St Jerome's: the Hotel

Things to do Melbourne
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Camping has never looked this good

The very idea of St Jerome’s: the Hotel, one of Jerome Borazio’s stable of cool venues, is exciting: as patron saint of unloved spaces, Borazio has converted Melbourne Central’s rooftop into the camping ground of dreams.

Borazio covered the concrete roof with astro turf, installed 20 bell tents (they look like little spiegeltents and are big enough to stand up in) and put decking out in front of each tent, where Acapulco chairs are arranged for kicking back and taking in the view. Palm trees and the way the tents are pitched create privacy from your neighbours.

The tents are next-level camping glamour. There’s aircon, heating and electric blankets for those worried about the clime. Add to that a comfy queen-sized bed, fluffy blankies, superior thread count sheets, soft lighting, magazines, a Samsung tablet hooked up to Stan, Origins facial products and on-trend nail polishes, and it's starting to look less like somewhere to camp out and more somewhere to live.

Camp ground amenties are traditionally pretty rough, but there are sufficient standalone ensuites at the Hotel to ensure that you never have to wait for a shower. Plus, they’re heated, well lit and roomy enough to get dressed without getting your clothes wet.

Further mimicking the camping ground concept, there’s a General Store, but instead of supplying the milk and paper, there are cupcakes from Cupcake Central and cocktails later in the piece.

There’s actually no need to leave the roof during your stay, but treats are provided to entice you to explore town, including pirate loot, which can be traded in for a beverage and taco at Mesa Verde, and an old-school wooden bowling pin to exchange for a couple of games at Strike.

Permit palaver has meant that St Jerome’s: the Hotel can’t cook on site, but sliders from Grill’d and a fantasy ice cream from Gelato Messina (who knew iced confectionary could look like a tin of spaghetti and meatballs?) are brought in for dinner and delivered to your tent. The next morning, a giant breaky (with quality coffee and tea) is brought on a tray to your tent flap to ease you into the day.

Night-time is when the Hotel comes into its own – you’ll daydream about the stars, the lights and the view for a long time after – and there’s a kid-like thrill in being tucked up warm while the city hums below. The only cautionary note is that the nature of the enterprise means that it’s noisy and light. But fair’s fair, this is not a five star hotel: irrespective of how glamorous, you’re staying in a tent on top of a mall after all. Note to punters: BYO ear plugs and eye mask and you’ll be out like a light and camping will never be the same again.

By: Meg Crawford

Posted:

Venue name: St Jerome's: the Hotel
Contact:
Address: Roof top
Cnr LaTrobe & Swanston St
3000
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