explore the area nearby, the hotel’s striking building is easy to spot from a distance. Docklands’ many waterfront restaurants are also only a quick walk away, as is Marvel Stadium. On a busy day, that sure beats catching crowded public transport or trying to secure a rideshare trip, almost certainly with surge pricing attached.
Location-wise, the hotel isn’t in the city centre. But you are within Melbourne’s Free Tram Zone, making it easier to get around, and at no charge. The nearest tram stop is just around the corner from reception, on Docklands Drive.
Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands’ M Club room
This stay finds me booked in an M Club room on the eighth floor. It’s one of the hotel’s premium room categories, although many room types at this hotel share similar attributes.
With the hotel having only opened within the past six months, everything is fresh and modern. The sofa proves very comfortable if you’re kicking back and watching TV, while the dining table doubles as a functional desk with power close by. I also like the large luggage area, which is big enough for a checked bag. Although it’d be a tighter squeeze with more than one suitcase.
Being a new-build hotel gives the chance to design everything right, rather than retrofit as when renovating. And with that focus on design, AC and USB power points come by the bed as standard, along with wireless charging.
The in-room TV also comes feature-packed. It supports both Chromecast and connecting your own device to the screen via HDMI. Better yet, the Chromecast works well, and it’s great to kick back with an episode of Luxe Listings Sydney on Prime Video. Not far away is a coffee pod machine, complimentary water, and an iron and ironing board.
Keep walking a little further and you’ll uncover the bathroom. There are no unfortunate ‘shower tubs’ here, with a walk-in shower taking pride of place. Lighting is great, although the adjustable wall-mounted mirror is too low for me (I’m 6ft).
If you want even more light, the bathroom mirror also opens up to the room. And speaking of mirrors, there’s a floor-to-ceiling pane opposite the bathroom door, greeting you as you exit. Amenities are provided by Thann.
M Club lounge
As you might expect, the main reason you’d book an M Club room is for access to the M Club lounge. It’s also a privilege you can look forward to with Marriott Bonvoy Platinum, Titanium or Ambassador Elite status.
Here at Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands, it’s Australia’s first ‘M Club’. While other Marriott-group hotels have lounges Down Under, M Club is the chain’s flagship lounge category: much like how the Qantas Domestic Business Lounge outranks the Qantas Club.
The hotel describes the space as a ‘relaxed open living room with residential styling’: in other words, a home away from home. And just like your home, it’s available to you 24/7.
There’s an extensive outdoor space (it’s Melbourne, so bring a jacket!), as well as a meeting room. All guests with M Club access can reserve the space for two hours per day at no charge, subject to availability.
As we don’t need to explain to most Point Hacks readers, the M Club isn’t just a space to relax. It’s also your ticket to breakfast every morning and canapés of an evening.
Those canapés and evening drinks are more extensive than you’d find in many other hotel lounges. There’s also a reasonable selection of hot food and a wide offering of spirits, in addition to the usual beers and wines. This makes the space feel more like an airline lounge: and I’m told that’s exactly what Marriott was going for.
Dining at Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands
Beyond bites in the M Club, there’s plenty to choose from on the food front. Let’s start with breakfast, which is complimentary for all M Club room guests and those at the Marriott Bonvoy Platinum tier and above.
This is served at Archer’s Restaurant on the ground floor. Service is split between buffet and à la carte. That means you can enjoy one complimentary dish from the menu, and help yourself to anything else.
My eggs benedict with apple cider hollandaise delivers a fresh take on a breakfast classic. The salt and vinegar hash brown with sour cream also departs from the conventional, while remaining flavourful. If you’re only looking for a quick bite and a takeaway coffee, Corsia is a quick and easy on-site alternative nearby.
Dinner and drinks at Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands
Fast-forward to the evening, and Ada’s lobby bar doubles as a great place to meet and enjoy a glass of something.
As timing would have it, I needed to remotely chair an AGM and sit down with our Editor-in-Chief in the space of 60 minutes, on the same afternoon as my arrival. Fortunately, the corner of the lobby was spacious and quiet enough to make both an easy task.
And then, there’s Sunset House up on the rooftop. While Archer’s Restaurant adopts a more formal feel of an evening, Sunset House is more casual and relaxed. When unwinding with colleagues after hours and during a busy week of travel, that’s exactly what we were looking for.
Here, you’ll find an extensive cocktail menu, but the staff also like to get creative. Open to trying something new, I shared that my favourite mixed drinks were a gin and tonic and an Aperol Spritz. That got the ball rolling into a bubbly – yet not too sweet – gin-based cocktail. Yum!
