MELBOURNE | Assemble all sweet tooth lusting, confectionery yearning, cacao loving fanatics! This is not a drill. The Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens is presenting a chocolate themed hotel room for the winter months. The hotel in Melbourne’s CBD has partnered with Ganache Chocolate to actualize every chocolate lover’s dream: a room composed entirely out of chocolate inspired pieces. We’re talking chocolate candles, chocolate books, chocolate sculptures, and, let’s not forget, enough chocolate candies to send you into a week-long sugar comma. I was ecstatic to experience this decadence myself when the Radisson invited The City Lane to spend a night in their chocolate suite.
To avoid even more sugarcoating, I won’t lie about my initial thoughts on the suite. My head immediately jumped to visuals of Oompa Loompas cruising down chocolate rivers in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I feared the experience might be a bit more “Disney World kitsch” than luxurious tastefulness. However, this couldn’t have been farther from the truth.
Upon arriving at The Radisson, we were invited to enjoy a three-course meal at HQ’s on William, the onsite restaurant. While the space visually has the semblance of a crowd pleasing, functional hotel dining room, the food is exceptional. It’s no surprise that French trained head chef Leigh Robbins is crafting dishes that won HQ’s on William first place last year in All Day Dining from TAA Awards Best in State, the pre-eminent hospitality industry association. Robbins’ aim is to produce food that deviates from stock standard hotel cuisine. You’ll find dishes like Twice-cooked Free-range Duck, Hunter Valley Brisket and Malaysian Chicken Curry on the menu. HQ’s on William is famous for its steaks—serving up meat that slides off the bone without a knife. And though fully aware that we were about to enter a sugary hotel room, we could not resist the dessert menu with its Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwich and Lemon Curd Tart.
Nearing full satiation (but acknowledging that there’s always room for chocolate), we made our way up to the suite. The fear of Oompa Loompas crossed my mind one last time as I opened the door, but immediately vanished as I gawked at the romantic sophistication. Upon entering, the smell of chocolate enveloped our senses. There were candles lit around the room, providing an ethereal glow. At first glance, one wouldn’t even realize that there’s a chocolate theme (that is if it wasn’t for the rich chocolate smell that accompanies one’s first impression). Everything was tastefully placed and not overdone. A faux fur rug sat on the bed topped with a tray of hot chocolate, marshmallows, and little Ganache treats. The desk displayed finely crafted chocolate sculptures in replacement of typical tourism magazines or notepads. I somehow managed to nibble on some hazelnut praline milk chocolates before drifting into a sweet nights sleep.
The following morning, we woke to the view of Flagstaff Gardens abounding in its autumnal colors. On the ninth floor of The Radisson, the view extends over the tops of the trees to the city skyline. We donned our hotel robes and awaited the room service breakfast, consisting of Belgian waffles with fresh strawberries alongside a house-made Bircher muesli, toasted granola, and yogurt parfait. I felt like a sugar queen, pampered to the nines.
The Radisson has done an exceptionally sophisticated job in crafting this room. The main chocolate sculptures took over 20 hours to compose by Ganache’s German trained chocolatier, Arno Backes. The man has a master’s degree in chocolate, so you know his work is going to be extraordinary. Essentially, The Radisson has composed the most idealistic mid-winter date for couples, overflowing with cozy romance, and the best part is you have to do absolutely nothing. The candles are already lit, the food is prepared to your liking, and the mood is set upon arrival. Effortless romance? Start the queue.
The chocolate suite at Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens is available from now until the end of August. The flat rate of $279 a night includes valet parking, hot chocolate upon arrival, a selection of Ganache treats, and room service breakfast for two. Book directly by calling or e-mailing the hotel using the contact details below.
Radisson On Flagstaff Gardens
380 William Street
Telephone: 03 9322 8000