Having recently gotten married and come back to work with mild post-Honeymoon depression, we got a surprise cheque in the mail from some overseas family congratulating us on the wedding.
Rather than being boring (read: responsible), I decided to surprise Hubby with a special overnighter in the city with dinner and cocktails - something we almost never get to do anymore since we left the Valley and the luxury of being able to stumble home after a few too many... now one of us (usually me) has to drive, schlepping our sorry butts back the 'burbs.
After a lot of research on Trip Advisor and asking my resident snobs for recommendations - I decided on the Emporium Hotel in the Valley, only slightly concerned because they were almost booked out and the only room available was for a Standard Suite. For me - those two words don't go together. Standard = Average; Suite = Awesome. I was a little bit uneasy not knowing what to expect, having being burnt before by over-glamorous Hotel website photography.
Checking into the Hotel was a fabulous experience - and not just because Hubby had no idea until we had literally handed our keys to the Concierge - but because of all the little tricks that make it a true 5 Star Hotel.
#1, I love it when Concierge ask you your name so that they can park your car - then discreetly pass the details to Reception so that they can greet you by name at the desk and have you paperwork ready.
#2, I love it when they actually make notes in bookings and act on it. They congratulated us on our wedding, there was a bottle of champagne on ice waiting for us in our room and Concierge appeared with 2 Cocktail Vouchers as a gift. What an impression!
FYI - The Cocktail Bar is absolutely divine and is not to be missed. (Trust me on that one - leave yourself time and room for at least 2-3 drinks here...)
The rooms themselves are worth every penny. While some will argue that they are masculine - and they would be right - the colours, textures and quality of all the furnishing truly add up to a decadent experience. And for those of us that honestly can't take another frilled curtain or rose motif - the bold, masculine colours are a welcome change.
The beds are ridiculously comfortable and a pillow menu is available, the TV is bigger than the couch and behind some very clever bifold doors there is actually a full kitchenette.
But I save the best for last - the bathroom deserves to be on MTV Cribs - all grass and chrome, with Molton Brown toiletries and uber-soft robes and towels - I guarantee you'll cry when you have to leave. (I know I had to prise hubby from the room with every ounce of strength I had.)
We have stayed here twice now, and anytime I'm asked for a Hotel reccommendation - Emporium is top of my list. With James Street Markets and all the Emporium Restaurants at your disposal - it's a great place to grab breakky the morning after too...
The Verdict: True Luxury in the Heart of the Valley
My Recommendations: Make time to have a cocktail in their stunning bar, Go for a midnight swim on the rooftop pool and be prepared for withdrawl symptoms the moment you check out...
Contact: Emporium Hotel