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Two people toasting drinks outside of a shiny silver Airstream caravan
Photograph: Emily Hess

The 12 best boutique hotels in Melbourne

Think outside the square and treat yourself to somewhere just a little (or a lot) luxe

Adena Maier
Written by
Adena Maier
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There are countless hotels to choose from in Melbourne, but if you're after something a bit different, you should book a stay at one of our city's boutique hotels. From Airstream caravans hoisted atop a rooftop car park to tiny 34-room hotels filled with kitschy lamps and furry rugs, these are the stays you'll want to write home about. 

If you're after something that exudes luxury, check out the best fancy hotels in Melbourne. Not looking to splash out? We've also rounded up Melbourne's best cheap hotels for those on a budget.

Boutique hotels in Melbourne

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Carlton
  • price 3 of 4

Zagame’s House 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. Plus, there’s the chic wine bar Lord Lygon right there on the ground floor. 

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • South Yarra
  • price 2 of 4

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.

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  • Hotels
  • Melbourne
  • price 3 of 4

Since opening in 2016, QT Melbourne has made quite a splash in the city. Its 188 rooms can be hard to come by, so if you’ve got your heart set on staying, book in advance. Rooms have a schmick 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. Imagine a millennial Patrick Bateman's apartment, without the hidden bodies. Book into a suite and you could find yourself in a freestanding bathtub, set on an enclosed pavilion overlooking one of Melbourne’s hipper rooftop bars.

  • Hotels
  • Melbourne

Walking down narrow Crossley Street you might be surprised to learn that a four-star hotel remains tucked away, neighbouring grungy, Mexican-inspired venue Bodega UndergroundA plush, rust-coloured carpet greets you to imitate the feeling of walking down a red carpet, so it should come as no surprise that the overarching theme of the hotel is the theatre. The sunlit rooftop is a highlight and has views of neighbouring apartment buildings. It’s no forty-level skyscraper, but its level-five views aren’t disrupted either. Lounge on the beachy daybeds or warm up by the contemporary fire pit. 

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  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Melbourne
  • price 3 of 4

With only 34 rooms, the Adelphi can afford to be a little playful in design. Kitschy lamps, furry rugs and not-very-functional-but-still-cute couches line the corners of rooms, with the centrepiece king-sized bed a comfy standout. The brightly hued rooms also come with 40-inch flat screens (with unlimited movies), spacious bathrooms with rainfall showerheads and minibars full of free snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the rooftop. The Adelphi’s rooftop pool is probably one of the most photographed pools in Melbourne, thanks to its cantilevering glass bottom, which juts out over Flinders Lane. 

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • South Yarra
  • price 4 of 4

Since opening its doors in 1989, the Como Hotel has become a hotspot for celebs – thanks to its location next to Channel Ten. Here at Time Out, we love the Como because of its eating-drinking-shopping location on Chapel Street. This five-star hotel features 111 rooms that blend chic, minimalist design with living spaces bathed in natural light, and guests also get access to the hotel's rooftop pool, sun deck, gymnasium and sauna. If you really want to splurge, book one of the three penthouses on offer. The loft-style Gem and Pearl penthouses feature spiral staircases that lead you up to a large spa bath and private sauna, while the opulent Gold penthouse has a balcony with a garden view and sumptuous decor in black and gold. They'll cost you, but it's worth it. 

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  • Hotels
  • Melbourne
  • price 2 of 4

The Flinders Street Station-adjacent hotel is a short walk to some of Melbourne’s most notable laneways and best bars, restaurants and boutiques. That said, make sure you save some time to experience everything DoubleTree has to offer, including cocktails in the Lobby Bar and grass-fed steak at the in-house eatery Platform 270. In 2019, the hotel completely revamped its 14th floor, creating seven spacious rooms with some of the best views you can get of the city.

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Prahran
  • price 2 of 4

The Cullen – located a two-minute walk from buzzing Chapel Street – was the first creation by the Art Series Hotel Group, whose hotels blend the visions of some of Australia’s most influential modern and contemporary artists with clever design and seamless service. Every room of the hotel, from the compact studio suite to the sprawling penthouse, pays tribute to Sydney artist Adam Cullen, thanks to a large private collection of his work. The option of hiring a Smart Car, bicycle, pram or scooter makes getting around easy, whether you’re exploring Melbourne’s trendy inner south or venturing further afield.

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  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Melbourne
  • price 3 of 4

This designer boutique hotel is housed in a building that was once a prestige car showroom. While the modern fit-out hits all the right notes, the Royce still carries an understated historical elegance, with a grand staircase, ornate ceilings and statement chandelier evoking a sense of theatrical drama in the lobby. Whether staying in the Standard Room or the Royal Suite, guests are assured five-star service every step of the way.

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Melbourne
  • price 2 of 4

This stylish boutique hotel offers four-star accommodation in Melbourne CBD in the heart of the Market Precinct, just 450 metres from Queen Victoria Market. Guests will also have free access to the Melbourne City Bath's fitness centre – including gym classes – and the hotel's sauna and swimming pool. If you get peckish, Jasper Kitchen offers indoor and outdoor dining as well as all-day in-room service. The restaurant serves modern cuisine featuring local produce from the Queen Victoria market, as well as a selection of wines and beers. 

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Lyall Hotel and Spa
  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • South Yarra
  • price 3 of 4

Nestled on leafy Murphy Street, The Lyall rates high on the Time Out radar for its classical rooms, award-winning day spa and intimate bar, where a gin and tonic gets the evening started in a grand way. Perfect for romantic weekends away or naughty mid-week stays, The Lyall takes comfort to great heights thanks to some of the best-designed and most stylish suites in the city.

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • St Kilda
  • price 2 of 4

It’s a pub, it’s a venue, it’s a bar, it’s a restaurant... And it's a hotel! 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. With chic rooms, a spa retreat, a pool and fabulous cuisine at the Circa dining room, it's hard to go past the indulgent offerings of the Prince.

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