While LGBT travelers might be hard-pressed to find exclusively gay hotels in Melbourne, Australia, there are hundreds of excellent gay-friendly alternatives. Victoria’s capital city enjoys a worldwide reputation for being warm and welcoming to all, including those who fly the rainbow flag. And that flag sure soars, particularly during the annual queer-tastic Midsumma Festival. Like Sydney, Melbourne is quite progressive when it comes to accepting LGBT people. Gay accommodation in Melbourne is prevalent, particularly in the CBD and the inner-city suburbs where gay bars and clubs abound. The gay culture of the inner Melbourne suburbs is quite remarkable, so much so that it’s dubbed the San Francisco of Victoria.
Fitzroy, South Yarra, Prahran, St. Kilda, and several other neighborhoods teem with gay-owned and gay-popular businesses such as restaurants, and bookshops. These are also where you’ll find the hotspots of gay nightlife: bars and clubs perfect for cruising, drinking and dancing up a storm. And in the CBD itself, there’s a plethora of attractions and activities that LGBT and straight travelers alike will enjoy. For easy, hassle-free sightseeing, nab the iVenture Melbourne Unlimited Attractions Pass. With it, you’ll get special discounts and offers to the city’s must-visit places.
Crown Promenade Melbourne
Part of the Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex, the Crown Promenade is a luxury hotel that’s popular with the LGBT set. It’s home to 465 modern and spacious guestrooms, where floor-to-ceiling windows afford stunning views of the Yarra River. The Deck houses some of the hotel’s superstar amenities, including the infinity spa pool where you enjoy the skyline while taking a dip. Meanwhile, world-class restaurants on the premises serve up an array of cuisine ranging from French to Japanese.
Entertainment is plentiful within the complex. You can show off your swing at the Holey Moley Golf Club’s mini-golf courses, play bowling and laser tag at Kingpin, and watch a movie in full luxury at Village Cinemas. Jonesing for the queer nightlife? Not to worry, the gay bars and clubs of Fitzroy are a mere 15-minute drive away.
Visitors seeking gay hotels in Melbourne will find plenty to love at the gay-friendly Imagine Marco. This upscale apartment hotel boasts more than a hundred chic executive apartments, some with 2 or 3 bedrooms, and many with panoramic bay or city views. The facility offers a slew of amenities for a memorable stay. You can swim a few laps in the heated infinity pool, work out in the state-of-the-art gym, or watch a flick in the cinema and entertainment area.
Located in the artsy Southbank area, Imagine Marco is close to some of the best things to see and do in Melbourne. Nearby, you can watch a play at the Malthouse Theatre, a repurposed old brewery. Also within walking distance, are the National Gallery of Victoria and the Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium. And to relax those muscles after all that sightseeing, treat yourself to the best M2M men’s massage in the city. It’s just an 11-minute drive (or roughly a half-hour by tram) from the luxurious gay accommodation in Melbourne, the Imagine Marco.
The eclectic-style Crossley Hotel, serving guests since 1985, is an excellent gay friendly hotel in Melbourne. You can choose from its 89 guestrooms, each equipped with standard comforts such as air-conditioning, digital TV, private bathroom with free toiletries, and in some cases, a private balcony offering pleasant city views. A hearty breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant will set you up nicely for a day of sightseeing.
The 4-star Crossley Hotel is in Melbourne’s bustling Chinatown—the world’s third-oldest Chinatown. Among the historic buildings, there is the Chinese Mission Church, which dates from 1872. At the Chinese Museum’s Dragon Gallery, you’ll find the world’s longest dragon. And of course, Chinese New Year is a blast, with roving performers, lively mahjong games, and an outdoor cinema. Looking to cruise? The steamy Subway Sauna gay bathhouse is roughly a 15-minute ride away if you take public transportation.
If you’re seeking luxury gay accommodation in Melbourne, you’re likely to find The Langham more than ready to meet your needs. As the venue for events such as the LGBTIQ Wedding Expo, it’s undoubtedly one of the most gay-friendly hotels in Melbourne. The property itself is a spectacular visual feast, from the grand marble staircase and seductive indoor pool to the posh guestrooms and suites and the sublimest of spas.
The 5-star Langham Hotel sits in the CBD’s Southbank area. Nearby, you’ll find Australia’s highest postbox at Skydeck 88 of the Eureka Tower as well as stage productions at the Arts Centre Melbourne. Also within walking distance is the Melbourne City Library in Flinders Lane, which hosts events of interest to the LGBT community during the 3-week Midsumma Festival. For some fun in the sun, head to the western end of Sandridge Beach, a nudist spot that holds cultural and historical significance for the city’s gay community. From The Langham, it’s an 18-minute drive southwest—or a roughly half-hour journey by bus.
