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Hidden away in the back streets of South Melbourne is a hidden oasis of sophistication and desire. Sitting right upon a main street, looking down at a tram line and wistfully across the Melbourne city is the latest stylish and sexy hotel – Shadow Play by Peppers. All the usual charm of a Peppers branded hotel but with a good dash of Melbourne sexiness added to it. James and I recently had the pleasure of testing out the brand new hotel, along with over indulging ourselves at the very swish wine bar – Edwin’s. Rather then sit on this experience and hope that you never go there to have as much fun as we did I’m going to give you a bit of an old school review, like it’s 2009.

Jean’s review of the newly opened Shadow Play by Peppers

Arrival and check in.

I’ll admit that I was a wee bit dubious on arrival. The street that the entrance sits on isn’t exactly Melbourne chic. Actually it’s Melbourne scummy. It’s dirty, raw and there’s a lot of development going on. Which could potentially lead to a night of restless sleep, early morning trades people cussing and the general hustle and bustle of the cityscape. I’m a super light sleeper and have had many nights in so called “luxury hotels” that lack sound proofing. It’s such a hassle. So with some concern we opened the door and walked into the shadows.
The peaceful shadows. The quiet shadows. It was as if the outside world no longer existed. There was no trams. No honk of horns. There was next to nothing except the black. As we wandered in looking for reception, we were welcomed by a help yourself jar of sangria and the smile of fresh staff. And let me tell you that check in was simply a breeze. Within minutes we are checked in, key in hand and ready to explore our home for the evening.

A room fit for all playful purposes

We were lucky enough to enjoy an evening in a two bedroom apartment with a funky corner room that follows the curve of the building. Making it rather spacious, but super awkward to try and take good photos in. We ended up using both of the rooms, as the first room we slept in with the larger looking bed had a weird whistling noise that woke us up at 2am, when the winds arrived. From what James said, the new building hasn’t quite settled in yet and it looks as if a new seal on the windows may fix this noisy issue. We let the front desk team know and it shouldn’t be an issue for anyone staying in this room anymore. We do need to note that the hotel had only had a soft opening prior to us staying here. 
One of the really nice perks that you might not consider, is the blackout curtains. Legitimate blackout curtains. So often we stay in hotels that boast black out curtains but there’s a good 3-4 inches of area not covered by the curtains and the city lights can be rather annoying. You’re probably thinking that I’m harping on a lot about this but it’s a big issue when you travel a lot. You really do get to appreciate a comfortable bed and blackout curtains. 
The apartment has two teeny tiny bathrooms, which in all honesty could have been combined into one larger bathroom with a toilet, and a separate toilet. The apartment itself is very Peppers branded. It’s clean, fresh and the trimmings come from the usual places like Madras Link. With locally sourced artwork perched on the walls. just waiting to be appreciated. If you’ve stayed in any of the other Peppers city hotels then you’ll be in a familiar space. Nothing in these rooms blow your mind, other then the price of the mini-bar and pod coffee! It’s an issue that I also had at the FV Peppers in Brisbane. If you do take a moment to look deeper at the mini-bar you’ll notice that this is the one convention that Shadow Play by Peppers is breaking. All the items available for purchase are sourced from Victoria. And there are some truly unique cocktails, wine and juices on offer. 
In the tiny, oddly shaped bathrooms you’ll find the Appelles branded toiletries. A good solid brand that you’ll commonly see in any Peppers hotel.
The space configuration and the hotels location make this the perfect spot for families and business trips. Being only a short walk from the exhibition building and 5 mins to the CBD it’s a great spot if you’re sending a team down to Melbourne for a week worth of work. There’s a kitchenette and a European style laundry hidden in a cupboard. These really are rooms fit for any purpose.
Shadow Play Peppers Bathroom

In the Shadows you’ll find a hidden foodies haven

Really the wonder of Shadow Play by Peppers isn’t the big rooms, the spacious lounge rooms or the oddly small bathrooms. It’s not even the wonder of the shared space of the winter garden, and being able to see across the Melbourne city from what seems like a mile high. No, the real hidden wonder of Shadow Play by Peppers is the food and wine. At first glance don’t misjudge the small space of Edwin Wine Bar. It packs a delicious punch of locally sourced wines, beers and food. So much glorious food. And let me tell you that we tried a LOT of the food, both at dinner time and in the morning for breakfast.

Not only is it the quality that is coming out of the kitchen, you’ll be equally impressed by the knowledge of the senior staff on the local produce. Down to the names and backstories of the producers. The team have invested considerable time in exploring local producers around Victoria and getting to know the producer and the product before buying it in. You won’t find any cheap CUB branded beer happening here!

Rather then my waft on for ever and a day about the glorious pate eclairs, the slow cooked lamb and the delightful earl grey beignets let me show you some of the food that we devoured.

Delicious desserts at Edwins Wine Bar Melbourne
Beignet at Shadow Play wine bar
Dinner at Edwins
lamb at Edwins bar

Overall review of Shadow Play by Peppers

4 out of 5 stars

This is a good hotel. A nice hotel. A chic and rather well thought out hotel. How would these guys get that extra 1 star? Well a complimentary mini bar would be grand. That’s always a winner in my mind. One thing I would like to see is the removal of pod coffee and pods machines. Even the locally support coffee pods are terrible for the environment. Instead encourage people to come down to the bar for a complimentary café latte? 

Would I return and stay at Shadow Play by Peppers? Without a doubt. Within the rooms there is nothing truly mind blowingly amazing but the rooms are clean, fresh and the hotel itself is in a safe location. Even though this hotel carries the Peppers name don’t expect the luxury that the regional Peppers hotels and lodges offer, like Cradle Mountain Lodge. More so it represents a good reliable hotel experience at a reasonable price point.

The perks are the lovely and exceptionally well trained staff and the food. The Peppers F&B team really do know how to craft an enjoyable and delicious experiences.

As we stayed in late May the weather was not friendly enough for us to try out the pool and the rain did ruin the view from the winter garden. It was gale force winds at one point and really not worth trying to go for a swim. Had we had more time and I wasn’t about to fly out to Nepal we would’ve taken advantage of the late check out, slept in a bit more and enjoy a fresh dip in the pool.

Book your stay at Shadow Play by Peppers now. Before anyone else realises how great it is



Founder, Principal Blogger & Coffee Drinker

Coffee Lover | Travel Blogger | Horse Rider | Adventure Racer | Donut Dame. Generally nice lady-enjoys wine, indie movies & random dance parties in my tent.


  1. This place looks great and very nice pictures too!

  2. Looks like a great place. Will pin for when I someday go to Australia!

  3. I’m in Melbourne a few time a year so will definitely check it out.

  4. Wow this place looks stunning and delicious!

  5. We can’t wait to visit Melbourne soon and love this look at a cool and fun place. I will be considering staying here and visiting that neighborhood.

  6. Looks like a great place to base ourselves when we are next in Melbourne. Thanks for the review.


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