'Our romantic getaway got crashed by our kids. Here's the itinerary that kept us all happy.'

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Mamamia Must-Go is your insider guide on what to see, do and eat at popular holiday destinations. It's where you'll find honest recommendations from the women who've been there. This week, Olivia White shares her Melbourne recommendations.

Having grown up in Victoria and lived in Melbourne for more than 12 years now, I've always taken great pride in knowing the city like the back of my hand.

I know the best restaurants, the greatest exhibitions and all the activities available for my husband and our two children.

Well, I thought I did until I found myself at the back end of a two-night stay at Shadow Play by Peppers — a contemporary boutique hotel in the heart of Melbourne. 

That is, until my kids gatecrashed my husband's and my private, romantic weekend.

Here's everything you need to know about my family's special weekend away.

Where to stay in Melbourne. 

Okay, in all honesty, we wanted our kids to gatecrash our weekend because about 12 hours after walking into our accommodation at Shadow Play by Peppers, we knew our girls, aged 10 and eight, would have loved everything about it.

Positioned in Southbank, my youngest daughter was a stickler for the panoramic views and outdoor pool, which we visited during the day to fill our time.

As a working mum, I know all about the importance of value and I understand that during the cost-of-living crisis, spending a load of money on a holiday seems ridiculous, which is why I'm a fan of the Accor Plus membership.

It allows for great savings on restaurants, hotel stays and access to exclusive experiences and events. Available across Australia, New Zealand and Asia at more than 1,000 Accor hotels and 1,400 restaurants.


I've always been a big saver and handled the budget for my family, so I've known about Accor Plus for quite a few years, and it has genuinely saved me quite a bit of money (plus, one of our nights' stays ended up being complimentary, which was a huge bonus).  

What to do and eat in Melbourne.

Before we ran back home to grab our girls, my husband and I enjoyed a really lovely night at Shadow Play, just soaking up the experience and our space. It was genuinely stunning.


For dinner, we went to Edwin Wine Bar & Cellar, which for some reason I had never been to (?!?!). The food was unbelievable and knowing we had 50 per cent off from the Accor Plus membership was a nice little treat at the end of the night.

If we weren't making use of the pool back at the accommodation, we were playing board games, curling up on the couch to watch movies and just soaking up all of each other's company.

We also went to Holey Moley together, and I had a little time to kill, so I went to the South Melbourne Markets, where there is a lot of fresh produce, meat and seafood available. We love to try out new foods as well — there are SO many market stalls there for foodies.


I can't explain how nice it was to be in our city, but away from home and I genuinely had the best time with our kids there.

Luckily for my husband and me, my girls have the gift of being able to find the magic in everything. Nobody was bored. We loved every second with each other — it might sound boring to stay in the apartment, but we honestly didn't want to leave.

It might have been a holiday, but we really enjoyed cooking in our little home for the weekend. The hotel room was completely fitted out with its own kitchen that had all the amenities.

I believe sometimes we can get in our heads about what a holiday is and there is pressure, especially with social media, to go big or go home.

Melbourne might be my literal backyard, but I have a billion new things to see and do whenever I am there. As a mother, sometimes a holiday is as simple as getting out of the house for a few nights and genuinely just enjoying yourself.

My weekend away was a lesson for me, too; to explore the places that are close to me, to relish in them and to appreciate that a wonderful, new and exciting experience doesn't ever have to be far from home.

For access to exclusive member hotel packages and more value while you travel, visit Accor Plus. 

Feature Image: Instagram/@oliviawhite/Mamamia. 

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