Art Series – The Blackman
Like the other Art Series properties on this list, The Blackman isn’t technically a gay hotel in Melbourne. But, given its immense popularity among the LGBT set, it might as well be! This 5-star hotel celebrates the life and work of the late figurative Australian painter Charles Blackman. His paintings hang throughout the property and in many of its 200+ guestrooms. A good number of the suites and rooms here also have their own private balcony, plus a full kitchen and ensuite bathroom with bathtub. When it comes to drinking and dining, you can enjoy French and Italian cuisine at the hotel’s restaurants.
The Blackman is on Saint Kilda Road in the South Yarra area. Right across the street is Fawkner Park, a great spot for playing sports like soccer and tennis. Also within walking distance, are the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens and the tranquil Albert Park Lake. And if you’re looking to party, you don’t have to go far. South Yarra is home to the Love Machine club, which holds gay-only Sunday parties. The Poof Doof gay rave, which is held on Saturdays, is also close by.
Base Backpackers St. Kilda
Fancy an affordable beach holiday in Melbourne? Then a berth at Base Backpackers St. Kilda might be right up your alley. This isn’t just any shabby hostel, either. It’s a 4-star property where backpackers of all orientations can enjoy a clean and comfortable stay without overtaxing their wallet. It offers a number of ensuite dorm-type rooms, with 4 to 10 beds. There are also well-appointed private ensuite rooms if you’d prefer to have your own space. The on-site bar is abuzz with activity most nights of the week, hosting events such as Frat Fridays, Ladies’ Night on Saturdays, and Beer Pong Competitions on Sundays.
This gay-friendly Melbourne hotel is just a 5-minute walk from St. Kilda Beach and a 3-minute stroll from the rides and amusements of Luna Park. Also within easy reach, is the historic Prince Public Bar, one of the city’s oldest LGBT-friendly watering holes.
Crown Metropol Melbourne
As a proud sponsor of LGBT events such as the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, the Crown Metropol Melbourne is as gay-friendly as they come. As such, it’s a popular choice among those looking for luxury gay hotels in Melbourne. Each of its 658 rooms and suites features designer furniture and specially commissioned artwork. The floor-to-ceiling windows provide spectacular views of the River Yarra and the city. The gorgeous pool, the exclusive 28 Skybar Lounge, and the magnificent Crown Spa also make staying here a joy.
The hotel is part of the enormous Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex in Southbank, the Yarra River’s south bank. Here, venues such as Hamer Hall and Arts Centre Melbourne host fun events during the annual Midsumma Festival. Nearby, the Southbank Promenade features a slew of cafes, bars, and restaurants. But if you’d like a meal to remember, the Spirit of Melbourne Dinner Cruise is what you should go for. Enjoy a gourmet menu of food and drinks while drifting on the Yarra River as dusk turns to night.
Jasper Boutique Hotel
Neutral tones, furnishings in warm colors, and soft lighting make staying at the Jasper Boutique Hotel a tranquil experience. A refurbishment in 2019 resulted in the creation and re-design of its rooms and suites, a good number of which feature a balcony or access to a lovely courtyard setting. Feeling peckish? Grab a bite at Jasper Kitchen which specializes in fresh, free-range organic ingredients sourced locally. Afterward, burn off the calories at the on-site gym.
This gay-friendly accommodation in Melbourne is located along Elizabeth Street in the CBD. Just a stone’s throw away is the State Library of Victoria, home of the utterly gorgeous La Trobe Reading Room. Fresh fruits and vegetables and wondrous eats are a 3-minute walk away at Queen Victoria Market. Nearby, Melbourne City Baths—one of the city’s architectural gems—offers swimming pools and bathing facilities. But if you’re looking for something raunchier, the gay bathhouse, Subway Sauna is just a 19-minute walk south of the hotel (or 11 minutes by tram).
Art Series – The Olsen
The outstanding works of the multifaceted Australian artist John Olsen take center stage at this avant-garde 5-star hotel. Like its fellow Art Series properties in the city, The Olsen is among the most popular gay-friendly hotels in Melbourne. Its boutique luxury rooms, featuring Olsen’s framed paintings, exude whimsy and charm. Book the John Olsen Penthouse and you’ll enjoy your own balcony spa. The menu at the hotel’s Spoonbill restaurant, inspired by Olsen’s Mediterranean sojourns, is a celebration of Australia’s regional produce. You can also take a dip in the glass-bottomed pool or pamper yourself at the Norbu Urban Retreat day spa.
