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The Lyall, South Yarra, Melbourne review

With its boulevard-like setting, quaint outdoor seating and wrought iron Juliet balconies, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d be transported to Paris when you arrive at the recently reopened The Lyall in Melbourne’s suburban South Yarra.

Traveller: Kirstie Bedford
Room: 301 – Deluxe Suite
Address:16 Murphy Street, South Yarra
Date: April 2024
Price range: $295 – $3,799
Best for: Couples looking for an apartment-style stay

The signature factor

The Lyall is like staying in an upmarket Parisian apartment. It’s all elegance and sophistication with a personality that exudes calm.

The Lyall, South Yarra, Melbourne review

The concept

Enter to soothing French music and a lobby that is more lounge with a floor-to-ceiling window where you can gaze across the central Japanese Maple garden. It’s not hard to see why this property describes itself as a “hotel for those who hate hotels”.

First impressions at The Lyall, South Yarra

Step off the train in South Yarra, and less than 150 metres away, you’re on pretty tree-lined Murphy Street. It feels a world away from the bustling cafes, bars and restaurants (some of the best in Melbourne) that line Toorak Road.

The Lyall sits alongside other residential apartments and could easily be mistaken for one – and it’s deliberate. There’s a certain charm about the property which has stood here since 2002 that the designers wanted to retain.

Rooms at The Lyall

The Lyall, South Yarra has 51 rooms and suites, each designed to evoke a sense of calm. They’ve done it by using neutral tones and large floor-to-ceiling windows with views across the tree-lined street. Furniture was designed and made in Melbourne and includes dark-stained Tasmanian Oak with gold accents.

In my suite, you enter to a living room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Murphy Street. The bedroom has the same light-filled, pretty outlook with a king-sized bed, walk-in-wardrobe and a bathroom with an oversized shower, double sinks and bathtub.

No detail has been overlooked from the pillow menu, velour bathrobes, Nespresso Machines, Dyson hairdryers and Molton Brown bath amenities to the heated towel rails.

Plus beds and marble bathroom at the Lyall Hotel
Plus beds and marble bathroom at the Lyall Hotel

Top suite

The top suites at the moment (while the owner resides in the Penthouse) are the Domain and Maple suites. But believe me, these spacious spaces would rival any of the city’s Penthouse suites and would be the pick for A-list celebrities looking for the ultimate in privacy and luxury. They scream wow factor with marble bathrooms with oversized freestanding bathtubs, spacious living areas and a powder room because, in suites this size, you’ll want to entertain.

The Lyall, South Yarra, Melbourne review

Dining at Lyall Hotel and Spa

The Lyall Hotel and Spa’s new entrance flows to an intimate reception area. This in turn connects with an expanded cocktail bar and restaurant. In the style of European hotels, this serves as a dining destination where guests and locals will be able to gather in an elegant and relaxed setting. The restaurant highlights banquettes with velvet seating against a backdrop of a Le Lievre brocade in autumn tones. While the interior is bathed in the glow of lights by Australian designer Ryan Roberts of Soktas.

The Lyall, South Yarra, Melbourne review

Staying in

If the point of the new design was to make you want to linger, it’s been achieved in droves. You might come here with grand plans, but expect to do none of it (besides maybe slipping out to one of the many restaurants nearby). Take a bath, lounge around watching the wind rustle the leaves of the tree outside, and if you stay long enough, as nightfall comes, you’ll see the twinkle of the fairy lights wrapped around their trunks.

For breakfast, there’s an a la carte menu in the brasserie and wine bar downstairs, where you can continue your theme of imagining you’re in Paris with freshly baked pastries including croissants and pain au chocolat, all served with perfectly brewed coffee (because when in Melbourne…). The menu also includes heartier dishes of harissa chilli eggs; goat cheese and avocado with pickled cherry tomatoes; and a ricotta hotcake with elderflower syrup. And before you go out to dine that night, sit in the chic café terrace for an aperitif and watch the world go by.

Stepping out

People travel from all over the city to wine and dine in trendy South Yarra. We chose Cucinetta, named after the Italian word for ‘little kitchen’. It’s tiny, more large car space than restaurant, but the food will take you straight back to the streets of Italy. Don’t miss the fresh tortiglioni pasta with slow-braised lamb shoulder ragù and pecorino romano cheese, and finish with the Cucinetta tiramisu – the restaurant is renowned for it.

Read: Yakikami is the fine-dining Japanese restaurant taking Melbourne by storm

Before you dine out, take a stroll around nearby Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. It’s pretty at any time of year, but in autumn you’ll be in awe at the vivid orange and red trees and ponds filled with water lilies where ducks play. And for those who prefer shopping, South Yarra has some of the city’s best.

Before booking

If you’re having a romantic weekend away, consider an upgrade to a suite. There’s a dining table and cosy couch, perfect for two.

Insider tips

There is no end of incredible restaurants around the hotel, including Melbourne institution France-Soir, which has reportedly attracted the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Mick Jagger, but make sure you book in advance.

Final verdict

It’s little wonder The Lyall is owned by the same team behind the glamourous The Royce. The same considered attention has gone into this much-loved South Yarra property, bringing a new elegance and sophistication, while maintaining a homely feel. A feat not easily achieved.

Where to find The Lyall

16 Murphy Street, South Yarra, Melbourne

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