If you thought staying in Melbourne's chic and trendy South Yarra was beyond your pocket, you haven't heard about Hotel Claremont!
The cornerstone of this beautiful old Victorian building, which was laid in 1886, can still be seen. The building has always been a rooming house. Once it was a YWCA and during WWII it was used by army officers on R&R. Now it has been carefully restored and offers budget accommodation in truly delightful surroundings.
A grand heritage staircase leads up to the hotel's 78 rooms, which vary in size and bed configuration. They range from bunk rooms suitable for two people, single and double rooms and family rooms for three, four, five or six guests.
The rooms are light and airy and have clothes racks, individual heating, ceiling fans, desks and lamps, telephones, colour television, fresh towels and linen. There are plenty of showers and toilets located at the end of each corridor. Each cubicle has a hand basin and mirror.
Complimentary breakfast, tea and coffee can be taken in the breakfast room on the ground floor. There are microwaves, Internet access, washing and ironing facilities.
Walk out the door and there are exciting shops, galleries and boutiques. Trains or trams can take you to the city in 10 minutes.
Choosing where to eat could be a problem as there is a wide range of eateries nearby: Chinese, Greek, Italian, French, South-east Asian, Vietnamese and Middle Eastern. These range from top-of-the-line to budget, restaurants, bistros, cafes or al fresco.
Chapel Street is just 100 metres from Hotel Claremont. This is Melbourne's mecca for dining, pubs, clubs, boutiques and cinemas. Prahran Markets are lively and colourful and well worth a visit. And a short tram ride on any Sunday morning takes you to the St Kilda Esplanade Art and Craft Market, which has more than 200 stalls of quality arts and crafts.