The Olsen sits along iconic Chapel Street in South Yarra, just steps from wonderful dining, shopping, and entertainment venues. Nearby, the landmark Como Centre shopping mall offers upscale shops and an elegant movie theater. The historic Como House and Garden, dating from 1847, is a 13-minute walk away. Gay nightlife is close at hand as well. Take a 4-minute stroll south to reach the Saturday gay rave at Poof Doof. Meanwhile, a 13-minute drive northward will bring you to Fitzroy and its gay bars.
Prahran Village Guest House
If you’re looking for gay accommodation in Melbourne with a homey atmosphere, you can’t go wrong with Prahran Village Guest House. This luxury property boasts elegantly appointed rooms, each with a private terrace or balcony and a spa bath. Start the day with a delicious homemade breakfast and wind down in the charming executive lounge after a day of sightseeing. Housed in a Victorian building, the hotel offers 24-hour front desk service.
Prahran Village Guest House is a scant 10-minute walk from the attractions of Melbourne’s city center. For pre-dinner drinks, head to the nearby Railway Hotel-Windsor pub and take advantage of its gay happy hour on Sundays. Attik, a nightclub a few blocks away, holds the lesbian-centric Mother Party every Friday night. Also within easy reach, is the futuristic-looking Love Machine nightclub, a gay-friendly place to dance the night away.
Art Series – The Cullen
Situated in the lively Prahran suburb, Art Series – The Cullen is a 5-star property that’s among the top gay hotels in Melbourne. Like its sister Art Series hotels, it’s awash in color and bright, bold designs. The works of the late award-winning Australian artist Adam Cullen feature prominently here, an iridescent combination of irreverent wit and social commentary. Each of the suites and apartments boasts luxurious amenities such as premium bedding, flat-screen TV, and kitchenette. Meanwhile, at the hotel’s restaurants, you can slay your hunger pangs with American-style comfort food as well as delectable Chinese cuisine.
Speaking of delicious eats, you’ll find that the neighborhood is a foodie’s delight. And with the Prahran Market Tour and Food Tasting, you’ll get to sample some of the best local treats. Seafood, Turkish delight, specialty cheese, and more are waiting at this colorful market.
Another thing that makes The Cullen the top choice for gay accommodation in Melbourne is its proximity to queer nightlife. The city’s top gay rave, Poof Doof, is just a quick 5-minute walk away. And at Attik, queer ladies and their friends gather every Friday night for the spirited Mother Party. It’s a mere 7-minute walk from the hotel.
Just So You Know:
- The gay bar, Sircuit in Fitzroy, once was legally allowed to exclude women from the property because they made men uncomfortable.
- Melbourne’s gay scene has thrived since at least the 1920s, but it was kept under wraps because of fear of discrimination.
- Central Melbourne and inner-city Melbourne are among the least homophobic areas in the whole of Australia.
Get Some Culture in Melbourne:
- Midsumma Festival – Almost 300,000 people gather in Melbourne every year to celebrate LGBTQIA+ arts and cultures. Exhibitions, music events, dance parties, and many other events take place over 22 days across January and February each year all over the city.
- LGBT+ Friendly Great Ocean Road Private Tour – Explore natural, historic, and cultural attractions outside Melbourne in Victoria on this 12-hour day trip. Take selfies at stunning vantage points, walk in a charming coastal town, make your way through rainforests, and more.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Melbourne:
- Laird – Located in Fitzroy, this is arguably Melbourne’s most famous men-only gay bar. It attracts a varied clientele ranging from bears to leather men. Laird also offers rooms for rent that are popular men-only gay accommodations in Melbourne.
- Poof Doof – Melbourne’s fave gay rave happens every Saturday, from 10:30 PM to 7 AM on Chapel Street. This LGBT-favorite nightclub is a lively denizen of the Prahran neighborhood.
- DT’s – Situated in the multicultural Richmond suburb, this gay and lesbian pub offers superb drink specials, karaoke, and other fun events.
- Sircuit – A popular LGBT bar in Fitzroy with colorful drag shows and lively DJ sets. Admission is free from Wednesday to Sunday.
- Peel Hotel – Not a hotel but a long-running gay nightclub in Collingwood. Multiple bars, a courtyard, fantastic DJ sets, and drag nights are some of its irresistible offerings.
Best Gay Saunas in Melbourne:
- Subway Sauna – Situated in the heart of the CBD, this is Melbourne’s sole inner-city men’s sauna. Cruise areas, video lounges, serviced rooms, glory holes, and a wet area await gay men here 24/7.
- Wet on Wellington – This gay sauna in Wellington is reputed as one of the largest of its kind in Australia. Enjoy its myriad facilities, which include a 10-man hot tub, playrooms, outdoor pool, and movie theater.
- Bay City Sauna – Anything goes at this gay sauna in Elsternwick suburb. Voyeur rooms, bondage and kink dungeon, a sling room, and a porn lounge are just some of its amenities.