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Hotel Highlights

  • Home to Circa, the Prince's renowned restaurant
  • Close to both the beach and the city centre
  • The super-relaxing Aurora Day Spa

Overview

The Prince hotel, in the edgy and bohemian St Kilda district of Melbourne, simply oozes cool from the moment that your cab pulls up outside its art deco façade. Its simply decorated communal spaces are moody and sophisticated, the rooms are stylish and comfortable and the Aurora Day Spa offers one of Victoria’s most luxurious and relaxing experiences. And we haven’t even mentioned the award-winning in-house restaurant yet…

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking The Prince with us:

A bottle of wine on arrival: choose from red, white or rosé

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at The Prince

'Deluxe linger longer'

Facilities

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The Prince hotel – Melbourne – Australia

Need To Know

Rooms

There are 40 rooms, separated into Single, Deluxe, Superior and Premier Suite categories.

Check–out

11am, flexible if there’s availability. Check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $111.38 (AU$136), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Rates usually include breakfast.

Also

The hotel’s respected Aurora Spa Retreat gets booked up well in advance, so bag a treatment when you reserve your room.

At the hotel

CD/DVD library, free WiFi in the foyer, spa. In rooms: TV, DVD player, free broadband, Aurora Spa Rituals amenities packs, minibar, radio alarm clock.

Our favourite rooms

All the rooms have a different layout. We love high-ceilinged Room 413, a Premier Suite, which comes with a separate living area, an Arne Jacobsen Egg chair and a freestanding Philippe Starck tub in the bathroom. Its private balcony offers wonderful vistas of Port Phillip Bay and the Melbourne city skyline. We also like Room 309, a Superior, for its sheer size and great views.

Poolside

Talk about a lucky dip - the Circa's indoor pool is frequently closed for private events, but you may be able to score a splash during your stay. It lies behind sliding glass screens and adjacent to an elegant tiled deck that’s dotted with white faux-leather sofas. The expansive outside deck boasts larger day beds and views over Port Philip Bay and back to the city.

Packing tips

Ear plugs might come in handy as noise from gigs at the Prince Bandroom and pub below the hotel can spill over on Fridays and weekends until 3am. Bring trainers or rollerblades to make the most of the St Kilda promenade.

Also

Check the dates of the ear-splitting Australian Grand Prix if you’re planning on staying at the hotel in March. The Prince is only a five-minute stroll from Albert Park, where the Formula 1 race is held annually.

Children

Baby cots are provided for free and rollaway beds for kids for AU$50 a night. The concierge can book a babysitter for a minimum of three hours, price on application.

Food & Drink

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The Prince hotel – Melbourne – Australia

Hotel Restaurant

Head chef Jake Nicolson is the man behind Circa, the hotel’s destination restaurant, which has garnered two hats (the Aussie equivalent of Michelin stars). Previously specialising in Euro-influenced Mod Oz fare, the restaurant now offers elegant sharing plates styled with Asian zing: Kingfish sashimi with Yuzu and basil jelly; beef with red miso and fig sauce, or bonito with green tea. Chef isn't afraid of simplicity, serving beautifully unadorned desserts of wild strawberries, for example. For nocturnal nibblers, there's also Acland St Cantina, the basement Mexican with a casual section at the front, and a characterful restaurant and bar at the back. The Cantina is open from 7am until 2am, so you won't go hungry. 

Hotel Bar

Treat yourself to an espresso martini in the sexy and intimate Circa Bar, which throngs until around midnight, especially on a Sunday, or indulge in the serious regional and international wine list. Commandeer chairs on the airy balcony for views of Fitzroy Street’s palm trees, trams and ocean horizons.

Last orders

The waitstaff stop taking orders at 9.30pm. On Sundays, the restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Room service

Snacks and drinks are available 24 hours a day.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Dress to impress – the Prince attracts a sartorially sussed crowd.

Top table

A corner banquette, or one in the middle, for the best people watching.

Local Guide

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The Prince hotel – Melbourne – Australia
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Rollerblading along the esplanade is popular in summer, and you can stop along the way for a drink, an ice-cream, a swim in the bay or a dip at St Kilda Sea Baths. Luna Park, on the Lower Esplanade, opened in 1912 and its enormous laughing-face façade and rollercoaster structure is a National Trust-protected icon of St Kilda. Entry is free, but you have to pay for rides.

