How to find the best of Melbourne, by its Concierge of the Year

by Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Chief concierge Ali Sungkar has been with Hotel Windsor for 10 years and this June, Ali was awarded Concierge of the Year at the prestigious 2018 Tourism Accommodation Australia VIC Awards for excellence. A member of Les Clef’s D’Or Society for over 23 years, Ali personifies The Windsor’s commitment to service excellence. Born in a city called Solo – Surakarta (Central Java), in Indonesia, Ali relishes the opportunity to meet people from all around the world, and says there’s “…nothing quite as rewarding as hearing a ‘Thank-You’ and receiving a smile at the end of the day”.

 

Favourite locale for enjoying a day off

It’s always nice to spend time at home with the family. But we try to get to the markets if I’m not working on the weekends, walk around the city visiting Melbourne’s famous laneways, or have a coffee/lunch around Fitzroy or Collingwood.

Where he takes his own guests when they visit

I make sure to take them to see Melbourne’s iconic spots – Queen Victoria Market, Eureka Skydeck, and of course The Hotel Windsor. Afternoon Tea here is always a highlight for our guests. We also like to take little drives out of Melbourne and visit Mt Dandenong, Great Ocean Road scenic drive, Mornington Peninsula and the Yarra Valley. It’s nice to have the option to take them away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

It’s a rainy day but we want to explore, what we should do

The National Gallery of Victoria is a top favourite – we can spend hours browsing the collection and there are always new and interesting ones from overseas to check out. The Melbourne Museum and Melbourne Aquarium are great indoor spots for younger visitors to explore indoors, too.

Recommended night-time entertainment

On Monday nights, the Melbourne Observatory hosts Astronomy tours and it’s always intriguing to look at the night sky, through their massive telescopes. Right now, the Queen Victoria Market hosts a Winter Night Market on Wednesdays [until 29 August] which puts the cultural melting pot that is Melbourne on display in the best possible way. The restaurant scene in Melbourne is so vibrant and diverse. My current haunt is Punch Lane, off Little Bourke Street, where a few new dining choices have just opened up, such as Sunda (Contemporary Southeast Asian) and Bar Saracen (Middle Eastern).

Key phrases visitors should learn

“She’ll be right” – It’ll all be okay. Also, the many ways of saying thank you – “ta”, “cheers”, “good on ya”.

Best shopping & souvenirs

It depends on what you’re looking for! If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind items, there are always gems to uncover at the boutique shops in Smith Street, Brunswick Street, and Chapel Street. If you’re looking for high fashion, shop in the city – Collins Street or Bourke Street. For bargains and discounts, the factory outlets in South Wharf and Spencer Street are your best bet and extremely accessible. I think the best souvenir you can gift someone is anything made locally. Melbournalia on the top end of Bourke Street is a one-stop shop for these. Personally, I like gifting Melbourne’s very own KeepCups.

A child-friendly thing to do or place to go

Healesville Sanctuary or Werribee Open Range Zoo offer unique animal encounters. Scienceworks, just over the West Gate Bridge, will also keep the little ones entertained for the entire afternoon.

Best kept secret or favourite hidden treasure

Whilst the Dandenong Ranges are a favourite amongst tourists, The William Ricketts Sanctuary, a sculpture garden, is often missed. Located further up Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, it offers a tranquil escape with mystical human sculptures peering out from over-sized ferns. This is the life’s work of William Ricketts, an artist with a deep affinity for Indigenous Australian culture.

Best way to get to the airport

With our Limousine Services for the ultimate luxury, or Taxi – fuss-free and direct. For something more budget-friendly, go for Starbus or Skybus which are equally convenient.

Best time of the year to visit

Melbourne is booming with activity all year round and there is always something to do or see no matter when you visit!

Anything else we should know when visiting

Make use of the City Circle and free-trams within the city grid to explore Melbourne.

 

For more information, or to book, click here.

Main image: Oliwier Gesla on Unsplash

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