Review: Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens, Melbourne

This is the second time I've stayed at the Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens in Melbourne. The first time I stayed as a Gold Club Carlson member, this time around I am only a basic Red member.

My booking was made online as a Club Carlson point + cash booking, so the cost for a business class room for the night came to about AU$130 and 10,000 points. I thought this was pretty good value. Below is what the advertised rate is said to include:

Which seems to conflict with this page on their website, which then goes on to list the following inclusions:

I cannot recall there being an iPod docking station in the room, not sure whether 'in-room movies' is meant to mean that they're free to access, I was not offered a turndown surface, could not find a pillow menu, and I am yet to receive the 1,000 bonus Gold Points (have put in a missing points request for this). There is also no mention of the 6pm late checkout (where available) or the free garment pressing on this page either.

I arrived quite late at night, around 11pm. The gentleman at the counter was quite impersonal when checking me in. I enquired whether the 6pm late check out (advertised with the room rate when booking) would be possible given I had a late flight the next day at around 8pm. I was told that it was, but only if I paid extra. I advised him that it was one of the stated benefits of the room, and the story then changed to 'sorry sir, we don't actually have availability'. So one minute I can pay for it, the next it's not available. Seems a little odd. I pressed for 3pm, and was told 2pm was the latest they could do and that this was good enough seeing as checkout was usually 11am. Excuse me? Good enough? I understand the concept of a room not being available, that's fine - but to be asked to pay first, and then condescendingly told that it was good enough because the usual checkout time for other rooms was 11am is just downright rude. He could tell I wasn't happy, and said without prompt that he would raise my concerns with his manager. I just said alright by this point because I was tired and wanted to go to my room.

Before I could leave, the staff member then said I had requested an upgrade online, and that this had been provided (for a corner room with garden view). I said I had done no such thing. The Carlson Group allow you to request custom standby upgrades and pay a small additional fee at check in to get an upgraded room, or improved room location etc. I have done this in the past, and you will receive a confirmation email when it's been requested. I definitely had not done so on this occasion. I argued the point, and even offered to revert to a more standard room - he offered to take the charge off the bill. I've travelled and stayed at lots of hotels around the world, and have Platinum membership with IHG and Diamond with HHonors - and never have I been made to feel like such an idiot at check in. I know some probably experience a lot worse, but this gentlemen probably didn't realise that I thoroughly do my research before booking and staying at any hotel, so I know what's on offer inside and out.

I begrudgingly made my way to the elevator after this debacle. The hotel has a great collection of free magazines and newspapers and lemon-flavoured water on a large table adjacent the elevators which is good if you're looking to just relax with some reading material. However I just couldn't be bothered by this point!

When I got to my room, all the lights were on and the TV was on. Found this a bit odd and not very eco-friendly, especially for a hotel that encourages the non-changing of sheets and towels in the name of saving water and power. The rooms have been renovated since my last stay, and I found the carpet to be quite a nice texture and colour

I was confused as I made my way around the room as to why there was Singapore Airlines literature everywhere. One sheet listed all the bonus offers that were available in the hotel to SG cabin crew, including cheaper laundry, mini bar, room service and restaurant dining. The SG special room service menu was also on the desk. Wish I had ordered from this under the ruse of working for the airline. Kind of makes me feel a bit ill knowing that they get stuff at such a discount but the hotel would probably scrimp and save with everyone else, including members of the Club Carlson program.

While the hotel had worked on the carpet, they had done little to the walls. There were little holes, scuff marks, and scratches around the room which didn't make it feel very business-like, nor fitting for such a global hotel brand. There was also dust everywhere, so not good if you're hypo-allergenic or even have basic asthma. Some example images below.

If I was staying at a two or three star hotel, I wouldn't even be commenting on things like this. But these are supposed to be the best rooms in the hotel, and they're definitely not up to scratch.

The range of bathroom amenities were great, including mouthwash, and toothbrushes. The amenities were all made in Canada. However I did find it a bit gross that one of the toothbrush sleeves had been opened and the mini Colgate toothpaste missing.

The shower has a rain head which always makes me excited in a hotel. Was very nice! The shower stand for the shampoo etc. did not seem very secure though with the sealing on the edges, and was covered in soap scum beneath.

Bed was super comfy, had a really good night sleep. Temperature control in the room was perfect. Wifi speed was quick and I was easily able to connect multiple devices.

The advertised room comes with one complimentary drink voucher, but they actually had two, which was a nice surprise.

An in-room amenity of three Ferrero Rocher chocolates was nice (an amenity was a benefit of the room) and there were two free bottles of water (also a room benefit - don't expect free water in other rooms). One bottle had the seal undone, so I'm hoping it hadn't been tampered with.

You're supposed to get a newspaper delivered to your room, and the room next door did, but I didn't which wasn't good. But wasn't a great hassle seeing as they were available downstairs anyway.

No turn down service was provided, despite being advertised with the room rate. This would usually entail the blankets being pulled back. Was not done. They would have had plenty of time to do it seeing as I checked in so late. The sheets beneath were not even neatly tucked into the mattress. 

The free breakfast for one was in the hotel bar and restaurant. Good selection of food, especially the continental items, including berry coulis and pastries. Coffee seemed to be self serve, and didn't taste particularly good. I could see that they had a proper barista coffee machine but they weren't going around offering any to people. Other similar hotels would usually do this.

Check out was quick and easy, and they'd removed the incorrect charges so didn't have to ask again. The staff member was a manager and was apologetic for my experience, and gave me a couple of extra drink vouchers. They stored my bags and then I came back later that evening with some friends to use them. The drinks service was friendly and nice, we had four glasses of house wine. 

Overall, I think I'll try elsewhere in Melbourne next time, as it is a big city with many hotels to choose from.

Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens is located at 380 William Street, Melbourne, opposite Flagstaff Park on the eastern side.

You can contact them via email at resmelb@radisson.com or on +61 3 9322 8000.

They have a 'return guest offer' - book direct online using the promo code 'RETURN' and receive 10% off the best available rate, 1,000 Bonus Club Carlson Points (Join Here) and 24 hour cancellation.