July 22, 2001
Directly across the street from the Treasury Gardens and less than a half-mile from the Victoria State Parliament Building, this high-rise hotel is also served by Melbourne’s free City Circle tram. This makes it an ideal location for someone who prefers walking or inexpensive public transportation instead of a rental car or taxicabs.
The Mercure was a Sheraton when I stayed there in April, 1999. The change of franchise apparently occurred sometime after Spring of 2000, so I suspect there have been few if any significant changes in facilities or amenities as yet. (Hotels often switch franchises without changing much but the name on the door.)
My stay at the then-Sheraton Melbourne was a split visit. On both occasions, I was offered generously-proportioned rooms overlooking Treasury Gardens and the larger Fitzroy Gardens and conservatory beyond; one on a relatively low floor, the other much higher. Both were nicely furnished and well-insulated from street noise. The trams rumbling beneath my windows went relatively unheard, or at least not heard well enough to be distracting.
There was a small but adequately-stocked bar opening off the lobby, but separated from it by a TV lounge where friendly Aussies tried to explain the near-incomprehensible mayhem that they call ‘Footy’. It had a congenial atmosphere that I found very welcome in a foreign country.The restaurant, which also opened off the lobby, was adequate but, frankly, not what I would have expected from a Sheraton: More what I would call a ‘coffee shop’ than a fine-dining establishment. The view of passing trams and the gardens was pleasant, but my two dinners there were forgetable.
One special courtesy I greatly appreciated: I was planning a six-night rail tour beginning and ending in Melbourne but had with me some three weeks’ worth of luggage from earlier travels. Management arranged for me to store the excess, at no cost, until my return.
On a return trip to Australia, in August 2000, I stayed at a Mercure hotel in Brisbane, which offered me the same courtesy during a side trip there. The Brisbane hotel had a friendly, capable staff and appeared to be well-managed. So, I suspect the one-time Melbourne Sheraton is in good hands with Mercure. According to a current hotel guide, summer 2001 rates at the Mercure Melbourne were AUD 167-215 for a single or double. That would be something under U.S. $100.
From journal Melbourne and its Marvelous Trams