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A city hotel on a secret street: A review of the Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street

March 18, 2022
8 min read
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“I didn’t even know this street was here!” That was the common refrain from Uber drivers picking me up or dropping me off at the Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street, which opened a year ago in March.

The 244-room hotel marked the return of the Hilton brand to Australia’s second-largest city after a five-year absence, but seems to have remained under the radar since then.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

Little wonder, since Little Queen Street isn’t one of the city’s better known alleyways, and the hotel’s secondary entrance on Bourke Street is the neo-Baroque 1930s façade of the former Equity Trustees Company building without much obvious Hilton signage to be seen.

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What the Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street lacks in street cred, though, it makes up for in location and affordability. Here’s what it was like during my recent two-night stay.

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Quick take

Incorporating both a nearly century-old bank edifice and a contemporary 16-story tower, the Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street feels like the prototypical Australian business hotel.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

On the one hand there is a heritage wing, which houses the Italian-skewing Luci restaurant and the craft cocktail den, Douglas Bar. It has a lot of character, and thanks to the preservation of historical architectural features like multi-story Corinthian columns, quarter-turn stone staircases and sections of exposed wall and ceiling frescoes, guests get a sense of what the building must have looked like back in its heyday.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

The accommodation tower, however, feels like your average Hilton hotel in Anywhere, U.S.A. with a bland color palette and limited in-room amenities.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

Perhaps the hotel’s best feature? Its Little Queen Street face is a wall of angled bronze panels that dynamically reflect an enormous mural on the building opposite by local graffiti artist Kitt Bennett.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

Getting there

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

The Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street is located toward the western end of the rectangular grid of streets that makes up the city’s central business district (CBD).

It’s within walking distance from many central sights including the Flinders Street Station and Federation Square, as well as the bars and restaurants of Southbank in one direction and trendier neighborhoods like Fitzroy in the other (though that’s a healthy hike).

Ubers to and from the airport cost around 50AU$ ($37) and most drop-offs around the CBD will cost under 20AU$ ($14.50).

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

Booking details

Room rates at the Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street Melbourne tend to start in the range of $175-$220, or between 45,000-55,000 points per night in the coming months.

The nights of my stay, I booked the starter King Guest Room for $215 per night, but was upgraded to a King Deluxe Room with City View and received complimentary breakfast each day thanks to my Hilton Honors Gold elite status.

Standout features

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)
  • Central location near the heart of the action in the CBD.
  • Uber-helpful staff -- a forgotten item in the room was returned immediately after checkout.
  • Affordable room rates both for paid and award nights.

Drawbacks

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)
  • Though part of it is located in a century-old building, the guest room tower and accommodations feel standardized and nondescript.
  • In-room amenities are scant.
  • The neighborhood feels very quiet at night since it’s mostly surrounded by businesses.

The room

The hotel’s guest rooms were designed with more custom details than might be apparent at first glance. According to Hilton, the geometric carpet patterns reference designs in the Equity Trustees Company façade. Also, artistic prints by Roger Arnall are blown-up details from architectural sites around Melbourne, while leather closet handles are meant to evoke the glamour of travel in a bygone era.

All that was lost on me, unfortunately. The room, while spacious, felt sterile -- and not in a COVID-era positive way. It just didn’t seem to have any unique charm thanks to the white-gray-blue palette and paucity of wall art.

However, it did include plenty of USB ports and power plugs (make sure you have an adapter), fast Wi-Fi and a large HDTV with Chromecast. One major drawback for this caffeine fiend: an electric kettle and coffee sachets rather than an in-room espresso-maker, which is practically de rigueur in Australia.

The bathroom was small but efficiently laid out, with a long marble countertop and single sink, as well as a walk-in shower with overhead and wall-mounted spigots. The herbaceous Hunter Lab bath products were a nice touch, but the anti-theft bar in the shower meant to prevent stealing the full-size bottles made it hard to actually dispense shampoo and conditioner. Finally, the toilet was wedged so tightly into a corner that it might be difficult for some longer-legged guests to use.

Food and drink

In a city as food-focused as Melbourne, it would take a destination restaurant to keep me in at my hotel on any given evening rather than roving the nearby laneways.

While chef Sam Moore’s Luci was certainly beautiful to behold, the empty dining hall and intriguing (but expensive) menu had me venturing out both evenings of my stay. That said, if you do decide to dine in, you can count on specialties like fregola with lobster emulsion and barbecued scallops (26AU$/$19) and dry-aged Macedon duck breast with apricots and fennel ($44AU$/$32).

I did, however, enjoy the serviceable breakfast buffet. It included a few hot items like scrambled eggs, bacon and pork sausage, along with fresh fruits, pastries and a selection of cold cuts along with filtered coffee or tea (barista-brewed coffee drinks cost extra).

The second night of my stay I stopped by one of the Douglas Club’s two Art Deco-leaning lounge areas, which sit to either side of the Bourke Street entrance. I sipped a pre-prandial cocktail under ceilings fitted with screens displaying a multi-media art show.

The signature Maple Lane (23AU$/$17) that I ordered was a take on the classic Boulevardier, with Rittenhouse rye, Antica Formula vermouth, absinthe, Peychaud’s bitters, fig and rosemary syrup with a candied rosemary praline, all smoked with maple wood. It was savory, tangy and strong — the perfect setup for a night out on the town.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

Amenities and service

The hotel’s gym was located one floor above reception and contained a few treadmills, an elliptical, a rowing machine and free weights.

There were meeting rooms aplenty on the same floor, but no spa at the hotel, which isn’t a huge drawback in a city hotel like this one.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

As for service, the waitstaff at Luci were all very warm and friendly, inviting me to sit in a quiet corner of the restaurant so I could linger over breakfast and spend a few hours working in the morning. The reception agents were likewise friendly and efficient, and even recovered an item I’d left behind in the room in record time.

Checking out

Perhaps not the most distinctive hotel in the city, the Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street was, nonetheless, a nice place to spend the final two nights of my Australian itinerary. The staff was welcoming and cheerful, the room was spacious and serviceable, and the breakfast buffet provided a nice venue for holding morning office hours. I’d love to see some espresso makers in the guest rooms, as well as more art throughout the hotel and accommodations. Barring that, though, affordable cash and award rates might just be enough to keep this hotel in my regular room rotation for future visits to Melbourne.

Featured image by (Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Annual Fee

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  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases