Joanne Nemshich is a busy mum-of-three, who divides her time between running around after her kids, doing PR and Communications for a non-profit organisation, breeding free-range chickens, and writing her first novel. After doing ‘The Big Trip’ overseas in her 20s, she now enjoys exploring Australia, and occasionally her and her husband like to escape for a kid-free night or two. And that’s what brought her to St. Jerome’s – the Hotel recently, a chance to enjoy a night off with her husband (that, and a Red Balloon voucher he gave her for her birthday)…
Perched on a rooftop of Melbourne Central shopping centre, you will find a unique travel destination. St. Jerome’s The Hotel isn’t really a hotel at all – when you walk through the doors and out onto the rooftop, you are greeted by the sight of rows of tents. It was an overcast, rainy Autumn day when we stayed there, but it didn’t matter. The tents are well heated, so we were warm and cosy all night. But St. Jerome’s isn’t just a place to lay your head for the night – it’s a whole experience!
Included with our overnight accommodation was a bunch of extras that you don’t usually get at your typical hotel. On arrival we received delicious macarons, and in our tent was an esky stocked with craft beer and ciders, and some peanuts to munch on with them. We were also supplied with robes and slippers, and the bathrooms even had mini toothbrush and toothpaste kits (in case you forgot to pack your toiletries)! Between 5pm and 7pm we could get a complimentary cocktail at the bar/General Store, where there’s a bunch of board games to keep you entertained while you sip your drink. My husband and I played 8 games of the biggest Connect 4 frame I have ever seen (I won 7 times). The General Store also provides antipasto and cheese platters, dessert platters, toasties and other goodies (which you could also have delivered to your tent if you felt like staying in).
Being in the middle of the CBD, there is no shortage of choice when it comes to food. Chinatown is only a block away, Melbourne Central has a pretty decent food court, and there’s the usual assortment of cafes, restaurants and bars to choose from. In a little laneway leading from Melbourne Central out on to Swanston Street, we discovered Nene – Korean fried chicken, much like KFC, but with flavours like ‘Swicy’ (that’s Sweet/Spicy) and Cheese. Different, and delicious!
Because the glamping experience at St. Jerome’s is more than just accommodation, we also had a voucher for Strike Bowling – which is conveniently located right next door, a custom jar of Messina Gelato (delivered straight to our tent), and because it was cold and miserable outside, we whiled away the evening binge-watching “Orphan Black” on one of the complimentary Samsung tablets St. Jerome’s also provides. They really have thought of everything!
To round out our stay, a well-stocked breakfast box was delivered to our door in the morning. Granola, yoghurt and berries, T2 iced tea, juice, tea or coffee, and an egg, bacon, spinach and relish bun was a delicious and filling way to start the day, and to end our glamping adventure. For a relaxing night away, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough! Everything at St. Jerome’s is designed for an all-round experience, and everything is good quality – from the massive fluffy towels, the plush linen on the beds, down to the locally-made hair and skincare products supplied in the bathrooms.
Joanne’s Top Five Tips for Getting the Most out of a CBD Glamping Stay:
- Make the most of it. Jerome’s is more than just accommodation – they offer a whole experience. Drink the cocktails, eat the gelato, go bowling, hang out at the General Store playing oversized board games, sweat it out in the sauna, snuggle up in your tent in your robe binge-watching movies or television series – do it all!
- Relax! Everything is at your doorstep, literally. You don’t have to venture further than Strike Bowling if you’re looking to just wind down and recharge the batteries. No pressure, no rush. Just chill out.
- Get out there and explore! Melbourne CBD has so much to offer, so many places to explore, so if you have time. Wander the laneways, visit the State Library across the road, go shopping in Melbourne Central, jump on a City Circle tram and just take in all the sights.
- Try and go when the weather is good. It was cold and wet when we were there. It was still enjoyable, but it would have been great to sit out under one of the umbrellas, in a comfy beanbag and soak up the sun with a good book.
- Go in a group. There were a couple of groups when we stayed, and it would make a great group trip for an end-of-year work function, a birthday, even a hen’s or buck’s night.
For more information about St. Jerome’s The Hotel, or to book, click here.