If it’s shopping you’re after, then St Kilda is a great place in which to max out your credit card. On Fitzroy street, Hoss (Shop 3, 135 Fitzroy Street; +61 (0)3 9537 0933) stocks a enviable list of labels from international and Australian designers. Schmik Fashion (165 Fitzroy Street; +61 (0)3 9525 3134) is home to unique labels from around the globe including the oddly beautiful New Zealand Merino Mink, made from merino wool and possum fur. Schmick’s own-designed leather products are cool and colourful – think midnight blue knee high boots and studded belts.

And it’s not all fashion. Surround Interiors (1–3 Inkerman Street; +61 (0)3 9593 8744; www.surround.com.au) fits out some of the coolest places in town. Walk into its showroom and inspired. The Bitch is Back (100A Barklay Street; +61 (0)3 9534 8025) is a treasure trove of retro furniture. Every Sunday throughout the year, the Esplanade Market showcases works from around 200 of Victoria’s finest artists and craftspeople, who also sell direct to the public.

Local restaurants

Lau’s Family Kitchen, at 4 Acland Street, (03 8598 9880) offers delicious Cantonese food in a laid-back yet sleekly seductive contemporary space. In the George Hotel complex, the Melbourne Wine Room (03 9525 5599) serves modern Italian food with wonderful whites, reds and rosés by the glass and bottle. A fire gutted St Kilda Beach favourite Stokehouse (03 9525 5555), but it's expected to be back bigger and better in 2015.

Local bars

A cosy little bar in a birdcage-type enclosure inside The George Hotel complex, Mockingbird Tapas Bar (129 Fitzroy Street; +61 (0)3 9534 0000) is perfect for an after-dinner cocktail.

Local cafés

A great place for a coffee and cake or a sandwich, Il Fornaio (2 Acland Street; +61 (0)3 9536 1111) is also the perfect place to pick up picnic supplies. Its fridge is full of ready-prepared, take-home items such as tarts, frittatas and sandwiches made with home-baked bread.

+ Enlarge
Cosmopolitan St Kilda

The Prince

2 Acland Street, St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria 3182, Australia

Located in St Kilda, just off vibrant Fitzroy Street, The Prince is perfectly positioned just a short walk from the beach, and set amid an abundance of restaurants and shops.

Planes

Fly into Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport (www.melbourneairport.com.au) or Avalon Airport (www.avalonairport.com.au). Tullamarine services both international and domestic flights whereas Avalon services only domestic. You can get a shuttle bus (www.skybus.com.au; +61 (0)3 9600 1711) from both airports into Southern Cross Station in the city.

Trains

From the city you can hop on the 3a, 16, 96, or 112 trams to get to St Kilda (www.metlink.com.au; 131 638).

Automobiles

Car rental companies operate out of both airports. Tullamarine is 22km (30-40 minutes away by car) from the hotel and Avalon 55km (a little over an hour by car). Taxis are also plentiful and affordable.

Other

From the city you can hop on the 3a, 16, 96, or 112 trams to get to St Kilda.

Reviews

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The Prince hotel – Melbourne – Australia

Anonymous review

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

This review of The Prince in Melbourne is taken from our guidebook Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection Australia/New Zealand. Everyone needs a hometown hotel. There’s something deliciously extra-indulgent about ringing down for room service or getting your socks tidied up when, just a couple of blocks away, your own bedroom looks burgled and the fridge festers with a mouldy jar of pesto an…
Read more

The Prince

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

This review of The Prince in Melbourne is taken from our guidebook Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection Australia/New Zealand.

Everyone needs a hometown hotel. There’s something deliciously extra-indulgent about ringing down for room service or getting your socks tidied up when, just a couple of blocks away, your own bedroom looks burgled and the fridge festers with a mouldy jar of pesto and a parmesan block so hard you could repel intruders with it. It’s even more life-enhancing when the said hotel is home to one of Melbourne’s best restaurants, most luxurious spas and a boho mix of sophisticated vodka bar, divey public saloon and iconic live-music venue. So it is that St Kilda’s deco delight, the Prince, is a local love shack for this particular Mr & Mr Smith.

We arrive today, on a balmy and even more illicit mid-week evening, to celebrate Mr Smith the Just Younger’s forty-something birthday. It’s one of those perfect late summer afternoons – a hair-rustling breeze off the bay, light sharp enough to cut paper and a temperature in the high 20s I have learned to call mild.

