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A chic city hotel offers room to breathe

When a hotel is named among the top 20 in Melbourne on TripAdvisor, you know it has a lot going for it.

For anyone who wants to be a walk from the city centre but still be able to stroll in parks and breathe fresh air, award-winning The Blackman, part of the Art Series group, is a very good choice.

Despite having 209 rooms, The Blackman has the vibe of a boutique establishment - with smiling helpful staff. Many of the rooms (there are several different configurations of rooms and suites) have views over Albert Park.

The interiors, dotted with prints of the late artist Charles Blackman, are modern and bright - and built within and above the historic Airlie Mansion, less than than 100 metres from Albert Park.

Each suite has a 42-inch LCD TV, an iPod docking station, refrigerator and microwave. There is also  smart car rental service and bicycle hire.

You'll find a tram stop directly outside and Melbourne city centre is only 2km away. It is a 10-minute walk to the Royal Botanic Gardens.

With rooms starting from under $200 a night for direct bookings, there is good value to be found here.

The beds are super comfortable, the rooms are spacious and the hotel is home to two restaurants: There is a chilled cafe offering a French-style menu while Classico Restaurant serves traditional Italian cuisine in a stylish atmosphere.

The pizza I ordered from Classico through room service was outstanding.

There is also a "state-of-art gymnasium" that I somehow forgot to check out. Downside: the wifi (on level 10 anyway) could do with an upgrade.

Art Series The Blackman, 452 St Kilda Rd, (entry via Arthur Street), Melbourne. 
1800 278 468.  



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