"Think big" is the motto at the jewel in the Crown complex. The curved tower on the banks of the Yarra looms over the casino and its sister hotels, and inside the scale is similarly king-size. The vast lobby is illuminated by a monumental chandelier, while entry to the neighbouring gaming floor is via a grand black marble staircase. The luxurious rooms, meanwhile, have views of the bay or city from full-length windows that verge on vertiginous. Just beyond the lobby are restaurants by marquee players – Neil Perry and Nobu Matsuhisa among them. When it comes to the service, though, greatness lies in the details, whether it's the considered response to requests or the warmed pot holding the chips, which arrive (promptly) from room service.
There's much to love in the rooms, all conspiring to leave you feeling utterly cosseted: walk-in wardrobes, plush bathrobes and TVs at the end of the baths, but most of all the custom beds swaddled in japara cotton.
From the offer of water at check-in to a proper turndown service that includes Koko Black salted caramels, thoughtful service is a virtue.
Breakfast in the grand Conservatory overlooking the Yarra ($39.50) covers East and West with aplomb, with a full English buffet and an omelette station, and the likes of chicken congee and condiments. Chocolate fountains, croissants and crumpets are balanced by low-gluten bread and cakes from the "healthy corner".
Veuve Clicquot and an ice bucket await in your room, or settle at The Waiting Room in the lobby with a glass from the largely local wine list.
This review was made independently for the Gourmet Traveller Hotel Guide. The guide's reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way.