It’s a little over a year since the last time we were here, sleeping for a nanosecond between a riotous civil partnership and a hung-over early-morning dash to the airport for an LA and Aspen ‘honeymoon’. The Prince is that kind of hotel – great for life’s Big Events. It’s certainly sleekly theatrical on arrival, with its minimalist double-storey reception backed by an abstract grey-green artwork and black staircase.

Welcomed back with minimal fuss, we are taken to our room, a balconied bolthole on buzzing Fitzroy Street with views down to the water. We all know that when it comes to ocean views Melbourne can’t compete with its dramatically harboured sister city to the north, but with the low sun streaming through the plane trees outside and the faint sound of clattering mastheads making it up from the marina, it’s hard to complain.

Tonight’s plan is simple: quick shower (the Aurora products are always a treat), dress for dinner and a vodka pre-prandial at Mink Bar in the basement. The rooms are fairly spacious at the Prince and have an uncluttered masculine style – dark woods, chocolate-grey carpets, simple white bedlinen with obligatory mohair throw – which we love but some find a little cold. The hotel is such a phantasmagoria of amenity options, though, you’re unlikely to want to plump up the pillows and watch cable anyway.

I have to say Mr Smith the Just Younger has scrubbed up very nicely for his birthday treat. He’s often told he looks like Charles Dance (mostly by his mother), but tonight it’s more casually suited rock star; there’s a cheerfully futile ruffling of plumage from a glamorous table of tanned and lithe St Kilda girls as we enter. We toast them from our clubby high-backed chairs and remember last year’s chance encounter in the small hours of the morning with the charming and bespectacled creator of Harvie Krumpet, Oscar-winning Australian animator and local boy Adam Elliot. We can’t remember who was more drunk. The Prince is that kind of place, too.

A Mai Tai and some neat Zubrowka under our belt, we wander back upstairs for dinner. Having recently celebrated its tenth birthday, Circa has freshened up, moving the dining spaces into its light central courtyard and trading its former pink and white decor for a voguish mix of grey banquettes, zingy yellow and white chairs, graphic wooden tables and sinuous metal pendant lamps, backdropped with shelves of homegrown herbs. The Asian- and Pacific-accented dishes taste and look just as good. This evening it’s exquisite barramundi and celebratory Tasmanian sparkling that hits the spot. Supremely well fed and slightly tipsy, we call it a night.

Luckily, tonight’s not a gig night and there’s work on the tram tracks outside, so the screeching and rattling so familiar to Melburnians is soothingly absent. We sleep like babies, in other words, and after a quick coffee and beautifully buttery croissant at downstairs Il Fornaio (Circa does its own, knockout breakfast, but the more relaxed streetside café is our local anyway), we are ready for our next and last treat at the generous Prince kampong: the Aurora Spa Retreat.

Ushered to the upstairs lounge, overlooking an expansive deck through Moroccan-inspired steel screens, we’re soon supping green tea in fluffy mushroom-hued robes and being introduced to our softly spoken masseurs. I opt for a good old Bliss Massage, which doesn’t disappoint, but I’ve booked a special detox treat for Mr Smith the Just Younger: a hydrotherapy Rainshower Treatment that takes place in a private steam room. A good thing too, it turns out, since the treatment involves standing upright against the wall in your underpants and being sprayed by a high-pressure water hose. It’s very exhilarating apparently, as well as exfoliating.

Too soon, then, our little steal-away birthday treat comes to an end. We check out as late we can, have a final coffee at Il Fornaio and postpone our five-minute journey home to pop in to yet another Prince offshoot, the Prince Wine Store; it’s one of the few places in Melbourne where you can buy our favourite tipple, Beaumes de Venise. The culture-forming pesto and parmesan concrete need company in the fridge. We’ll be back soon of course; the Prince is our hometown hotel.
 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The Prince's Guestbook below.

 

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We loved the location, decor and comfort of the hotel. 

Don’t expect

The staff in the restaurant downstairs need to soften up - I found them very stiff (I was worried that my second coffee would cost me more and my partner's much needed bloody mary at breakfast would be extra) - when we ordered the extra drink the young girl seemed to ignore them because it meant having to work it out at the till..I went and found the barista and he sorted us out.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved our room (413), and the degustation menu at the Circa was fabulous. The service at the hotel restaurant was exemplary.

Don’t expect

There was a problem with the heating the night we where there. More signage from the car park to the hotel would be good.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Breakfast at the Acland St Cantina was fantastic, and there was a flat parking fee of £10, which is reasonable for the St Kilda area.

Rating: 7/10 stars