You can’t hurry love in a time of COVID-19. You can, however, dream of romance – the kind depicted in movies – and, when social distancing restrictions ease, rediscover all the loved-up locations in Melbourne’s beating heart.
What’s not to love? Not only does Melbourne hold the global record as ‘most liveable’ city and rank high on the ‘most romantic’ destinations on the planet (according to a 2008 Wotif.com poll) – it’s also a favourite location for rom-com, action and drama movies, including some of the best-loved Australian and Hollywood blockbusters of all time.
So, grab some popcorn and discover why Melbourne is just the place to find love in all the right places. Psst: August is global Romance Awareness Month.
Room with a View (voted No. 9 best movie of all time) wasn’t actually filmed in Melbourne, but TFE Hotels’ ‘new romantic’, Vibe Hotel Melbourne promises swoon-worthy, uninterrupted views over the Yarra River… all the way to Port Phillip Bay. Staking prime position on the corner of Queen and Flinders Streets, the 206-room property is blessed with the kind of views and natural light guests normally only dream of (#NoUpgradeRequired), thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows that grace its 24-storey, glass-fronted tower.
For the ultimate romantic staycation, book Vibe Melbourne’s Terrace Suite, which comes with a private 60.69sqm outdoor terrace. Big enough for a romantic slow dance or ‘champagne sunset’ while watching the city in slow motion. Tip: For a taste of Italy, where Room with a View was filmed, look no further than an intimate gondola tour with Venice on the Yarra's ‘Romance Package’.
Lights, camera, action! Hollywood first descended on Melbourne in 1959, when sci-fi drama, On the Beach, brought silver screen stars of the ilk of Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Anthony Perkins to town. Melbourne’s most iconic landmarks, including Flinders Street Station and State Library Victoria, formed the backdrop… as did Vibe Melbourne’s heritage base.
A marvel before its own lifetime, Vibe Melbourne’s 147-year-old base – now home to St Marks Road Co. bar and dining hub (you’ll love happy hour!) – predates a mind-boggling line-up of the city’s iconic attractions and events. Dating back to 1873, the hotel’s grand Renaissance Revival-style Lobby level first claimed a foothold in the city’s heart during the peak of the Gold boom (1850s – 1890s), when Melbourne’s wealth rivalled the British Empire’s capital of London, earning it the title ‘Marvellous Melbourne’. The original two-storey building, retained in Vibe Melbourne’s reimagining, started out as offices for the maritime trade, before Australian menswear icon, Fletcher Jones, moved its main city showroom into the space in 1955.
For a date night straight out of the movies, head west – about 8km from Melbourne’s CBD – to the iconic Sun Theatre (circa 1938), in Yarraville. This art deco treasure doubled as the setting for a laugh-out-loud ‘date scene’ in Australian hit movie, The Dressmaker, also set in the 1950s, starring Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth and Judy Davis. Watch this behind-the-scenes clip before your own date night at the heritage venue, comprising eight cinema screens showing latest-release Hollywood movies and art films.
Coming Soon: TFE Hotels’ soon-to-be-opened Adina Apartment Hotel West Melbourne is just a 10-minute train ride from Yarraville – and walking distance from Melbourne’s CBD. That is, if you can drag yourself away from a soul-cation at the 99-room property designed to soothe and pamper all who enter as part of Trennery Property’s much-anticipated West End precinct. Scheduled to open in October, expect a ‘check-in and chill out’ experience.
Switching from ohm to action, Hollywood’s retake on the Marvel Comics character, Ghost Rider, starring Nicholas Cage, was filmed entirely in Melbourne – notably at Etihad Stadium (since renamed Marvel Stadium). Ordinarily the venue of blockbuster sporting events and stadium concerts, it’s just down the road from Adina West Melbourne in the Docklands precinct.
Sport lovers, listen-up! Baz Luhrmann’s epic ‘Aussie’ take on a fairy tale romance, Strictly Ballroom, took a twirl in Australia’s premier sports hub (Melbourne Sports and Entertainment Precinct). The movie’s nail-biting climax (the all-important Pan-Pacific Grand Prix Dancing Championships) was filmed in the Holden Centre, at Olympic Park, on parquetry floor installed in 1983 to replace an Olympic-sized pool, originally built for the 1956 Olympic Games.
The sporting precinct, situated 3km east of Melbourne’s CBD, is also home to one of the city’s most recognisable and colossal landmarks, Melbourne Cricket Ground, and, for tennis fans, the Australian Open's Rod Laver Arena. Just the start of a marathon line-up of world-class spectator venues in a city obsessed with sport, also including football, horse racing and motorsport.
Giddy-up! Set your heart racing at Melbourne Museum via a face-to-face encounter with the Australian sporting champion famed for the ‘biggest heart’. Yes, Phar Lap – also immortalised in one of Australia’s most popular movies. A life-size exhibit of the racehorse is stabled at the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere.
If size matters, supersize your love life – and take it to new heights – on the Southern Hemisphere’s only giant Observation Wheel, the Melbourne Star. One rotation takes 30 minutes; enough time to toast ‘true love’ during a ‘Sparkling Flights’ package.
Feeling giddy ‘in love’ is also par for the course, 300 metres up, on Eureka Skydeck, the highest public viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere.
Coming Soon: TFE Hotels’ Adina Apartment Hotel Melbourne Southbank – opening in September, just steps from Eureka Skydeck – is guaranteed to win hearts and eco-conscious minds, featuring the world’s tallest cross-laminated (CLT) extension (offsetting around 4,200 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere).
From a plyscraper to subterranean encounter, make tracks to South Lawn underground car park at University of Melbourne (less than 30 minutes by train from Flinders Street Station). Affectionately dubbed ‘the Mad Max car park’ – located not far from Melbourne Museum, State Library Victoria and Queen Victoria Market – it features in the original Mad Max movie as the setting of the Metropolitan Police Force garage, where Max (Mel Gibson) is handed the keys to the ‘last of the V8 interceptors’. The heritage-listed car park also appears in the film, Lion, starring Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel.
Shifting gears, hit the road north to explore the setting of the pivotal country fair scene in Charlotte’s Web, filmed in the grounds of Heidelberg West Football Club (10km north-east of Melbourne’s CBD or an hour’s tram ride from the city). Did you know? The first ever feature film was shot in. The Story of the Ned Kelly Gang – filmed in 1906, on a budget of £450, and first shown at Melbourne Town Hall – is inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register as the world’s first full-length narrative feature film.
Insider Tip: Feel your heart pound on a ‘Hangman’s Night Tour’ at Old Melbourne Gaol, where the infamous bushranger was hanged in 1880.
Melbourne is waiting to unlock your heart.
Are you ready for romance? According to a national survey conducted by dating site eHarmony (in 2016), Australia is a nation of romantics: 96% agree romance is an important part of dating and 53% believe a relationship is doomed without it; 47% believe in love at first sight; 60% are committed to finding ‘the one’; and 30% believe in the possibility of finding the kind of love depicted in movies.
Final word: cuddling up, ordering room service and ‘staying in’ is always an option at TFE Hotels’ portfolio of 11 Melbourne-based properties (and counting), where all rooms come with the group’s signature Dreamcatcher beds.
Peace of mind when you stay with us: Introducing Clean Touch.