Hostel Review: Space Hotel Melbourne – an up-market backpacker hostel / budget boutique hotel

Hostel Review: Space Hotel, Melbourne - Australia

Hostel Name: Space Hotel
Address: 380 Russell St, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

I stayed at the Space Hotel in Melbourne. It was weird to be staying in a hotel in my home city, but I can hardly call it my home now and I feel more like a visitor now. I was invited by the hotel to stay and review, so on my latest visit to Melbourne I scheduled a stay.

The Space Hotel is actually a hostel which also has hotel-style rooms. The website describes itself as “a merge between up-market backpacker accommodation and budget boutique hotel”. This is a good way of describing it, so you can call it a hostel or hotel and be right either way.

The hostel occupies an entire corner building in the Melbourne Central Business District (CBD). The building is a former office block, and it has been completely refurbished and remodelled to become this hybrid backpacker-hotel. I’ve stayed in so many hostels over the years that are just a bunch of rooms with some bunk beds thrown in. At the Space Hotel it didn’t take long to realise that this place has been thoughtfully designed by people who know what makes a hostel work.

Space Hotel, Melbourne

For this stay I was in a private room with ensuite bathroom. Staying in a private room in a hostel is a good option for “flashpackers”. A flashpacker is a traveller who still likes the backpacking way of life but has a bit more money to spend, thus staying in a private room over a dorm room. You get the benefits of hanging out with other travellers in the common spaces of the hostels, while retreating to your room for privacy.

My room had a comfortable double bed in a well-designed room. That is to say the bedside table was just right, and there are lights and power outlets right where you need them. I did struggle with the bedside clock though, as I arrived the day that daylight savings ended and I couldn’t work out how to change the clock. I kept the clock faced away to not confuse me when I woke up.

The room also had a big balcony, which was a welcome bonus. The big windows offered a spectacular view of the city skyline at night.

Private room

There is a big table/work space along the wall that had enough room my my own things and the tea and coffee facilities.

Desk

A nice bathroom with a walk-in shower.

Bathroom

One of the biggest expenses of travelling around Australia is eating out every day. Being able to make your own meals goes a long way in reducing your expenses. Hostels usually have a kitchen and some gear for cooking, but they can be cramped, dirty, and lacking in equipment. So I was stunned to see how big, organised, and well equipped the kitchen was here. I thought I had walked into a restaurant kitchen.

Kitchen

Hostel fridges can often be a nightmare of lack of space and old food. Here the fridges are industrial grade with enough room for everyone.

Fridges

Next to the kitchen is the dining/hang out area, which is also very spacious (and I’m starting to see why they called it Space Hotel). This is on the 5th floor, and there is also a balcony here with BBQ facilities.

Kitchen tables

I’m addicted to the cafes of Melbourne, but those $4 coffee’s soon add up if you are having a few every day. There is free tea and coffee (and real milk) in the kitchen area.

Free tea and coffee

Another must for a hostel is the laundry.

Laundry

A glimpse of one of the shared toilets on each floor.

Shared toilet

Continuing with the “space” theme, each floor has a themed leisure space in addition to the accommodation. One floor has a movie space, which is a darkened theatre-style room. There is a TV outside so you can see what is playing.

Movie Space

Another floor has a workout space.

Workout Space - Level 3

And a lounge space.

Lounge Space - Level 4

On the rooftop is the space deck which has tables, sun lounges, and a spa. Worth it alone just to see the Melbourne city skyline.

Rooftop

There is free wifi in the public areas, and you can also buy wifi if you want it in your room which has a data limit. This is a common scenario of travel in Australia, which I had to reacquaint myself with having just arrived from Southeast Asia.

As I mentioned the location is in the CBD, so it’s as central as it gets. The hotel is opposite the Old Melbourne Gaol, and a block away from Swanston St, the main thoroughfare of the city that is filled with many tempting cheap Asian eateries that will make you not want to cook in the amazing kitchen.

I got the airport bus to Southern Cross station and got the tram here (which are free within the city).

Overall this was an amazing hostel to stay at, and it has set a high bar for standards of future hostels I visit. If you are spending more time in Melbourne (and it’s a city that needs a lot of time) they have a weekly deal.


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