Dishes are designed to be shared. The marinated olives, pork belly, southern fried chicken and Port Philip Bay squid are more than enough for a trio of diners.
Room service is available too, and with a busy day ahead of me, I opted to pre-order breakfast over the phone the night before. Having the kind of day where every minute is planned, I asked for a specific delivery time. It was certainly pleasing when the doorbell rang one minute ahead of schedule the next morning.
Facilities at Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands
Just around the corner from Sunset House sits Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands’ rooftop pool.
Its narrow design and curved shape make it better suited to a relaxing splash than your daily laps. Loungers by the pool add to that restful vibe. And if the mood strikes, you can order cocktails for poolside delivery.
There’s also an on-site gym with a good range of cardio equipment and free weights.
If you’re instead looking for fast Wi-Fi, the speeds here are hard to beat. During my in-house tests, downloads averaged 302Mbps, with uploads at 273Mbps. That’s zippy enough for everything from 4K video streaming to transferring large files and syncing cloud drives with ease.
Earning and spending Points at Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands
Through the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program, guests can earn and spend Points on stays at Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands. At the base level, that’s 10 Points per US$1 spent (~AU$1.33) on qualifying charges. This includes the room rate, as well as most folio items such as in-house dining, drinks and more.
Elite members earn a bonus on top of the base rate, as below. To boost your Points further, Gold members and above can also qualify for an extra (fixed) serve of Points.
|Marriott Bonvoy tier bonus||Points bonus||Total earn rate||Elite Welcome Gift|
|Silver Elite||10%||11 Points per US$1||N/A|
|Gold Elite||25%||12.5 Points per US$1||500 Points per stay|
|Platinum Elite||50%||15 Points per US$1||1,000 Points per stay*|
|Titanium Elite||75%||17.5 Points per US$1||1,000 Points per stay*|
|Ambassador Elite||75%||17.5 Points per US$1||1,000 Points per stay*|
As a double-dip – or triple-dip for eligible Marriott Bonvoy elites – travellers with elite status in the Emirates Skywards frequent flyer program can take home Skywards Miles on top of Marriott Bonvoy points.
After linking your Marriott Bonvoy and Emirates Skywards accounts through Your World Rewards, you’ll collect one Skywards Mile per US$1 spent at the hotel, credited directly into your Skywards account.
If that weren’t enough, paying for your stay using a points-earning credit card provides yet another chance to top up your loyalty accounts.
Spending Points at Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands
Once you’ve earned a stash of Marriott Bonvoy Points, you can spend them on a future stay at this hotel, or any other property in the Marriott Bonvoy program.
With Marriott now using dynamic pricing for room nights, there’s no longer a set number of points needed for a stay. But to illustrate, on dates where a two-night stay in a standard room costs $559 in total, the same booking requires 61,000 Points.
Based on the earning rates above, a base-level member would earn enough Points for one free standard night after spending US$3,050 (AU$4,045). Those at the Titanium Elite tier (and above) have it easier, with the same reward unlocked after US$1,742 (AU$2,311) in qualifying spend.
These rates are subject to change, given the nature of dynamic pricing. But if you do find yourself a few Points short, don’t forget that Marriott Bonvoy Points can also be purchased. Alternatively, you can convert American Express Membership Rewards points into Marriott Bonvoy Points at a 3:2 rate from Australian cards.
If you hold the American Express Platinum Card, you’ll also be boosted to Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status. As above, this means you’ll earn more points with every stay: getting you to your next reward faster.
I’ve stayed in many Marriott hotels over the years – being well on my way towards Lifetime status in the program. For me, this is the best ‘Marriott’ hotel that I’ve visited, period. From start to finish, the feeling here is a little closer to a higher-tier Marriott Marquis, but in a cosier 189-room property.
With a 24/7 M Club lounge open to members of multiple Marriott Bonvoy Elite levels, and evening drinks running for three hours rather than the typical two, regular travellers have a lot to look forward to.
It was also pleasing to see that when a colleague stayed during the same week (unannounced, on a public paid room rate), they were also afforded all their usual Marriott Bonvoy perks. That included a room upgrade as a Gold Elite member, without having to ask.
The only downside, for some travellers, will be the hotel’s location. For meetings in the CBD, this property won’t be as convenient as others. Traffic during event days at Marvel Stadium can also be heavy in the area.
But if you’re mainly looking to relax by the pool, unwind in the M Club, kick back after a long day or shop at The District Docklands, it’s hard to go wrong with Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands.
Photography by Chris Chamberlin, who stayed as a guest of Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands. Feature image by Brandon Loo for Point Hacks.
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