Worth getting out of bed for
Recharge with a treatment at gorgeous local beauty and wellbeing oasis Aesop spa (153 Toorak Road; +61 (0)3 9866 5250), just around the corner from the hotel – an Australian brand known for its heavenly unisex scented body care products and chic graphic packaging. Alternatively, the hotel's in-house Lyall Spa serves up a mix of pampering massages and hot stone treatments, using Payot and Sodashi products. Mrs Smiths whose barnets need taming, crimping or just general zhuzhing would do well to visit the friendly fleet of capable cutters and colourists at Conrad Mace hair salon (+61 (0)3 9827 8685) in the Como Centre, Toorak Road. (Mr Smiths are very welcome, too.) Nails can be polished and perfected at the back of the salon. Toorak Road and Chapel Street, Melbourne’s most stylish shopping strips, are just a short walk away from the Lyall in South Yarra. Look out for Australian fashion designers Alannah Hill at 533 Chapel Street (+61 (0)3 9826 2755), Scanlan & Theodore, 566 Chapel Street (+ 61 (0)3 9824 1800) and T.L. Wood, 216 Chapel Street (+61 (0)3 9510 6700). You can gather stylish accessories including great handbags at Australian label Mimco, Shop 4, 567 Chapel Street (+61 (0)3 9827 0259), vintage interior finds at the fabulous Chapel Street Bazaar, at 217 Chapel Street (+61 (0)3 9529 1727) and fresh food at the bustling, popular Prahran Market at 163 Commercial Road (+61 (0)3 8290 8220), which boasts a tempting mix of local and imported fare. You're only a short distance from great parks (including the Royal Botanic Gardens, which boasts popular jogging track the Tan which skirts an ornamental lake), the banks of the Yarra River (great for strolling with views or culture-hopping at the Southbank's galleries) and the CBD, Melbourne's buzzy Central Business District, alive with shops, galleries, cafes and bars. For more olde worlde charms, nearby Como House, on the corner of Williams and Lechlade Avenue, is a 160-year-old South Yarra mansion providing a glimpse into the luxe life of former owners the Armytage family.
If you’re after Italian food, we love laidback Pinocchio (+61 (0)3 9867 2772) at 152 Toorak Rd. Don't leave without munching on at least one panino di agnello (two or three sounds sensible); we also loved the buttery rabbit mezzaluna and the zingy citrus tart. Sticking with the dolce vita theme, there’s romantic Da Noi at 95 Toorak Road (+61 (0)3 9866 5975) for menu-free Sardinian feasting, or the more straightforward Cosi at 68 Toorak Road (+61 (0)3 9867 399), loved by locals for its fireplace in winter and courtyard in summer. France-Soir at 11 Toorak Road (+61 (0)3 9866 8569) is loved as much for its authentic – and sometimes catty – Parisian attitude as its always perfect steak frites. Choose fish from the tank at bustling Chinese restaurant Pacific Seafood BBQ House, at 210 Toorak Rd (+61 (0)3 9826 3838). If you fancy a stroll, Hanoi Hannah (+61 (0)3 9939 5181) at 180 High Street in nearby Prahran serves up tasty Vietnamese hawker dishes and pho in a stylish space, with creative beers and cocktails on the side.
Drink (and eat) with the locals at Temperance Hotel,
at 426 Chapel Street (+61 (0)3 9827 7401) where there are interesting Australian beers to try. House DJs step it up on Friday and Saturday nights; Sunday afternoons feature laid-back live music. Visit French bistro Chez Olivier
121 Greville Street, Prahran (+61 (0)3 9525 2273) for bonhomie and Beaujolais at the bar, or party hard at lavish nightclub Love Machine
, on the corner of Little Chapel Street and Malvern Road, Prahran (+61 (03) 9533 8837). Do as the locals do: glam up and arrive early to secure entry. For something more low-key, enjoy cocktails and the cruisy mood at Tyranny of Distance
, at 47 Union St, Windsor (+61 (03) 9525 1005).
Join the locals for breakfast at Lawson Grove Shop,
1 Lawson Grove (61 (0)3 9866 3640), and riverfront Kanteen
, at 150 Alexandra Avenue (+61 (0)3 9827 0488), where you can follow up with a wander along the Yarra River. Oriental Tea House
at 455 Chapel Street (+61 (0)3 9824 0128) has delicious – and purportedly therapeutic – teas and elegant modern yum cha: try the prawn and pea leaf dumplings. Caffe Veloce,
at 9-11 Claremont Street (+61 (0)3 8080 9995), is in a prestige car showroom; the paninis and pastries are as classy as the gleaming machines.