Sumary of Australia’s newest Hilton is very un-Hilton like:
- Five years no less since it decamped from Melbourne, the Hilton’s eponymous flagship brand is back with a bang as audible as a late night guest room door slam and, what’s more, in a showstopper building with which to showcase its comeback.
- The 244-room Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street, which opened earlier this year, was commissioned to satisfy the pre-pandemic international tourism boom, as well as the Victorian capital’s event-rich domestic appeal.
- Unfortunate timing or not, the world’s most recognisable hotel brand’s stunning new establishment spectacularly draws together Melbourne’s uncertain present-day with its decidedly illustrious past.THE LOCATION Although called Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street, the hotel in fact faces the less romantic-sounding Bourke Street, close to the centre of the CBD and its shopping heart with free city trams running regularly right out the front door.
- However, the rather discreet reception is not on Bourke Street but instead secreted away on Little Queen Street, opposite a street-art style mural reflected in a series of external swivelled bronze panels fronting the petite lobby.THE SPACE Contrasting the Melbourne trend for contemporary, and at times way out hotels such as the W Melbourne, Next and Ovolo South Yarra, the Hilton Melbourne sits on the site of Victoria’s first synagogue and is chiefly housed in its successor, the early 1930s Equity Chambers building.
- Brilliantly designed and restored by the architectural firm Bates Smart, the modern, 16-storey tower is, commendably, set well back from the original inter-war Romanesque-style chambers.
- The heritage gem, the erstwhile home of the Equity Trustees Company as well as the chambers of city law firms, is sympathetically connected with the tower by a glamorous, lower-rise atrium-style space.
- This houses Luci, the excellent in-house restaurant, as well as the Douglas Club, a snug 1930s-style art deco cocktail bar, spread over two rooms and facing Bourke Street.
- Here the mere act of moving to from the hotel’s heritage and modern wings is a little like entering and exiting Melbourne’s past and present.