Signature checks into… Sage Hotel Melbourne
Sage Hotel Melbourne, Ringwood is taking inner-city style into the Melbourne suburbs but that’s not what is most special about the place, as Sarah Nicholson discovers.
The 120-room Sage Hotel Melbourne, Ringwood crowns the Eastland Shopping Centre and is the very first hotel to top a retail complex in Victoria, which makes the location something other hotel developers are now looking to duplicate.
Traveller: Sarah Nicholson
Room: Deluxe King Room
Address: 211 Maroondah Highway, Ringwood, Victoria, 3134
Date: February 2018
Best for: A quirky stay ideal for suburban shopping or jaunts to the Yarra Valley.
Sage Hotel Melbourne, Ringwood has taken chic laneway style and deposited it in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, with the address boasting funky designer features and staff offering thoughtful service. The hotel sits above Eastland Shopping Centre which recently underwent a $665 million renovation to maintain its position as one of Melbourne’s premier retail destinations, boasting everything from luxury labels to popular high-street brands.
Sage Hotel Melbourne, Ringwood is the latest property added to the Sage portfolio, which already includes addresses from Perth and Adelaide to Wollongong and Brisbane. The Melbourne location is a new-build, welcoming its first guests in October 2017, with the brand striving to create accommodation “that champions the local, yet understands the needs of global guests”.
I receive an email with precise directions on finding the hotel’s carpark, including the address to put into my car’s GPS, and after following the signs around the exterior of the complex, I find the basement entrance without too much trouble. The check-in process is quick; I’m directed to the second set of lifts that take me to the guest wing, and am in my room only a few minutes after parking the car. I love the quirky design details in the spacious lobby, which includes the High & Dry Bar, lounge areas, Partake Restaurant and space where guests can work collaboratively or solo at desks or big tables, including lights with exposed Edison-style bulbs, street-art murals by artist Mike Eleven and urbane furniture.
The room is light, bright and feels fresh with the scent of new carpet in the air and the spiffy appearance of a building not long completed. There is a floor-to-ceiling window at the far end of the room, with glass taking up the whole space to frame a view across the leafy eastern suburbs to the Yarra Valley peaks in the distance, and the king-size bed is wearing white sheets with a purple quilted throw adding a splash of colour. The dominant hue is grey – the walls, floor, bedhead, armchair and accent pillows all wear gentle shades of graphite and charcoal – while the desk, TV stand, hanging space and bedside tables are an almost-black timber that adds to the easy aesthetic. The bathroom is in two segments, with the shower and toilet behind a frosted glass sliding door and the vanity open to the room, which is a thoughtful feature that lets natural light reach the mirror and two people use the area at the same time. Each of the 120 rooms offers the Sage DreamWeave Sleep System, complimentary Wi-Fi, day and night room service, a smart TV with free blockbuster movies and coffee pod machines.
Sage Hotel Melbourne, Ringwood’s top suite is the Executive King Room which is slightly larger than my comfortable chamber, enjoys a north-facing view across the nearby Dandenong Ranges and includes continental breakfast.
Partake is Sage Hotel Melbourne, Ringwood’s eatery open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with cosy booths, snazzy teal crockery and orchids in glass vases. The drinks menu has lots of local beer, cider and wine, including brands created along the road in the Yarra Valley, while the food menu features typical hotel fare, but with attention to presentation and local produce. I order the Colonial Brewing Company’s apple cider called Bertie – named because the Yarra Valley apples are brewed in the Melbourne factory that once made Bertie Beetle chocolates – and the risotto with a trio of mushrooms before sorbet for dessert. There’s also ribs, pork belly, spaghetti, chicken and barramundi as mains, as well as four varieties of steak on the grill menu and a selection of delicious sides. Breakfast is standard with a basic buffet – including bircher muesli, three varieties of juice, a pastry selection, cook-your-own toast – and hot items made to order by the on-duty chef.
I wish I could take home…
I’m a sucker for a view so I love the comfy armchair positioned beside the window facing Mt Dandenong and linger there to do emails in the morning, watch a complimentary movie in the evening and enjoy a late-night snack before bed.
Sage Hotel Melbourne, Ringwood doesn’t have a spa, but there is a gym on the fifth floor with equipment set beside the window so those using the machines can enjoy the same view across the Dandenong Ranges as those in the suites above.
There are so many relaxed zones to sit around the fifth-floor lobby that a day reading books from the property’s impressive library, grazing on goodies from the kitchen and nursing tasty beverages is tempting for those seeking a stay to simply recharge the batteries. There are also ‘co-working spaces’ and meeting rooms dotted around the lobby for guests ready to work which makes this the ideal address for professionals – especially those with colleagues scattered around the state – looking for a peaceful place to put heads together.
Sage Hotel Melbourne, Ringwood is located halfway between Melbourne’s CBD and the Yarra Valley – one of the state’s favourite wine regions – with the drive in either direction taking around 30 minutes depending on traffic. A day in the Yarra Valley could include a winery visit at Dominique Portet to sample to region’s signature rosé, lunch at Meletos, snacks at Yarra Valley Dairy, shopping in Healesville and a soak in the hot mineral springs at Japanese Mountain Retreat. Those keen to venture further can indulge in some green or white-season activity at Lake Mountain near Marysville, follow Eastlink to the Mornington Peninsula or catch the train into Melbourne from the station across the road.
Don’t just rely on the hotel’s restaurant and slip downstairs to dine at one of the many restaurants, including 400 Gradi East and Huxtaburger, around Eastland’s buzzing Town Square.
Where to find it
Sage Hotel Melbourne, Ringwood crowns Eastland Shopping Centre and can be seen in surrounding streets so those driving should head for the Maroondah Highway and then aim for the modern glass tower. The address is also well served by public transport with trains on the Lilydale Line stopping right across the road and taking around 35 minutes to reach Flinders Street in the CBD.