Your guide to a luxury city weekend in Australia

Bright Lights Big City

We’ve all seen the film – and if you’re a woman, chances are you’ve had the dream. Who doesn’t want to be Pretty Woman, armed with a limitless credit card, enjoying life like there’s no tomorrow? And if you’re up for trying on some fancy antics in Australia, you’re already one step ahead. After all, Pretty Woman didn’t have the beauty of Sydney and Melbourne beneath her heels . . .

First stop for any Pretty Woman is the boutique of a Sydney designer whose wares are regularly paraded by celebrities. Every year, Collette Dinnigan’s dresses are the toast of catwalks worldwide – and for good reason.

A simple yet beautiful frock from her flagship Paddington store will set you back around $1200, or five to ten grand will have you swanning about in a trademark hand-beaded Dinnigan gown. While you’re at it, there’s a shoemaker in town who creates slippers fit for a princess. Literally. His shoes have graced Hollywood studios for the Star Wars series on the feet of stars Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen. Andrew McDonald can whip up some custom-made boots starting from $1600 or stilettos for around $900. Whether you have a penchant for exotic leathers or Swarovski crystals, he’ll have you stepping out in style.

Collette Dinnigan: (02) 9361 0110,
Andrew Macdonald: (02) 9358 6793,

You can’t beat the view from a seaplane up the coast over Sydney Harbour to Palm Beach, departing regularly from Rose Bay to sweep decadent diners off their feet and on their way to Jonah’s – a restaurant perched on the brink of the Pacific Ocean. Revered by local clientele and all who have indulged in its oceanfront beauty and award-winning cuisine, a lazy $200 will have you enjoying a three-course meal for two. And when it comes to wine, Jonah’s has over 200 expertly chosen drops with something sure to suit your fancy.

The Observatory Hotel in Sydney’s Rocks precinct takes luxury pampering to new heights. The addition of La Prairie beauty products to the Day Spa menu has produced two new signature treatments that will leave you short of breath: the Caviar Firming Facial (a mask of caviar pearls, $200 for 1.5hrs), and the Diamond Body Perfection treatment (a skin scrub with a micro-puree of diamonds, fresh water pearls and quartz crystals, $250 for two hours).

Or you could always opt for the Diamond Luxury package: Breakfast at Galileo, Diamond Body Perfection treatment, La Prairie Facial of your choice, a hand and feet treatment and a two-course Spa Cuisine lunch. It takes all day and will set you back $670.

Observatory Hotel Day Spa: (02) 9256 2229,

Jump on a midnight flight to the glittering Crown Towers. A helicopter will take you from Melbourne airport to a helipad in the Yarra River where your limousine awaits. You’ll be ushered into a VIP lift and whisked to the 29th floor – where high rollers and celebrities lap up life in the secretive Crystal Club. Seeing is believing.

As the weekend draws to a close you’ll hit your goose down pillows in the Crown Towers Villa Apartments (where prices start from $2750 but can soar to $27,500 a night for “invitation only” guests) with one lovely thought on your mind – Pretty Woman never had it this good.

Crown Towers: (03) 9292 6666,

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