There is an extensive selection of good quality temporary accommodation, hotels and serviced apartments in Melbourne and it is very easy to reserve rooms. The best prices are available online, or if you arrive at an off-peak time (midweek or any time in winter). While it is recommended you make arrangements before arrival (booking in advance for periods longer than a week usually results in significant savings), it is always possible to find accommodation upon arrival with enough patience.
For new arrivals, serviced apartments are generally the best option as they are cheaper than a long stay in a hotel.
The following serviced apartments are all available as one or more bedrooms (for families and larger groups), and include free wireless internet. Most require bookings of 3 nights or more.
|Melbourne Short Stay Apartments||http://www.shortstay.com.au/index.php?id=03||1 location in Northwest Corner of CBD, and 4 in various locations around Southbank||Apartment quality varies but all are clean and well equipped. Either location is suitable although someSouthbank locations may feel less central. All apartments come with full kitchens (meaning that they have ovens as well as hotplates and a full-size fridge, rather than the smaller ´bar fridge´ that you find in hotel rooms). Discount specials are available if you book online, and prices reduce if booking for more than 14 nights. Rates for stays over 2 months include significant discounts.||$175 per night (starting price of 1 bedroom apartments) to $525 per nightwith view) (upper price of three bedroom apartments|
|Docklands Serviced Apartments||http://www.docklandsservicedapartments.com.au/||Docklands||Constructued within the last 5 years. Very clean and modern with great amenities. Reviews suggest that staff are consistently friendly and helpful, providing extra services like reservations of taxis and hirecars. This area is quieter than the CBD, has great access to a handful of new waterfront restaurants and the Waterfront shopping complex, and is very close to most Melbourne attractions. Popular option for families with children.||$270 per night (for a 1 bedroom) to $690 per night for a 3 bedroom|
|Nova StarGate Apartment Hotel||http://www.novastargate.com.au/||City||This confusingly named building is a budget option. Although they are improving gradually, the interiors are decidedly basic. Nova is clean and well provisioned, but won’t be winning any design awards. Not the easiest on the eyes, but perfectly safe for families with children. The location is the biggest attraction (it is at the top of the CBD, very close to all attractions and the Queen Vic open-air market).||$215 per night for a standard room (as low as $105 if you book online) to $295 for a twoThere are also discounts to be had on their website if making a “last minute” booking.
|Paramount Serviced Apartments||http://www.theparamount.com.au/||City||The Paramount receives mixed reviews although personal experience has always been positive. The Paramount can get a little noisy on the lower levels as it is located in the heart of the city and the double-glazing is less-than-outstanding. However, the staff are great, the apartments are clean and well-equipped, there is a rooftop tennis court and pool,and China Town and the rest of the Melbourne’s main attractions are right outside the front door.||$129 per night for a standard one bedroom to $469 per night for a top-level penthouse suite|
|City Edge Serviced Apartments||http://www.cityedge.com.au/||5 locations in East Melbourne||All five locations of City Edge apartments are beginning to show their age. This doesn´t make them a bad option though as the tarifs are reasonable (especially if you can get one of their internet specials, or are staying for longer than a few weeks). All clean, functional and within walking distance of the CBD and surrounding attractions and amenities (such as the MCG and Royal Botanic Gardens). Definitely a good budget option, particularly for those with kids. The slightly shabby interiors make the City Edge apartments an easy place for parents of little ones to relax, without worrying too much about paying for extra stains on the carpet.||From $95 per night for a studio apartment$459 for a two bedroom apartment to|
An alternative to serviced apartments:
If you are single (or a couple with no children) it also may be possible to stay in someone’s home. While situations vary, the options on offer at the following website are generally a complete unit or property for long term rent, or a room or rooms that allow you to co-habitate with the owner in their home, using shared facilities such as the kitchen and lounge. While not for everyone, there are some deals to be found, and if you are comfortable with meeting new people it can be very helpful to lodge with a local when first moving to a new city for the insight (and connections if they like you) they can provide.
An alternative to paying for accommodation:
If you are organised (and lucky) before you leave home, you may be able to housesit. This is increasingly popular in Melbourne with home-owners who want to go away on holiday and have their homes secured, as well as their pets and gardens cared for.
A win-win situation for owner and sitter, a housesit can be the ideal rent-free way to begin to become familiar with Melbourne.
There are downsides: You can´t choose the length of the housesit or the suburb and you will almost certainly need to look after animals. If you have kids, though, house-sitting is a great alternative to the more cramped and pricey temporary accommodation options.
The best place to find housesits is on the Internet. The following sites are the most heavily trafficked, but remember that none of them act as brokers, they are simply noticeboards and if there are problems or disputes, the website does not intervene. All of them charge a fee for access and none of them guarantee you will find a suitable accommodation. In spite of this, even the most expensive fee pays for itself in the first day or two of your housesit and being in an established home is usually much more relaxing and enjoyable than an impersonal hotel or apartment.
This is the site with the highest fees (between AUD$115 and AUD$275 depending on your membership choice). It is the most heavily trafficked site, though, and your chances of securing a housesit are high, particularly over the summer holidays when many more families go away for Christmas and New Year. The site is difficult to navigate though and quite poorly designed.
The least expensive (around AUD$60 for a 12 month membership) and easiest-to-use site. They advertise sits all over the world, not just in Australia, but there are still fewer ads than the previous website.