Crowne Plaza Melbourne review

With an epic location right on the banks of the Yarra River, close to all the sights and sounds the Victorian capital offers, Crowne Plaza Melbourne is the perfect pick, whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure.

Traveller: Tina-Louise Jackson
Room: King River Casino Room
Address: 1-5 Spencer Street, Melbourne
Date: February 2024
Price range $229-$450 per night
Best for: Business or leisure stays, or a combination of both.


Perfectly positioned on the banks of the Yarra River in Melbourne’s CBD, within the free tram zone for accessible transit around the city, and a short walk across the river to Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and South Wharf, you may never need the use of your car or even a taxi during your stay.   

Hotel on Yarra River by bridge
On the banks of the Yarra River © Crowne Plaza Melbourne

The room

The interior design is contemporary, with soothing hues of cream and caramel, and the roomy bathroom has a rain shower. After a flight delay and a much later check-in than planned, the king-sized bed is as comfortable as it looks; I can’t wait to sink in and doze my way through to morning, aided by blackout curtains and all the light controls, as well as a USB port, within easy reach of my resting place. A 55″ TV offers regular channels and streaming options (bring your Netflix logins!).

The showstopper

Stepping through the door of my King River Casino Room, I’m instantly drawn to the view of the Yarra River at night through the large picture window. Arriving at night, lights reflect off the river, and the glittering allure of the Crown Entertainment Complex opposite beckons you to head out and enjoy Melbourne’s nightlife. As I opened the blackout curtains the next morning to a clear blue Melbourne day, the river was abuzz with rowers and kayakers gliding serenely under the bridge.

Hotel room with views of Yarra River
King River Casino View © Crowne Plaza Melbourne

The family factor

Perfect for families visiting Melbourne, the hotel’s Double Standard Rooms offer two roomy double beds, offering plenty of sleeping space for a young family. For an even roomier option or a family of five, book the one King and two Double Family Room for 54 square metres of space. If you are travelling with older kids who demand privacy, connecting rooms are also available.  

Stepping out of the hotel, plenty of family-friendly attractions are within easy walking distance (or within the free tram zone, jump on at Batman Park). Including SEA Life Melbourne (around a seven-minute walk) and Polly Woodside, just across the bridge. 

Couple at pool in Melbourne
The rooftop heated pool © Crowne Plaza Melbourne

Beyond the rooms

With a 24-hour well-equipped gym and rooftop heated pool, your exercise regime need not take a break when you do. For exercise al fresco, the banks of the Yarra River offer some great walking, running, and cycling trails.

For a perfect Melbourne coffee and pastry fix, head to Pow Wow, one of the hotel’s trio of drinking and dining options. Light and airy, the restaurant has private pods for business meetings or just relaxing incognito.

Don’t be fooled by its name; with its neon lights, jukebox, pool table and red velvet seating, Dive Bar is the perfect place to wind down and relax or have fun. With a great cocktail menu (my visit coincides with Taylor Swift’s concerts and a quirky ‘Eras’ inspired cocktail menu) and bar nibbles, I recommend the salt and pepper squid to accompany that post-work beverage.

Couple at bar in Melbourne
Dive Bar © Crowne Plaza Melbourne

Within a short walk, you can find

If you’re here for business, you’re within easy reach of Flinders Street and Southern Cross Stations. Trams traverse the city, and its a few minutes stroll to the MCEC if you’re here for a conference or event.

For leisure, you’ll be spoilt for choice. With the Southbank on your doorstep and the cafes and restaurants of Flinders Lane and South Wharf a short stroll away. Take in The Lume at MCEC, the world’s most extensive digital art gallery, and have a flutter at Crown Entertainment complex. DFO South Wharf is less than a kilometre away for a bit of retail therapy.

Lobby lounge in Crowne Plaza Melbourne
Lobby © Crowne Plaza Melbourne

Dish to dine for

Brand new, Ottie’s is the Crowne Plaza Melbourne’s main dining venue for breakfast, lunch and dinner. European cuisine full of Australian flavours, we dine on the Chef’s Selection – a retro prawn cocktail featuring considerable prawns in a classic cocktail sauce, a perfectly medium-rare Southern Ranges Rump with peppercorn sauce and a creamy White Chocolate Brulee for dessert. 

Breakfast is a substantial buffet affair. You can order eggs and other hot breakfast goodies from the comfort of your table via a QR code.

Two couples dining in Melbourne restaurant
European cuisine full of Australian flavours © Crowne Plaza Melbourne

Amenity game

Amenities include Antipodes, a green skincare brand from New Zealand committed to reducing plastic waste. With a pod coffee machine and a selection of T2 teas, you can choose to wake up or wind down in the comfort of your room.

Before booking

With its proximity to MCEC and fabulous meeting spaces, during the week, the hotel can get busy, so book well ahead if you have specific dates you’re planning to be in Melbourne. 

Insiders’ tips

Join IHG’s One Rewards loyalty program to earn points on your stays and access special Member rates and rewards.  

I wish I could take home

The view. Waking up to views of the river and the rowers immediately gives me a sense of calm, the perfect way to start any day. I’ve also bought the Antipodes Fig & Feijoa shampoo and conditioner. My hair has never looked so sleek!

V&T expert rating

It’s a 10 out of 10 just for location, particularly for the purpose of my visit, which was strictly business. A super short commute to MCEC made my working day much easier.

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