Australia

How To Have An Epic 48 Hours In Melbourne

By Clare Acheson - 08 Sep 2015

Let’s be honest, Listers: 48 hours isn’t a lot of time to get underneath the surface of a city, especially one that’s as chockfull of hidden laneway restaurants and underground bars as Melbourne. If you’re looking for things to do in Melbourne and you’ve only got a weekend to spare, location is essential—you don’t want to be scrimping on your accommodation budget, then having to spend hours on the City’s tramline just to get to where the good stuff is.

We spent 48 hours in Melbourne, staying at the InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto—right in the heart of Melbourne—checking everything that’s right on the hotel’s doorstep. How did we spend it, exactly? Read on for our list of absolute must-do’s when visiting Melbourne on a mini-break.

9am: Grab an epic flat white from Code Black Coffee

Code Black Coffee is one of Melbourne’s most legendary coffee roasters and cafes. The petite Code Black Coffee outlet is under street level (it was pretty much directly underneath our hotel!) making it the perfect place to grab a delicious flat white and people-watch while locals picked up their orders.

10am: Check into a stunning heritage building, the InterContinental Melbourne Rialto

The first thing we noticed about our hotel for the night was the INCREDIBLE architecture. This place is seriously stunning, pairing the 1891 building with some quirky modern updated features. Nothing gets more old-school meets new-school than an 124 year-old building with a hidden interior graffiti wall—a totally awesome and oh-so-Melbourne, surprise.

2pm: Meet Market Lane Bar’s high coffee…You’ll never have high tea again!

I know what you’re thinking, how can anyone possibly improve on the experience of having high tea in one of the most luxurious bars in Melbourne? As life-long fans of the espresso martini (aka the most delicious multi-purpose drink in the world: caffeine and booze! Hurrah!), we couldn’t believe it when the team at Market Lane Bar whipped out their high coffee, which comes with savoury snacks, cakes, macarons, scones and espresso martinis to boot. Plus the honey in the honey and ashed goats cheese sandwich comes from the InterContinental’s rooftop beehive. Pure indulgence.

6pm: Whether you love sports, arts or all-night parties, Melbourne has it all

Melbourne’s calendar of world-class events includes some seriously epic must-do’s. Melbourne Spring Fashion Week and the annual Melbourne Fashion Festival keep us on our toes with what’s hot or not, the Melbourne Cup is one of the biggest days in the racing carnival calendar across the nation, and there’s heaps of sports action happening in Melbourne, especially if you’re an AFL fan, a tennis lover, or a soccer follower.

While Etihad Stadium was only a few minutes walk from the luxury hotel InterContinental’s door, we sadly didn’t make it to a match, but we’re looking forward to taking full advantage of the luxury hotel’s location when we’re next in town for White Night in 2016. A luxury suite that’s only a few paces from the party action? Yes please!

8pm: Dinner = Super-Stylish Asian Eats

Dinner is the main event of our day, which is why we freaked out when we discovered that Melbourne chef Andrew McConnell’s Asian-fusion restaurant, Supernormal, was super-close. If you’ve got 48 hours in Melbourne, dining here is one of our top recommendations. Duck bao? Seabream sashimi? Peanut butter and salted caramel parfait?! You won’t forget this Asian dining experience in a hurry.

11pm: Stumble across an underground speakeasy that’s hidden behind a bookcase

Melbourne is the home of some of the world’s best hidden bars, and you really won’t believe these venues exist until you actually see them. After an incredible meal, we stumbled into State Of Grace, a perfectly unassuming cocktail bar, which has a hidden basement venue beneath it. After pulling out a book from a bookcase in the bar’s back wall, the entire bookcase slid aside to reveal a staircase leading to late-night speakeasy Fall From Grace. The most unexpected cocktail experience of our lives? It just might be!

2am: Sleep it off in jaw-dropping luxury

Staying in the luxury hotel InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto is like staying in some sort of magical Melbourne palace. The rooms are pristine, the beds are the comfiest we’ve ever crashed in, and each of the Melbourne suites is themed around a different suburb, making for a truly unique experience. Not only are you sleeping in luxury, you also get access to the Club InterContinental lounge, where you’ll find tasting plates, drinks, iPads and some awesome views over the city’s bustling streets. Being able to walk back to our hotel after a few mouth-watering cocktails made our 48 hour stop-over all the more enjoyable, and a total breeze.

10am: Enjoy the freshest breakfast in town at The Grain Store

Flinders Lane restaurant The Grain Store turns out some of the most wholesome, deliciously fresh food in the city, so we simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity for breakfast in its beautiful venue. Our top tip? Go for the smoked salmon and pancetta fried eggs every time.

11am: Hit Flinders Lane for some retail therapy

While they might think they’re cooler than the rest of us, you have to hand it to Melbournians that their style choices are second to none. Flinders Lane is a mecca of fashion and design—you’ll find Australian skincare experts Aesop right next to men’s outfitters Incu (one of the only places to get the Yeezy Boost sneakers in Australia) and women’s luxury boutique Green With Envy, who stocks the best selection of shoes, designer handbags and fashion-forward frocks in the city.

2pm: Refuel over an extra-long lunch at Alluvial

After shopping til we almost literally dropped, we headed back to the InterContinental with our booty for a relaxing long lunch at Alluvial, the hotel’s stunning central restaurant, who serve up delicious Victorian produce and even pick their herbs from the hotel’s rooftop garden. There’s nothing like a glass of G.H. Mumm and a perfectly seasoned steak to revive you after some retail therapy.

5pm: Enjoy an afternoon aperitivo, Grossi style, at Merchant 

After freshening up in our luxury suite’s massive bathroom before packing our overnight bags, we dropped into Merchant Osteria Veneta, Guy Grossi’s Rialto restaurant for some nibbles and a well-deserved Aperol Spritz. The food here, as you would expect from any Grossi establishment, was mouth-wateringly delicious and truly made us wish we could roll our tiny suitcases back upstairs to our Melbourne suite. If only…

7pm: Leave…but know that you’ll return!

There’s no WAY you’ll be able to get round all of Melbourne’s amazing secrets in one trip. We only managed a handful, and there were heaps of things that we were gutted to miss out on, such as dinner at one of Melbourne’s best restaurants, Vue De Monde, and cocktails with a view in the rooftop Lui Bar. You’ll be seeing us again, InterContinental!


Book your stay at luxury hotel InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto and have yourself an awesome weekend in Melbourne. Got a weekend to fill? For availability, click here.


Editor's Note: This article is proudly sponsored by InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto and endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy. 

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