Just over a year ago the now widely acclaimed designer hotel brand, QT Hotels & Resorts, opened QT Melbourne in the CBD; it has since become one of the most popular in the world’s most livable city, and for very good reason. Not only does this remain a top-choice for tourists heading to Melbourne, but for locals each and every day thanks to the hotel’s stylishly stunning rooftop bar, which on any given night is loaded with discerning Melburnians enjoying a tipple or two set against the city’s skyline. There’s certainly a lot going on here, and it’s the energetic culture and remarkable sense of space that makes QT a hotel fully deserving of its envied reputation.
As with all other QT properties, the hotel is completely tied to its location. QT Sydney has a sleek and sultry take on the brand with its dark hues and vintage style; QT Gold Coast is flowing with a bright and upbeat summer-ready aesthetic; and QT Melbourne pays homage to the affluent, Parisian-tinged past of its immediate surrounds. Of course there’s going to be plenty demanded from a QT property based in what is arguably the creative heart of Australia, and those standards are met, and in many ways exceeded, by the open and comforting design which defines the hotel.
The eclectic lobby and its lush furniture brings a charming atmosphere of intimacy despite its grand, theatrical gesture – the building housed a Greater Union cinema up until 2013 after all – with smartly positioned furniture creating an almost modular collection of multiple spaces. The bespoke furniture is all plush and colourful, looking particularly striking when contrasted with the glowing copper-clad entrance doors that welcome guests off Russel Street. It’s surely in-line with what an “industrial chic” design brief would look like in modern-day Melbourne, which puts it on a par with Sydney’s “moody fashion house” aesthetic but just at the brighter and more vibrant end of the scale.
Moving art pieces, an integrated cake shop, a warm and welcoming reception desk, and a spiral-shaped neon-lit piece hanging above a brassy stairway complete the dramatic scene. Those stairs lead straight to the hotel’s signature restaurant, Pascale Bar & Grill, which is fashioned as a European bistro with mood-lighting and an energetic open kitchen. The entire floor is dedicated to the restaurant, which features a substantial wine list and some excellent options like the lush spanner crab cakes, winter fish pie, Normandy lamb chops, and a nine-deep dessert list that includes the theatrical Birds Milk – a beautifully detailed disc of floating meringue flecked with almond, raspberry, full cream milk anglaise and caramel sauce. The a la carte breakfast here is just as good, with stand-outs including the truffle scrambled eggs, generous farmhouse-style breakfast plate, and smashed avo on toast with a 62 degree egg, feta and chilli.
Once in the elevator heading up to one of the 188 designer guest rooms, don’t be surprised to hear a soothing voice-over mouth-off sassy phrases, a move away from the audible Sydney elevators which plays music based on how many people are in the lift (like De La Soul’s “Me, Myself & I” if there’s only one person). “If you walk out that door, don’t come back”, my lift tells me as I hop out to find my Executive King room.
The room itself, much like the lobby, is designed with a smart sense of space. There’s a grand designer warehouse look to it while a large window bathes the centered king size bed with natural light. The bed, as large as it is, feels like a small blip in the room because of how well the space is used; it’s also supremely comfortable, the type which you can sink into with a soft texture, no doubt credited to its cloud-like gel pillow top.
The bed is surrounded by bold metal lighting while a gorgeous vintage leather wardrobe sits nearby, close to the window and opposite a small corner set-up of a comfortable couch and reasonably sized table. The suspended television faces diagonally opposite the bed, but that’s far from the extent of the room. Interesting modern artworks focusing on texture and material give the room plenty of character while a long working desk sits behind the bed head, glowing with an illuminated mini-bar that is consistent with other QT properties. QT’s mini-bar is playful and well-stocked with everything from mini games and snacks to emergency bow-ties and artisan spirits, complemented by a Nespresso machine and excellent selection of Tippity tea.
A portable Bluetooth Bose speaker replaces the now-outdated plug-in speaker expected from most modern hotels. It’s a small detail, sure, but one which speaks to QT’s on-the-pulse approach to boutique, experience-focused accommodation.
The bathroom is certainly no after-thought either; a spacious slate-tiled wet-style room with a rain shower and free-standing bathtub which is luxurious and deep. The use of premium amenities – Malin+Goetz – is yet another nice touch to really round out this room’s worth.
Not much needs to be said about QT’s rooftop bar; it’s undoubtedly the hotel’s biggest ticket when it comes to tethering itself to Melbourne’s vibrant social life. This place is buzzing regularly, beautifully designed with ample space given to the breezy outdoor area. Don’t be surprised if you spot a couple of high-profile guests staking out a reserved table, sitting right next to a more casual crowd digging into the bar’s nicely curated cocktail list.
Next to the hotel is an attached Japanese-Korean laneway bar, Hot Sauce, and a shop that’s entirely dedicated to premium Japanese knives. It all adds up to a hotel experience that’s easily one of the best in the country right now, and with the QT brand known for never resting on laurels, I think it’s a safe bet that all that acclaim is just the beginning for this property.
Address: 133 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Contact: (03) 8636 8800
The writer stayed one night as a guest of QT Melbourne
Feature image supplied.