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Melbourne, Victoria

To display our keen sense of altruism, friend F and I decided to hop over to Melbourne to assist with the economy. In a flurry of credit cards, we hit shops, bars and restaurants, with few establishments spared.

Highlights were floaty feminine pieces in subtle hand dyed colours from Lee Mathews, Kirrily Johnston’s edgy evening dresses in Melbourne black, and Megan Park’s urban Pocahontas wear. To fuel ourselves for shopping, we carbed up with a delicious crab linguini given a sense of fun with black and white hand cut strands and crunchy pangrattato at the European (boo to Mamasita for having a three hour waiting list – no sweetcorn is worth that). The linguini probably just pipped the anchovy straws at Cutler & Co as dish of the weekend.

So where did we lay our weary heads after these excesses? As two gals on the town, The Olsen on Chapel Street seemed providentially located, and speaking of dishes, the reception staff were very…….helpful.

We had the 12th floor Hindmarsh Suite which was perfect for two friends, but probably not for two couples. A queen bed on either side of the room, each with its own private bathroom, framed a common kitchenette and dining area. A terrace overlooking the city lights (and a soccer field and a construction site) fronted the suite. A gauzy “privacy curtain” was more hospital ward than silver screen, and the housekeeping could go up a notch, with previous partying evident in a broken curtain hanger and cigarette butts in the door slide.

Aside from these grizzles, it was slick and comfortable, and the art books on prominent Australian artists were a nice touch. There were actually no original Olsens in our room, although they were everywhere in the common areas.

As a further novelty, F, who awoke with annoying cheerfulness, did a few laps in the glass bottomed lap pool and seemed quite pleased with being able to swim over the traffic passing underneath her in Chapel Street.

In all, convenient and attractively kitted out, both in terms of amenities and staff but probably not my hotel of choice in Melbourne.