The Westin loves a good night’s sleep. Some 10 years ago when other five-star hotel marques were braying about their swimming pools, bars or views from the penthouse suite, the Westin was subtly insinuating itself into the minds of the discerning traveller with a fancy mattress. In fact, the Westin was so convinced you’d like its mattress you were even given the chance to buy it — yeah, that’s right; the one you’re sleeping on right now… linen and all! The Heavenly Bed, as it’s known, has been an enormous, and much imitated, hit. The mattresses are made especially for the hotel and thousands of satisfied guests have gone home with one. The ‘comfy bed’ marketing says something about the Westin brand. It’s not flashy or ostentatious; it’s classy, slightly reserved and refined without being snooty. But the trouble with understatement, is that it tends to be understated. Which is where we join the Westin Melbourne: a tasteful edifice right in the very heart of town — more central than any of the other five-star competition — which most people happily stroll past without a second glance. Fortunately for Westin Melbourne, it has an extraordinarily high rate of return patronage — 80%-plus! Are you getting the feeling the Westin is one of those ‘best kept secret’ hotels? A notion that’s quite hard to counter given there are dozens in the Starwood stable around the globe, but it appears to be a business model that works. So let’s quickly investigate some of the features that Westin aficionados are so assiduously keeping to themselves: Here’s my favourite: Unwind. It’s a nightly ritual where you join guests in the lobby lounge for a ‘Wine & Food Flight’, sampling regional Victorian wines matched with tasting plates featuring local produce. You can then elect to take a tour of the hotel’s contemporary art collection that features works by Bill Henson (his At The Opera series is quite superb), Imants Tillers and Anne Ferran. Sound a bit too louche and decadent? Well, Westin Melbourne is equally big on health and fitness. It has its Superfoods menu, packed full of antioxidants (green tea-infused salmon anyone?); something you’ll want to consider if you embark on the Run Westin (a jogging itinerary download for your iPod, that describes key landmarks as you jog past them). What’s more, there are the Fitness Rooms — accommodation for those who’d rather the gym come to them in the guise of a selection of either a bike or treadmill and other fitness accoutrement. In a tricky and increasingly crowded premium market, the Westin Melbourne’s approach is instructive. It’s an approach based on holding ones nerve by keeping an iron grip on your loyal customers in almost every way other than heavy discounting. The food and beverage offering, the service and the atmosphere are all pivotal in preserving what is a pretty special product. Just don’t tell your friends!