48-hour itinerary: Romance
Make your weekend in Melbourne an affair to remember
Check in to a luxury suite at the Crown Metropole for a weekend of pure indulgence. With spa suites and stunning city views, it's perfect for a weekend getaway.
Once you've settled in to your luxe surrounds, doll up and head downstairs for dinner. Enjoy la dolce vita at Neil Perry's two-hatted Rosetta Ristorante, or turn up the temperature with his take on contemporary Chinese at Spice Temple.
Follow dinner with a riverside promenade along Southbank or take in a show at The Arts Centre, Recital Centre or Malthouse Theatre – you're at the centre of it all on Southbank.
After a lazy breakfast in bed, wander up to St Kilda Road to explore the NGV: International. Run your fingers through the waterwall, catch reflections beneath the world's largest stained glass ceiling and browse impressive collections of European, Asian, Oceanic and American art.
Take a stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens, opposite the NGV, and laze on the lawns. Make a picnic afternoon of it, or cross over the river and head up to Spring Street for lunch at The European. Pop in to the City Wine Store to pick up some fizz for the hotel room before strolling among the designer stores along Collins Street.
If you're looking for a little something for your someone, browse exquisite jewellery from Australian designer Jan Logan and detour to Flinders Lane and Russell Place for stunning contemporary works at Pieces of Eight, e.g. etal and Lord Coconut.
While away the rest of the afternoon with a movie and wine at Kino Cinemas or the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). If you only have eyes for your amour, see out the afternoon at elegant libation den Eau de Vie or woo with cocktails at Romeo Lane.
Treat your taste buds and your loved one to dinner at one of Melbourne's finest restaurants. Take romance to great heights at Vue de Monde, go for old-school sophistication at Attica, or make the most of every course with the Press Club's famous degustation menu. Take in a nightcap at upstairs bars Siglo, The Melbourne Supper Club or Bar Lui, but try not to stay out too late…
Rise early for a magical dawn ballooning tour over Melbourne. Float above the city's architectural icons and magnificent parks and gardens, and back on land, enjoy a post-flight champagne breakfast at The Langham Hotel.
Continue the morning's indulgence back at the Crown Metropol: make your way to the 27th floor to the luxury retreat Isika Day Spa. Float in the pool while taking in city views and relax in the steam room before indulging in a holistic Isika Intuitive massage in a treatment room for two.
Take a leisurely tram ride down to St Kilda for a beachside sundowner. The St Kilda Sea Baths complex on the foreshore is an ideal spot. Try a cheeky cocktail with beachy views from the deck of Captain Baxter.
Just after the sun does down, head over to the breakwater and feel the love as the bay's favourite families, the St Kilda penguins, come ashore.
Bring a wistful end to your weekend of romance with seaside culinary excellence. Savour classic Italian at Cafe di Stasio, share plates of contemporary European cuisine at Luxembourg or go all out at Circa at the Prince.
Alternative: if you'd prefer to stay in the CBD, make your way to Curtin House on Swanston Street. Start with a tipple at Rooftop Bar, stay for dinner at Cookie or Mesa Verde, and top off your weekend with a film at Rooftop Cinema (season permitting) or a gig at The Toff in Town.