You always know it’s going to be a good trip when you check into your airbnb and gasp.
Which was exactly what happened on day one of Melbourne – when our host opened the door and we were greeted by the most sublime living room, opening up to a balcony offering mad views of the city.
“Ooh,” Jenny (our host) said, looking at us. “I do so like it when people love the place.”
And then she gave us a quick house tour (washer and dryer here, here’s how the nespressso machine works, and please water my flowers for me every other day!) and left us to soak in the place. And soak it in we did. In fact – we wanted to move in permanently and live here forever – so intense was our level of affection for the place!!
The pictures of the place actually dont do it justice – nothing quite captures the way the natural light fills the space with a sense of calm, nor the way the french cafe music (Cafe De Paris, Disc 1) floating from her cd player fills you with a sense of deep seated satisfaction. Or the way the cool air rushes at you as you step into the balcony to water the flowers or people watch (the balcony overlooks many nearby rooftop bars). Or the way you’re gently woken each morning by the sunrise peeking in from the strategically positioned bedroom window (you can pull the blinds down if you’d prefer to sleep in).
The apartment isnt family-home kind of large, it’s more 2-3 adult housemates living together kinda size. And everything in the apartment is geared towards that chic adulting lifestyle – from the thoughtful interior design (the little mirror and drawer by the door for a last minute hair check and to leave things like keys, sunglasses, lipsticks, that you’d need to remember to bring out) to the creation of reading nooks to either read alone or hang with friends before bed. It reminded us so much of our Airbnb in Paris from two years ago, and we couldnt help but swoon over every little detail in the place and surreptitiously take notes for future reference.
And let’s talk location. Located in the private little alley of Liverpool Street within the busy CBD, the apartment already has the air of being a private find. It was so incredibly central that although it was within the Free Tram Zone, we walked everywhere – the only times we needed to take the public transport was to St Kildas on a different side of town, and also when we booked a Klook tour bus to take us to Yarra Valley.
The fantastic location meant that we could wake at 6 (I started transitioning into a happy morning person in Melbourne, possibly because there is no better way to be woken than by french music and the gentle rays of first light?) and go for a coffee run – Traveller Coffee one street down opens at 7am and serves coffee from Seven Seeds – and then come back and work remotely off my laptop till 11 before heading out again for brunch. Words cannot describe how happy this arrangement made me: I’m a bit of a self confessed workaholic, and I loved, loved the fact that I could wake up early and be productive for a good five hours before going about my day. Already the day is a winner when you start by ticking a whole bunch of things off your to-do list. Five hours means replying all my emails, finishing strategy proposals for a client, drafting two or more blogposts, and mining administrative tasks (making bookings for the coming week, planning out the finer details of my anniversary with Shane – to be the day after I landed back in Singapore). Xiaoqi would often wake a couple of hours later, by which time I would have take out coffee and bagels waiting for her, and we would work across each other on the wide kitchen table before getting ready at 11 to head out to brunch. Twice on the trip we woke early to set our laundry to wash, a sure sign of adulting.
After brunch, we would roam around the city, see things we wanted to see, and then head back to the apartment to work out at about 4-5pm and transfer the laundry from washer to dryer if it were laundry day. Because Xiaoqi is a fitness nut, she actually brought a yoga mat, and so daily we would meander back to the apartment before dinnertime to work out together in the living room, shower, then finish up some work on our computers before heading out for dinner and wine. This arrangement worked because she definitely knew she wanted to exercise everyday (to be fair, if you were in Melbourne, foodie city, you would feel the need to work out daily too) and we knew two things to be true: 1. nobody can work out after wine and 2. we would have wine every night.
And then after a fantastic dinner (we went to amazing places. AMAZING.), we would happily return to the apartment to wind the night down by reading a couple of chapters from our books (i went to town in a small cozy bookstore a mere two minute walk from our apartment, I tell you) either in the living room or in bed – warm bedside lights facilitated this – and then turn in, happy with our day.
All the time I thought to myself THIS IS THE LIFE I WANT TO PERMANENTLY LEAD.
So much about the apartment and it’s location facilitated this. Beyond being an amazing apartment contained in itself, it was also a vessel to achieving that adulting life goals I had always dreamed of. If I lived here, I told myself, I would be the happiest, most productive person ever. To be fair, I’m generally happy in disposition, but I was in a very, very good place in Melbourne – and much of this had to do with my insane love for our airbnb.
Most of our treasured finds from the trip were also stumbled upon mere minutes from our apartment. Let me lay it out for you:
Right at the foot of our apartment building: Rice Paper Scissors, incredible fusion vietnamese tapas and wine. 0 minutes walk from our Airbnb.
Around the corner: Paperback Books, a curated cozy bookstore overflowing with handpicked books. 2 minutes walk from our Airbnb.
Next to Paperback: what is possibly my favourite wine and cheese bar in the world – Self Preservation, full blogpost here. 2 minutes walk from our Airbnb.
Two steps from Self Preservation: The best pizza in the WORLD – Ombre Salumi Bar, full blogpost here.2 Minutes walk from our Airbnb
In the other direction: Bodega Underground – late night Mexican joint, where the octopus tacos and beef quesadillas made us emotional. Open till 3am, perfect for a little nightcap. 1 minute walk from our Airbnb.
– Read the full bodega blogpost here.
Down the street from Bodega: Chinatown and Little Shanghai – famous for xiaolongbao, a type of chinese soup dumpling, and with perpetual long queues. It opened at 12, which meant living nearby ensured we were FIRST IN LINE. Actually this applied to most places, our location meant a bit of strategic navigation ensured we hardly had to queue for anything. 3 minutes walk from our Airbnb.
Down the main road from Liverpool Street: Princess Theatre, Melbourne, where the Book of Mormon was showing at the time. We were so near that on the first day, after checking in, we could rush down to the theater to inquire after last minute tickets – and we snagged first floor platinum stall tickets originally retailing for about 278AUD according to the counter girl for 50AUD each. For comparison – when I first watched Book of Mormon in London, I paid about 100SGD for the furthest seats from the stage. So this is INCREDIBLE VALUE. Last minute tickets are the way to go man. And what a way to start our trip! 3 minutes walk from our Airbnb.
I could go on. But get the idea?
I have said over and over again that when selecting a good place to stay, factor in location, because if youre paying a bit less to stay somewhere further that you’re going to have to pay more daily for transport, then it only makes sense to top up a bit more for the better experience of staying somewhere you have to pay less (or on our case, nothing at all) for on-trip transport. And this airbnb was the perfect example of that. It only makes it more perfect that the apartment was what it was – gorgeous, chic, our dream adult home. I recommend this place so hard – I know if and when I come back to Melbourne, I’ll be back to stay with Jenny right here.