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Aquabelle Apartments Review


Arriving at Melbourne Airport I’m advised by the rental car company that there are no cars available despite the fact that I’ve booked a car to be picked up exactly at this time.  I’d love it if someone could explain how hire car companies work, as a regular road trip traveller it continues to baffle me? Surely they are like hotels, you book a room/car and it’s allocated in the system – right? After an extended delay, eventually a car arrives, but the process takes an hour longer than I’d planned. The saving grace on a frustrating experience is the rental car attendant at the exit gate who asks where I’m going and then quickly presents me with a map hand marked with directions to the Mornington Peninsula. I keep quiet on the fact I’ve already punched in the destination on my GPS, as this old school gesture just makes me happy.

After the delay, the city stresses melt away as I cruise to the majestic Mornington Peninsula. Just over an hour from Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula is a foodies paradise with an abundance of cellar doors, provedores and boutiques to experience. Its proximity to Melbourne means it has a touch of city chic, an edge of sophistication unlike any other Australian wine region. 


Arriving at Aquabelle is a breath of fresh air, quite literally as its bayside location in Rye is perfect for a coastal escape. No standard, generic hotel here, instead you’ll find 7 unique, individually styled apartments, designed with families and the coastal location in mind. There is no reception and it’s keyless entry, so if you’re making your escape from Melbourne on a Friday afternoon, there’s no rush, you’ll be provided with your key code allowing entry to the secure parking and entry to your apartment prior to your arrival – so simple.

From the moment we enter apartment 3 we’re greeted with unique touches signaling we’ve arrived somewhere special. There’s a set of framed vintage beach photos hanging in the entry, a collection of quirky memorabilia in the kitchen and the décor overall evokes a sense of cool and calm. The apartment has polished concrete throughout (perfect for family holidays with sandy feet) and a Nordic minimalist style with wonderful high ceilings, creating a light & airy feel. Sweeping through the apartment you’re immediately drawn to the balcony, an alfresco oasis for entertaining and gazing through the Norfolk Island Pines to Port Phillip Bay beyond.

Apartment 3 has two bedrooms, the master bedroom with king bed and en-suite and the second with twin beds. The second bathroom has a bath and separate shower and laundry facilities, ideal for an extended stay. The gourmet kitchen is enormous, well equipped and invites you to cook up a storm. Most importantly, it has a large collection of champagne glasses! There’s also free wifi, which is uber handy given these apartments are so darn instagramable. Grocery shops and Montino Deli are nearby to pick up some essentials to prepare a gourmet feast.


Hard to know if it’s the fresh air, or the incredible pillow top bed, but I sleep so soundly regrettably there’s no time for a morning bayside walk. I detect a little noise from garbage trucks from the rear lane and there is some traffic noise at the front of the apartment, as you are located on the main street above the shops, but the location & proximity to everything is unbeatable. Plus at 140 square metres, let’s just move right in!

Coffee cravings calling, we try relative newcomer A Mini Kitchen. Being a petite lady myself, I think this café sounds right up my alley. Decked out in bright white chairs and sunny yellow flowers on the table, it’s an impressive & welcoming fit out. A delightful oasis dreamed up by Amy Minichiello, who invites you to lose yourself amongst the wide selection of cook books, jars of seasonal delights or be tempted by an incredible selection of homemade sweet treats.

Aquabelle owner Donna, has a lovely personalised compendium in the rooms which lists valuable insights to live like a local including recommending Picknicks as the best breakfast spot on the Peninsula, also worth a visit. 


Donna kindly shows me a selection of apartments and we venture down the lane to apartments 4-7. Apartments 6 & 7 are studio apartments perfect for couples. While they don’t have views like the bayside apartments, they have the sexiest bathrooms you’re likely to see! Uber cool blue tiles and deep soaking stone bath – heaven!

Apartment 5 is a two bedroom two bathroom creation featuring a fabulous Chanel No 5 vintage poster making it possibly may favourite décor, but it’s really so hard to choose. The individually styled apartments really make you want to return to experience something different on your next getaway. 


It’s hard to get out and about when you’re made to feel so at home at Aquabelle, but the local attractions are not to be scoffed at: Peninsula Hot Springs will leave you reinvigorated with their unique outdoor pools of pure, natural mineral water from deep beneath the ground, it’s a must-do in the region.

Want to take advantage of the bay location? Peninsula Stand Up Paddle will even deliver (for a small fee) a board to your doorstep. Peninsula Stand Up Paddle also offer tours in Port Phillip Bay where you might be lucky enough to see playful dolphins while you explore the rugged coastline.


A trip to the Mornington Peninsula wouldn’t be complete with out some wine tasting! Either take a self guided tour to some of our favourites wineries including Montalto Winery, Port Phillip Estate/Kooyong, Eldridge Estate, Paringa Estate, Yabby Lake or better still let Top Drop Luxury Wine Tours whisk you around in style. 

Aquabelle is an oasis of cool in Rye, where the stresses of the city become are a thing of the past. Where you can relax and unwind bayside, perhaps even with a glass of Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir in hand for good measure.

Aquabelle Apartments, Rye from $295 per night for a Studio Apartment. Book online at with instant confirmation and no booking fees.

The writer, Sally Scott was a guest of Aquabelle. Images: alluxia

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