The Singapore-based group Frasers Hospitality has been expanding aggressively in Asia-Pacific, particularly in China, where it has 14 properties. In Australia, the group has just opened its fourth residence in Brisbane under the brand Capri by Fraser.
Fraser Place Melbourne opened in 2012 and offers business and leisure travellers a range of moderately priced serviced apartments in the city centre.
The four-star residence is geared toward the young professional or millennial, offering functional design and minimalist décor.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
This is one of the more inconspicuous properties I’ve come across. You’d be forgiven for thinking the entrance was the service access to a Chinese restaurant as it’ s situated down a narrow alley in the centre of Melbourne’s Chinatown. This became a problem when, on the day of a conference, I was stood up by a taxi I'd ordered the night before. Because of its location, I failed to hail another among the mass of other conference-goers, but the staff were helpful and walked me to a nearby tram stop.
WHERE IS IT?
Just ten minutes walk from Melbourne Central station, Fraser Place is also a few blocks from the city’s key shopping destinations on Bourke Street and the illustrious Victorian architecture that defines Melbourne’s famous Collins Street. The city’ s grid layout makes navigating its attractions a literal walk in the park, with nearby the Carlton Gardens, home to the Melbourne Museum, which houses exhibits on the state of Victoria.
Asian fusion eateries and eccentric coffee shops are in abundance, enough to rival Starbucks’ “one on every corner” monopoly. The free City Circle Tram completes a circuit of the city every 48 minutes, between 10am and 6pm Sunday to Wednesday, and 10am and 9pm Thursday to Saturday, and stops at Melbourne’s main attractions and CBD.
The residence’s 112 apartments are spread over 13 floors. There are two towers, one dedicated to basic units, the other to executive units. Rooms fall under three categories – Studio Deluxe (28-30 sqm), Studio Executive (30-33 sqm) and Studio Premier (48 sqm).
I stayed in a Studio Executive apartment on the eighth floor, which was spacious, with a wooden desk, washer/dryer, dishwasher, sink and cooker, plus ample wardrobe space to accommodate long-term guests.
The Deluxe Studios don’t have a washer/dryer, but guests can opt for laundry and dry-cleaning services for a fee. Complimentary wifi is available for all guests, and international adaptors can be obtained from reception. All rooms are equipped with a 32-inch TV with a limited selection of Australian and international channels on offer. L’Occitane amenities are also available in all rooms.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
A limited continental breakfast and selection of cereals and bread is served in a casual, open-plan café on the ground floor. Featuring Western favourites from nearby restaurants, room service is available from 5pm to 10.45pm Sunday to Thursday and 5pm to 11.45pm Fridays and Saturdays.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES
There are no meeting facilities but there are two Apple computers in the foyer that can be used on a first come, first served basis. Printing can be done by reception
There is a compact and well equipped gym on the first floor, which is open 24/7 and accessible by key card. Guests are also encouraged to enjoy the skyline view from the rooftop terrace and help themselves to herbs growing there for their own cooking.
This property is tended by a team of capable and gracious staff, and is suitable for travellers looking for spacious, if basic, accommodation in the heart of Melbourne.
- HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 112 studio apartments, which come in three configurations: Deluxe (28-30 sqm), Executive (30-33 sqm), and Premier (48 sqm).
- HIGHLIGHTS The large kitchenette with cooking utensils and appliances is great for keen cooks and long-term guests who prefer to dine in. There is also a diverse range of restaurants nearby.
- PRICE Internet rates for a flexible mid-week stay in mid-July start from A$169 (US$137) for a Studio Executive room.
- CONTACT 19 Exploration Lane, Melbourne; Tel + 61 3 9669 6888; melbourne.frasershospitality.com