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Shadow Play by Peppers, Melbourne hotel review

Shadow Play by Peppers, Melbourne hotel review

Shadow Play by Peppers is the new kid on the block in Melbourne’s burgeoning luxury hotel portfolio. The soaring 46-storey hotel is located in the city’s vibrant Southbank arts and entertainment district, and has a cool urban vibe that will appeal especially to a younger, artsy crowd.

The spacious accommodation features one- and two-bedroom apartments with full kitchen and laundry facilities – making this an excellent choice for executive and longer-stay guests – as well as floor-to-ceiling windows, contemporary furnishings and dramatic city or bayside views.

The facts

Traveller: Andrew Conway
Room: Two-bedroom Corner Apartment
Address: 308–320 City Road, Southbank VIC 3000
Date: May 2019
Best for: Travelling executives, urbanites and anyone looking for a chilled and stylish city stay.

The Signature factor

No contest! The outstanding Edwin Wine Bar & Cellar, next to the lobby, delivers sensational food and wine with a distinctly Victorian flavour.

The concept

The vision of property developer Jonathan Hallinan of BPM Corp, the new hotel features avant-garde touches, a reimagining of traditional hotel design with contrasting modern elements: light and dark, formal and informal, and bold statement pieces set against white stone, timber floors and ambient lighting.

First impressions

Blink and you’ll almost miss the hotel’s entrance on City Road, which doubles as the doorway to Edwin Wine Bar & Cellar. The hotel signage is quite discreet – above the doorway – so enter via Edwin where a curved walkway guides guests to the hotel’s reception desk.

The lobby’s minimalist décor features cool, dark greys, earthy tones and mood lighting, creating a sophisticated urban vibe that permeates every hallway and corridor.

Top suite

Shadow Play by Peppers doesn’t have suites as such, but the apartment-style accommodation is larger than many city hotel suites. There are four accommodation categories – one-bedroom, two-bedroom, two-bedroom and two-bathrooms, and the largest two-bedroom corner apartments – the latter featuring enclosed and private outdoor winter gardens.

Each apartment comes equipped with a full kitchen (full-size fridge, cooktop, dishwasher, microwave, toaster and coffee machine) as well as a washer, dryer, iron and ironing board – a true home-away-from-home for local, interstate, international and longer-stay executive guests.

Highlights from the mini-bar

Each guest apartment comes with a mini-bar selection, stocked with sweet and savoury treats – mostly sourced from Victorian companies – and a good choice of wines, beers and soft drinks.

On my plate

Edwin Wine Bar & Cellar is an absolute must-do, a rising star on Melbourne’s world-class culinary scene. Curated menus feature farm-fresh and seasonal Victorian produce, complemented by an excellent selection of Victorian wines chosen by the restaurant’s knowledgeable sommelier.

Edwin serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, or stop by for brunch, afternoon coffee, or pre-dinner cocktails. A mix of locally sourced small plates, large plates and sides – think Port Phillip sardines; slow-cooked Gippsland lamb; Victorian barramundi; Great Ocean Road duck; and Hagen’s Organics beef – are followed by lip-smacking pastries from salted caramel eclairs to fluffy beignets.

Salumi platters are by Victoria’s Istra Smallgoods and an array of local cheeses is sourced from Emerald Deli at South Melbourne Market. The food is delicious from first bite to last.

I wish I could take home…

One of the reception desk concierges, for whom nothing is too much trouble. A colleague inadvertently left her mobile phone in the restroom at check-out and we were at Southbank before she noticed it missing. No problem! We made a quick call to the hotel, where a concierge found the phone and delivered it – on foot – back to us at Southbank within minutes. Exemplary service.

Spa life

There’s no in-house spa, but the hotel features an outdoor heated pool in addition to a gym, sauna and steam room.

Staying in

No need to be confined to your apartment. Shadow Play by Peppers offers an array of spaces where guests can socialise or find a quiet spot for relaxing. Level 9 features an outdoor terrace and barbecue, as well as separate private lounge and library spaces, while the hotel’s top floor, Level 46, has a fully enclosed garden area with a freestanding fireplace and panoramic bayside views.

Stepping out

Shadow Play by Peppers’ inner-urban location at the corner of City Road and Clarendon Street means that most of Melbourne’s outstanding attractions are within easy walking, Uber or public transport distance, notably the Crown Entertainment Complex at Southbank.

Head north along Clarendon Street and you’ll reach the Yarra River, with its near-constant buzz of activity, and the CBD beyond. Head south of Clarendon, and you’ll find the green parklands of Albert Park, while the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and Shrine of Remembrance lie to the east.

The heart of the city, Eureka Skydeck, Melbourne Arts Centre, National Gallery of Victoria and Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre are within walking, city tram or cab distance and trains from Flinders Street Station can take you further afield.

Room for improvement

Two minor gripes: the shower and sink taps in my ensuite bathroom didn’t have hot and cold markers and strangely turned in opposite directions. I was constantly turning on the cold tap when I wanted hot water, and vice versa, to the point that it drove me nuts!

In my two-bedroom apartment, the only place to work (aside from bed and the living room sofa) was a central dining table – but with no easily accessible power points. I had to charge my laptop and mobile on the kitchen countertop if I needed to power up. A wall desk with power points for executive travellers would be more convenient.

Final verdict

I loved the hotel for its cool, chilled, urban vibe and Edwin Wine Bar & Cellar is an outstanding culinary experience.

Where to find Shadow Play by Peppers

308-320 City Road, Southbank VIC 3000