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Next Hotel

  • Hotels
  • Melbourne
  1. Lobby at Next Hotel
    Photograph: Next Hotel
  2. Room in Next Hotel
    Photograph: Next Hotel
  3. Negroni bottled cocktail in the in-room bar at Next Hotel
    Photograph: Next Hotel
  4. Snacks and Champagne at La Madonna Restaurant at Next Hotel
    Photograph: Next Hotel
  5. Roast duck and potatoes at La Madonna restaurant at Next Hotel
    Photograph: Next Hotel
  6. Staff making cocktails at the bar at Next Hotel
    Photograph: Next Hotel
  7. The barrel room at Next Hotel
    Photograph: Next Hotel
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Time Out says

You have to know what you're looking for, but this hotel is well worth finding

There's something about the upper end of Collins Street (OK, OK, the 'Paris end'). Once the domain of high-end retail shops and very little else, the precinct is now home to numerous swanky restaurants and destination shops. Many venues are arrayed along a (what else) laneway off Collins, with numerous branches snaking off in different directions. Head down one of these and follow the discreet signs to Next Hotel, which at street level is little more than a concierge desk staffed by an unfailingly polite person who will show you to the lift and direct you to the lobby on level two.

This is where the hotel begins in earnest, a vast, marbled expanse with an enormous desk, stairs to the La Madonna restaurant and comfortable armchairs and workspaces near the window. This is the lobby befitting the grand, luxurious, 255-room hotel – but like many things at Next, you have to know where to look to find it. 

From least to most fancy, the rooms are Next Rooms, Next Level Rooms, Club Rooms and Club Suites. If your budget stretches that far, a Club Room is the most fun because it has access to the Next Club, a coworking space with comfortable furniture for a range of workplace needs, from solo laptop work to board table meetings to couch catchups. The Next Club offers snacks and drinks at all times, but after 5pm it's at its most fun, for aperitivo hour. Friendly waiters appear, offering multiple varieties of wine, and a charcuterie board and oysters are available for pre-dinner snacking. In the mornings, the Next Club is set up for a continental breakfast for all Club guests. 

The rooms are luxuriously appointed, with luxe quality extras like Hunter Lab bath and body products, Dyson Supersonic hairdryers, espresso machines and supersoft bedding that all but guarantees a good night's sleep. Even if you don't make use of the Club facilities or have a Club room, Next Hotel is designed for working, with a large, ergonomically designed desk and high-speed Wi-Fi available in each room. And for knock-off drinks, there are bottled versions of the hotel's housemade cocktails. 

But that doesn't mean Next Hotel is all work and no play. The hotel feels like a self-contained entertainment and hospitality complex, with a fancy gym complete with Technogym equipment and the Next Club available all day, as well as the comfortable lobby, which is the perfect place to read or chill out. But the real fun begins on level three, at the La Madonna restaurant and bar. 

The bar is a vast space, with plenty of comfortable couches and dimly lit corners for enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail. It's is a Willy Wonka's paradise for those who love their booze, with wooden barrels and glass bottles ageing various cocktails, tinctures and spirits. If you're lucky enough to score a ticket to an exclusive event at the Barrel Room, you're in for a treat. There are just eight seats in the room, and there are masterclasses on decanting and cocktail ageing. If you are extra fancy, have a chat with spirit master Phil Smithers about barrel-ageing your very own spirits or cocktails. 

La Madonna is a guaranteed good night, even if you're not staying at the hotel itself. It's run by Melbourne cooking royalty Daniel Natoli (ex-Neptune Food and Wine) and Adrian Li (ex-Tokyo Tina), who are all about experimentation and fun. One of the most striking aspects of the high-ceilinged, stylish space is the double-storey dry-ageing cupboard, where the chefs are drying everything from whole ducks to sausages. The menu changes depending on the season, what produce is available and Li and Natoli's own whimsy, but it includes snacks, pasta, larger dishes and desserts. Your best bet is to leave it in Li and Napoli's capable hands – and share with your dining companions so you can try more delicious things. We loved the chicken liver parfait with prunes, porcini and miso; the cos lettuce, avocado, sorrel, spicy puffed farro and fairy shrimp; and the roasted golden beetroots with housemade duck ham and goat cheese pesto. Those dry-aged ducks don't just become ham, though – they are also available as either half or whole roasted birds. The sight of them in their glass-fronted dry-ageing cabinets might be enough to tempt you to splurge on them.

With plenty of corners to explore, Next is a fabulous place for both work and play. There are so many facilities, you can go from a full day of work to the gym to a luxe shower to pre-dinner snacks to a cocktail masterclass to a drink at the bar to a beautiful meal to a nightcap and then to bed, all in different spaces around the building. And those poor saps at street level will have no idea it's even there. 

Cassidy Knowlton stayed as a guest of Next Hotel.

Cassidy Knowlton
Written by
Cassidy Knowlton

Details

Address:
103 Little Collins Street
Melbourne
3000
Price:
$250-$755 per night
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