Looking for somewhere to stay in Melbourne? For some people luxury is all they want from a hotel, the more stars the better. For others it's the bottom line that interests them, or maybe all they care about is the location.
But there's also the group of hotel hunters that want somewhere just a little bit different, somewhere with a story or unique selling point – somewhere boutique. Sound like you? Fortunately Melbourne's boutique hotel scene is heaving with interesting stays available across the city.
Boutique hotels in Melbourne
For over two the Como decades it’s been the grande dame of Chapel Street, with stylish rooms and an effortless, undeniable charm. It’s also a haunt for celebrities (Channel Ten is next door, so it’s the obvious place for the network to plonk visiting VIPs) – especially since it boasts the jacuzzi’n’grand piano’n’private terrace Como Suite. Now that is fancy.
Close to the action and about as stylish as it gets, the Adelphi Hotel is high on our list of boutique stays. In the heart of the city on Flinders Lane, the Adelphi is a little bit '60s but without the kitsch factor. Do yourself a favour and try the dessert degustation at Om Nom after a dip in the hotel's rooftop pool.
Light, bright and filled with pops of colour the Jasper Hotel makes simplicity its greatest strength. From the rooms to sunlit internal courtyard, the Jasper puts on an effortless display of minimalist chic without losing any warmth. Staying mid week? Forgo dinner at a local restaurant in favour of street eats at the Queen Victoria Night Market next door.
There's something nostalgic about the Crossley Hotel. Tucked away on Little Bourke Street, the hotel sits squarely on the budget end of the boutique hotel spectrum, but it doesn't compromise on comfort. If you've got time to burn check out the hotel's mini library and reading nook, and under no circumstances leave without spending an evening – or almost all night – at Bodega Underground next door.
QT's 188 rooms can be hard to come by, so if you’ve got your heart set on staying, book in advance. You’ll find a large selection of mostly digital art flickering throughout the hotel, and rooms have an orient-meets-Wall Street vibe, with timber floorboards, glamorous en suites and QT’s “please-don’t-make-me-get-up-I-don’t-want-to-get-up” gel-topped beds. Make sure you also have a wine and a snack or meal at five-star wine bar Embla.
We’re not going to make assumptions about the sorts of people who read Time Out – other than that they’re urbane, sophisticated and incredibly good-looking, obviously – but we feel we’d remiss in not mentioning that the Ovolo has a free minibar in every one of its sleek, contemporary rooms. Yep, you read that correctly. Free. Mini. Bar.
Adam Cullen is no longer with us, but his legacy lives on in this designer hotel built around 450-odd pieces of his work. It’s in Prahran, right in the market district, with restaurants, bars and cafés left and right – and there are two important bits of advice to offer. One is that you should request a balcony room, since they don’t all have them and they’re pretty damn awesome, and two is that the food downstairs at HuTong is superb (do not miss the dumplings).
The Olsen is not just a hotel; it’s a living showcase of its titular artist. John Olsen’s work adorns every room, which explains why the decorations are otherwise on the clean, stylish and white side – they’re never going to compete with the works on display. The rooms are large and beautiful and the South Yarra location oh-so-chic. If you’ve ever wanted to stay in a luxury art gallery, this is as close as the dream gets.
Like the abovementioned Cullen and the Olsen, this South Kilda Road gem is part of the Art Series Hotel Group, this time based around the work of Charles Blackman. The rooms are lovely, sure, but the bar downstairs is amazing and even has its own very swanky bakery. But the art’s the focus, and rightly so.
Though Hotel Lindrum is less than 20 years old, the building itself dates back to the early 1900s, when it was owned by a family of billiard champions. Throughout the hotel old school meets new as the building's original architecture and fittings clash wonderfully with recent refurbishments.
Opened in May 2019 after an $18 million renovation, Zagame’s House is a chic addition to Melbourne’s boutique hotel scene and features all the plusses that make a staycation worth it: plush king-sized beds, velour armchairs, a rainfall shower, a decked-out minibar and minimalist Scandi furnishings that seem straight out of a Pinterest collection. Zagame’s has probably one of the best-stocked minibars in town, by the way. There’s Espresso Martini in a can, beers from locals like Moon Dog Brewery, sodas from Bickford and Sons and hand-selected Everleigh Bottling Co, cocktails.
Notel is a collection of six luxury ‘70s Airstream caravans sitting on top of a car park on Flinders Lane. Whoever said we’d reached peak Melbourne clearly did not anticipate this. Launched in 2016, Notel had been two years in the making. The interiors are surprisingly spacious. The white lights, clean, curved lines and pink cushions lend a calming retro futurist aesthetic, and the room definitely earns its five stars: expect a queen size bed (with bamboo sheets!) a free mini bar with Paul Louis bubbles, gourmet chocolate and chips, premium bathroom products and a private deck.
It’s a pub! It’s a venue! It’s a hotel! It’s a bar! It’s a restaurant! It’s basically the most versatile building in St Kilda, given that it encompasses most of the block and contains the Prince of Wales Hotel, Circa, the Aurora Spa Retreat and the Prince Bandroom. See, developers, we can all get along. It also manages to straddle that cool, inner-city vibe with luxury suites – and the Deck has gorgeous views across Port Phillip Bay.
OK, let’s be clear: the Lyall is pricey. It’s also gorgeous and conveniently close to the exquisite shopping of Toorak Road and Chapel Street (and if you’re popping over to do some South Yarra shopping, you can probably afford to spoil yourself a bit on digs). The Champagne Bar is intimate and charming, and the hotel boasts an award-winning day spa as well, if you’re really in a pampering mood.
There’s a sweeping staircase in the lobby and a quiet, understated elegance to this hotel on the outskirts of the CBD, formerly a Rolls-Royce showroom. Colours are muted, marble is shiny and the mezzanine rooms especially nicely appointed. It’s a perfect morning stroll to the Royal Botanic Gardens, and its in-house restaurant Dish has become quite the destination in its own right.
Other places to pamper yourself in Melbourne
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