After a prolonged absence, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about being back in Melbourne. While simultaneously unable to contain my excitement or manage the emotional baggage of returning to my birth town, I also had to contend with the important task of introducing the other Mr. Highlife to Australia – a place he’d always wanted to visit. My anxiety proved to be pointless, because in the end it was a thrill to experience Melbourne together, making the charming Intercontinental Rialto our home for the first leg of our trip.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing from the get go however. We’d initially booked a room at the Grand Hyatt, the newest 5-star hotel addition to the Melbourne skyline, experiencing it for one night before promptly checking out the next morning. It wasn’t for us. After some jet-lagged debate about what to do and whether we’d left it too late to find an alternative during the busy holiday period, we were lucky to book an executive room at the Intercontinental Rialto, a wonderful property located a few blocks away in the central business district.

Housed in two historical neo-Gothic buildings, the Intercontinental Rialto has been cleverly renovated into a high-end city hotel, uniting the two wings with the aid of a soaring central glass atrium. Our executive room was at the end of the west wing, simple and comfortable with modern furnishings complemented by a superb rain shower bathroom and perfect lighting. There’s a fantastic indoor pool and spa, and the extensive breakfast served in the central atrium was one of the best we’ve seen for a while – lots of variety and well staffed to cater for on-demand requests.

What completed a most enjoyable experience at the Intercontinental Rialto was the quality of guest service we encountered in almost every functional area of the Hotel. From Prue at the front desk who handled our reservation and room requirements with professional ease, to Jacob the concierge who tirelessly suggested restaurant after restaurant, managing to find us a table for New Years Eve, there were so many stand-out employees providing exceptional service that was personable and attentive.

The Verdict
Welcome home.

Hotel – 9/10
Experience – 9/10