You don’t become known as Australia’s creative capital without having a few style-driven hotels under your belt. Melbourne has no shortage of standout digs to choose from whether you're looking for an edgy boutique, big-name brand, or over-the-top grande dame. Here are 6 of our favorites.
The QT Melbourne is a bold but fitting introduction to Melbourne. The interiors pay homage to the historic rag trade that took place at Melbourne’s “Paris end” back in the 20s--there are concrete ceilings and graffitied rugs in the 188 guest rooms and neon sculptures and commissioned video art everywhere else. (Be sure to take a peek inside your minibar for local goodies like street-sign magnets and craft spirits.) This is the place to rub shoulders with the city’s movers and shakers, who come to feast on Asian small plates at the edgy Hot Sauce bar, take in drinks (and views) at the rooftop bar, or browse the selection of high-end Japanese knives at Tanto.
The Prince might be minimalist and compact, but it’s the amenities that make this 1940 landmark stand strong as one of Melbourne’s best stays. The property’s location on popular Fitzroy Street draws in an eclectic crowd, who come to schmooze and booze at late-night Mexican spot Cantina and the now-iconic street-facing Public Bar—perhaps following a meal at modern Australian restaurant Circa. There’s also a Bandroom that hosts live music performances by both emerging and international acts (Coldplay among them). When all that starts to bore, the street scene at the nearby beachfront offers more than enough people-watching.
The Langham, Melbourne
The city’s most elegant hotel occupies a beautiful plot along the Southbank Promenade, affording its choicest guest rooms views of the Yarra River. Inside, the look is just as impressive: Waterford crystal chandeliers, bellmen in bowler hats, a curving grand staircase that leads guests to their rooms, which they’ll find feature marble bathrooms, silk drapery, and settees. Luxury is a byword at Langham, and here, you’ll have your pick of indulgences, be it traditional Chinese treatments and dips in the indoor saltwater pool at the 11,000-square-foot Chuan Spa, a chocolate bar at high tea at Melba, or taking advantage of one of the “service stylists” who can attend to your laundry or secure the night’s dinner reservation.
Art Series - The Olsen
For its flagship property, Art Series Hotels tapped abstract Australian painter John Olsen. The result is a strikingly modern statement on fashionable Chapel Street, beginning with his 18-foot Yellow Sun mural in the lobby and continuing on through the hallways and 229 guest rooms, which are done up in a muted palette of silver and champagne, art books, mini bars stocking their own paint sets, and replicas of Olsen’s works. Those seeking food should head to Spoonbill Restaurant & Bar for seasonal, regional flavors like cardamom-crumbed lamb cutlets and sweet and sour pork belly; those seeking thrills should head to the sundeck, where a glass-bottomed pool extends over the street.
The Windsor, opened in 1883, is still going strong as one of Melbourne’s oldest and grandest hotels. Its position on the western part of the Central Business District puts you within striking distance of some of the city’s biggest sights, including Princess Theatre, Parliament House, and the Treasury Gardens. The Victorian rooms, while a bit faded, remain the go-to choice for visiting politicians, while afternoon tea, as you can expect, is the biggest seller of all.
Melbourne’s famous laneways—its network of lanes and arcades layered with shops and street art—inspired the colorful look of Ovolo Laneways, a design boutique at the edges of Chinatown. Each of the 42 rooms is tricked out with convenient extras like Apple TVs and complimentary minibars, but if you’re looking to add an extra oomph to your stay, book one of the suites, which come with individual perks like pinball machines or open-air Jacuzzi tubs.