Since it opened in 1997, Crown Casino has been more than just a glorified pokie tavern. Hundreds of millions have been pumped into building new hotels, restaurants, bars and shops, and the outcome is a complex that’s huge in some aspects, yet intimate in others.
It’s on the intimate side where Crown comes into its own, especially in and around the flagship hotel, Crown Towers. The old girl is looking more glamorous than ever and thanks to a $85 million the rejuvenation of the lobby, rooms, suites and club lounge, the hotel is nothing short of Melbourne’s finest.
Attached to the lobby is the Waiting Room, a bar created by Neil Perry’s Rockpool Group that serves up a range of classic and house-crafted cocktails that always tempt, tease and excite the palate. Think a Pina Colada with a homemade coconut-infused Jamaican rum, or a Sherry Cobbler with a lemon and pineapple syrup made in the Rockpool kitchen out the back. The bartenders are happy to make suggestions and they don’t disappoint when charged with the task of shaking up a Hemingway Daiquiri and an Aviation.
Next door is Rockpool Bar & Grill, a restaurant that continues to receive rave reviews thanks to the high quality of the beef and seafood, and top shelf service. Neighbouring Spice Temple has recently introduced a lunchtime yum cha menu (noon-3pm daily), while Bistro Guillaume has re-opened in a new space and offers an exciting Parisian-bistro menu from Chef Guillaume Brahimi. For something more casual, stroll down to Robert Marchetti’s Giuseppe, Arnaldo and Sons where it’s about modern Italian food and wine.
Then again, you could always order some room service in bed because once you walk in and see what’s been done to the Crown Towers rooms, it’s more than tempting to stay in. As part of the transformation, Crown completely redesigned the rooms and suites, bringing them to a level that’s rarely seen in Australia. Think oversized bathrooms, floor-to-ceiling windows, luxurious beds and high-definition TVs.
When you book, make sure you get Crystal Club access where it’s no less than a glass of Champagne on check-in and pre-dinner cocktails and canapés, while rounding out a romantic getaway is a treatment at the rejuvenated Crown Spa, due for completion in the coming months.