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Businesses in Southbank

12 Nov 2015

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The heart of South Wharf

As the first business to open in South Wharf six years ago, Hilton Hotel South Wharf has watched the precinct grow around it.

The hotel’s chief concierge Toby Lier, who has been with the business since day one, said it had been a fascinating journey to witness the area develop from nothing.

“We were the first place to open in this area, which was interesting,” he said. “I remember seeing the first taxi driver that pulled up here and thinking ‘do you actually know the area?’ Because back then it was just a construction site.”

“Then DFO opened up, the convention centre and the restaurants slowly started coming in. It’s been really interesting to see the build up.”

Since opening, the wonderful service provided by Toby and his colleagues over the years at this magnificent five-star hotel has given guests from Australia and around the world a good reason to keep coming back to the area.

Toby said the hotel had been a major catalyst for allowing the precinct to continually keep growing into a tourist hub of Melbourne.

“If you think about the convention centre expanding over the next four years, you’ve got new venues on the river like Munich Brauhaus, which can hold 1000 people and other attractions like Polly Woodside, the area’s really vibrant,” he said.

“A lot of people might think that we’re out of town, but we’re a scenic walk along the river, minutes from the city and you pick up a lot more here than you would at other places.”

Over the years, Hilton South Wharf has attracted guests from all around the world and has quickly risen into becoming one of the most prominent hotels in Melbourne.

While it possesses international appeal, it has also always been proud of its local heritage, with each of its stylish guest rooms, suites and executive rooms designed and inspired by the forms and tones of the iconic Yarra River.

On top of providing guests with some of the best views and amenities that Melbourne has to offer, Toby said it was also committed to offering a first class dining destination for guests and the local community.

Toby said its ground floor restaurant, renamed Dock 37, had recently undergone a major facelift in order to reinforce its place as a premier dining destination of not only South Wharf, but also Melbourne.

“It’s now called Dock 37 and the proviso is now where the sea meets the land so the chefs are trying to do a few more different things and make it a bit of a signature restaurant in the area,” he said.

“Not just our restaurant but Melbourne is such a cultural melting pot of all good things. With regards to food, they moved Masterchef from Sydney to Melbourne because of the food explosion that’s happening.”

As state director of the Australian chapter of the Les’ Clefs Dor Society (Hotel Concierge Society), Toby is certainly no ordinary concierge and is widely regarded as one of the best in his field.

It is another reason why Hilton South Wharf has become renowned for its service, as he said the role of concierge was something he was passionate about.

“It’s great because you experience life in all aspects and that’s what I love about it. Everyday is different. I think concierge is the best job in any hotel without a shadow of a doubt,” he said.

“You don’t just need to know about the car park and the restaurant here you need know about Melbourne and you need to know about Victoria and you need to be able to liaise with guests from all walks of life.”

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