a winning punt
I'll be honest..
I wouldn't exactly call myself a jetsetter - yet! I'm working on it, hehe - but I have stayed at seven different hotels in three different countries in the last seven weeks! So, when it comes to quality accommodation, I'd say my opinion bears some weight.
I'd seen Punthill apartments around town before, and although I've always been curious about what they actually are, I'd never thought to investigate any further. I secretly assumed they were an apartment building franchise (and this is almost - partly - kind of true). So, imagine my surprise when I was extended an invitation to stay at Punthill's brand-spankin' new Northbank apartments and learned that they're actually serviced apartments you can stay in for as briefly as just one night!
That said, you won't want to stay for just one night. No, really. Trust me.
When it comes to accommodation, I have four categories of measurement: 1) I refuse to stay here. I mean, at all. Not even for one night. 2) This is okay, and it isn't terrible or anything.. But I don't think I'd stay here again unless I really had to. 3) This is so nice - I love it! I wish we could stay for longer! When can we come back? and 4) I really, honestly, truly want to live here. I mean, I can really picture myself living here permanently.
Punthill Northbank's apartments are the only place I've ever stayed at anywhere that have fallen into Category 4. Unfortunately, their apartments aren't for sale (but you'll tell me if they ever are, right, guys?). They are, however, available for vacations and StayCations! Plus, when the cost of staying there is much the same as staying at any other decent hotel, WHY would you choose to stay anywhere else?!
Here are my reasons for placing Punthill's Northbank apartments straight into Category 4:
Punthill's Northbank apartments are located in perhaps - no, definitely - the most convenient spot I've ever stayed at within Melbourne's CBD. It's right across the river from the Crown Entertainment Complex (hello, food + shopping + nightlife!), across the street from Southern Cross Station (hello, one of the biggest and most convenient train stations in all of Melbourne) and sits ON Flinders Street (hello, free trams that will take you around all of Melbourne CBD!). Many of the city's best shopping centres, restaurants and bars are well within walking distance, which is, of course, super important. Oh, and secure parking - should you need it - isn't onsite, but it is just around the corner. Arrange it with the concierge prior to checking in, and you'll score yourself some pretty darn competitive rates (especially given how expensive secure parking usually is within the CBD!).
A Million Amenities
Okay, maybe not a million - but a lot. The apartments are self-contained, which means they're practically begging to be lived in (I'm keen, guys. I'm keen). Instead of the usual one-room-with-one-bathroom deal, you'll find yourself in a spacious apartment complete with a seamlessly-hidden washing machine (there's also laundry service available, if that's more your thing), dryer, ironing board (and iron), dishwasher, refrigerator, stoves, microwave, a kitchen that spans the entire length of the apartment, and cutlery. I was really grateful for this, because my boyfriend and I recently stayed at a hotel and thought it'd be a good idea to buy ourselves some cheese and wine. When we got back to our room, we discovered that we had no knives - not even plastic ones - so we took turns taking bites out of the 500g block of cheese instead. BE THANKFUL FOR CUTLERY, Y'ALL.
You'll also find a living area (yes, that means your other half can watch The Avengers while you sleep in the blissful silence of your bedroom - I speak from experience), a dining table and a generously-sized built-in wardrobe that contains - wait for it - plenty of hangers for you to hang your clothes! (Seriously, what are hotels thinking when they give two people just four hangers?)
One thing I always look for in a hotel is an onsite gym (I may not always use it, I admit, but I like knowing that it's there if I need it), and Punthill Northbank's gym is exceptional. It's located on the top (28th) floor, for starters, so the view is #inspirational. If you're clever, like my other half and I are (well, we like to think we are), you'll do as we did and visit the gym before it closes at 10pm. When you're there, you'll take a whole bunch of breathtaking Melbourne-city-skyline-at-night pictures from the balcony.
Shimmering city lights aside, the gym is actually decent. You know how most hotel gyms are the size of a closet and really only give one person enough room to exercise without feeling awkward? Well, this one is many, many times larger and much better equipped. See? Totally worthy of moving-in-permanently.
Oh, and before I move onto the next section, I should mention something critically important. There's complimentary WiFi for all guests.
The Mini Bar..
.. But not as you know it.
You know that cheese story I mentioned above? Well, we kind of encountered another problem when we'd had enough of taking turns biting our 500g block of cheese. When we went to put our cheese into the refrigerator, we realised we couldn't. There was no room. There was actually no room to put anything in there because it was already full of waiting-for-you-to-drink-it-so-they-can-charge-you-for-it bottles of water, juice and alcohol.
At Punthill's Northbank apartments, you not only get a full-sized refrigerator and freezer, you'll also find that both the refrigerator and freezer are empty. Why, yes, we did fill it with cheese and wine.
Instead, the onsite cafe downstairs - which has seriously suave tiled floors, just as an FYI - is named "Mini Bar" and you can either choose to eat in (yes, I did order the smashed avo on gluten free toast.. How did you guess?) OR you can give them a call from your room and they'll bring food and drink right up to your room! The menu is atypical, in the best way. Coconut mylk lattes, green smoothies and gluten-free tapas boards, ahoy!
Service with a Smile
At the end of the day, the apartments are still serviced apartments, which means you can still look forward to room service (mentioned above) as well as daily housekeeping. I should mention that the toiletries are super cute (another brownie point when it comes to scoring hotels - anyone else agree?), so who wouldn't want daily top-ups? *sheepish smile*
That View, Though..
One of the very best things about the Punthill Northbank apartments is - without a doubt - the views. When you place a 28-storey apartment building with floor-to-ceiling windows across the street from Melbourne's most iconic river and ensure that the views are uninterrupted.. Well, you can probably finish that sentence yourself.
Falling asleep with the city's glittering lights winking at me, and waking up with Port Melbourne's beach visible in the distance, was quite literally an experience I'd happily sign up for every single day and night. It sure beats the view of my neighbour's fence back home!
A Home Away From Home
If you need (or want!) to stay longer - like, for 28 days or more - you can. The rates become even more competitive, and you can choose between their 1- or 2-bedroom apartments.
According to the folk at Punthill, their goal is to create a space that feels like your home away from home.. But for me, it feels like home. So.. Can I stay?