9 Nov 2016
Nik Adams has called Melbourne home for more than a decade, and with his “nomadic accent” courtesy of an upbringing in Auckland and some time spent in London, has worked at the Stamford Plaza Melbourne for 11 years.
Sitting down in one of Stamford Plaza’s 308 rooms, Nik has a sense of pride in his career, his employer and the Melbourne hotel industry. With roughly 50 four- to five-star hotels in Melbourne, the risk is that some serious competition could exist between them. The reality, however, couldn’t be more different.
“Even though the different hotels are competitors,” Nik says, “a lot of us are friends and we always like to go out and have a laugh about all the things that happen in our hotel. Particularly when you’re having a bad day, it’s good because you can always go and just catch up.
“It’s not just the concierges though. I was talking to our director of sales and apparently, all the directors of sales across the different hotels catch up once a month, and I know that all the general managers all catch up every couple of months.
“Ultimately, everyone’s here to support each other. If I get a guest come in today and ask something that I don’t know the answer to, or I’m not too sure, it’s quite easy to email the other concierges for an answer. In this industry, everyone’s here to make the guests’ stay enjoyable.”
Restuarant Grossi Florentino is just around the corner from us here at the Stamford Plaza. The best thing about going to a nice restaurant is the service, and the service at Grossi Florentino is some of the best in Melbourne. When you go upstairs to the mural room it feels like you’ve been transported to a time 30 or 40 years ago.
Coffee I’m not a coffee drinker, but as a good concierge you have to be an expert on things you don’t necessarily do yourself! My top recommendation to guests is Oli + Levi. The staff in there are very friendly and word is that the coffee’s great.
View I like going down to Albert Park at sunset. When you’ve got the lake in front of you and the sun setting over the city skyline, that’s hard to beat.
Walk Everyone knows the Royal Botanic Gardens, but I love the smaller Fitzroy Gardens. Cooks’ Cottage is a highlight and it’s a beautiful area to walk around no matter the weather.
Free attraction The City Circle Tram. It’s a free attraction that everyone should take up, if not for the opportunity to ride on an old-fashioned W-class tram then for the informative overview of the city.
Bar I like the uniqueness of Ponyfish Island, and the fact that someone’s come along and said ‘let’s put this bar on the river on a barge’. I think that’s the great thing about Melbourne; people can look at a space and do something with it that isn’t very obvious.
Event Melbourne Cup Carnival is one of the best times to work in a hotel. It’s so much fun. There are four days of races so there’s a big event every second day. Obviously Cup Day is huge; we have a big breakfast in the lobby here and everyone comes down all dressed up. I love the pageantry of it. I know nothing about horse racing and rarely tip a winner, but for me it’s not about that. You see people who never usually wear a suit who get dressed up, and it makes it very special.
Shopping I was down at Emporium not too long ago and it’s quite impressive. It’s got a lot of Australian shops in there, which is interesting, and they’re constantly changing.
Must-see attraction The Melbourne Zoo’s my favourite. I love the Zoo. It gives you a broad selection of animals, especially Australian animals and if you don’t have the time to get to Phillip Island it’s got a great penguin display. They’re doing a refurbishment at the moment, moving away from cages, which is good too.
Afternoon idea Wandering through the little laneways of the city and looking at the street art is always interesting. I like looking down AC/DC Lane; everyone knows about Hosier Lane, but AC/DC Lane has a few little very nice pieces down there. It’s got that really grungy, nice feeling.
Hidden Secret There’s a little opal shop on Elizabeth Street called Lightning Ridge Opal Mines. It’s probably the most unique shop in Melbourne. It’s an opal shop but they also have a mini zoo in there as well. The family who operate it have worked in mining and zoos for many years, and if you go there you can see live snakes, spiders and lizards that you can handle. They show you how the opals are cut, and it’s the most fascinating shop I’ve been to in Melbourne.