MELBOURNE is Australia’s second largest and fastest growing capital city and is the economic and cultural envy of all the states.

Growth in the property sector exceeded 27 per cent over the last year and employment growth in recent years has been more than its closest rivals, Brisbane and Perth, combined.

Similarly, five of the country’s six largest corporations are headquartered in Melbourne, including BHP Billiton, NAB and Telstra. $75 billion of trade moves through Melbourne’s seaport annually.

While the figures stack up, it’s not what drives 7.6 million domestic tourists to the city every year.

Having built its famous reputation on a vibrant and diverse culture, there’s no reason why business travellers shouldn’t find the time to enjoy its vivacious shopping districts, savour its sundry restaurant scene and absorb the iconic Victorian-era architecture.

The latter should be a priority when seeking accommodation in Melbourne and there are plenty of luxury five-star hotels scattered among the picturesque old buildings. Only a few however, offer a that true Melbourne historic experience.

Dubbed the ‘Dutchess of Spring Street’, The Hotel Windsor still represents the pinnacle of Melbournian opulence 128 years after first opening its grand doors.

Located opposite the Victorian Parliament House, the Windsor’s twin mansard roofed towers and stone sculptured main entrance typify the Second Empire Victorian-style architecture also prominent in the Royal Exhibition Building, South Melbourne Town Hall and Princess Theatre.

Everything from the exterior design through to the opulent main lobby and antique-styled furniture and elevators make guests feel like they’ve stepped back in time. The real magic of the Windsor though is how the hotel has married these aesthetics to its acclaimed 5-star luxuries.

Seven room suite options provide a varied range of accommodation for different travel purposes, however the executive suite is the ultimate for the business traveller.

Along with a generous sized bedroom with marble ensuite, a separate main living area has been designed with the travelling executive in mind and features plenty of room for business meetings and a traditional dark timber office desk.

The Cricketers Bar downstairs has been a favourite for politicians, business people, sports fans and tourists alike for decades, while the Windsor’s restaurant, 111 Spring Street easily competes with the finest eating hotspots the city has to offer.

The 111 Spring Street menu has been meticulously designed by executive chef Jérôme Trémoulet, an acclaimed French-born chef who has won several culinary awards, worked in the finest hotels around the world and featured on Channel Ten’s The Circle.

Trémoulet describes his work as a ‘classical menu’, featuring Australian favourites with his own unique French touch. His signature entrees include a pan seared scampi and scallops offering and a 17-hour smoked pork belly dish; both of which are favourites of regulars.

Dinner main course options include grilled veal rib eye steak on the bone; New Zealand crispy skin King salmon marinated in fresh herbs; roast rack of lamb with eggplant caviar; and Trémoulet’s signature Gippsland beef tenderloin with onion chutney and port wine marinate.

The quality ingredients are everything one would hope for if hosting a business dinner or simply enjoying a great meal and the articulate Frenchman’s distinctive-styled flavours add a touch of class.

Guests at the Windsor may not have to travel further than a few floors down for a fine dining experience, but there are plenty of other options in Melbourne – a city as famous for its food as its shopping.

There’s a plethora of fine dining spots in any Melbourne district, but within the CBD Grossi Florentino, Pearl, MoMo, Attica Vue de Monde and Jacques Reymond are among the best representatives of Melbourne’s famous food scene.

If you’re looking for an entertaining alternative, Melbourne also boasts some great cabaret restaurants. Dracula’s has long been a favourite for gothic-inspired laughs, but the Titanic Restaurant at Williamstown also offers a unique experience.

The Titanic Restaurant’s decor is highly inspired by the iconic cruise liner and staff and entertainers are dressed in full period costumes to recreate the ill-fated 1912 voyage with humour, guest participation and true authenticity.

First class tickets are great, but serious Titanic enthusiasts may prefer to hire period attire and dine with the crystal glasses and silverware found at the Captain’s Table.

It’s may be the continual growth occurring in Melbourne’s bustling business hub that takes Queensland executives back to the city time and time again, but it’s Melbourne’s exquisite hotels, vibrant restaurant scene and dynamic cultural activities that ensure you’ll always enjoy your stay.

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