Stepping into QT Melbourne is like entering a futuristic design space. All your senses are engaged at once — from the double-height lobby featuring a cool array of clouds on the ceiling to a quirky brass reception and the hit of contemporary art that envelops you. To the left is a towering stack of old paperbacks that forms a section of the wall, which I later discover to be an artwork titled Double Horizon by Sydney artists Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro. It's just one of the many installations in this art-loving accommodation. Each QT hotel is inspired by its setting, and the Melbourne address takes references from its lively rag trade in the early 1900s and the French fashion influence at the 'Paris' end of Collins Street.
Located where the old Greater Union Cinema once was and steps away from the famed Bourke Street Mall, QT Melbourne is refreshing, oh-so-different, and one that will be talked about for months on end. Melbourne CBD is abuzz with staid establishments owned by big hotel chains and it's been awhile since Melbourne welcomed a new boutique hotel that's sophisticated, fun-loving and executed with finesse. Designed by Angelo Candalepas, this is also QT Hotels' first property built from the ground up.
The check-in process is swift and idiot-proof, and I'm now in the elevator headed up to my room. Besides a captivating floral artwork that lights up the dim space, the other unique feature is that this interactive lift comes with its own conversationalist. Yes, not just a monotone recording that spouts "Doors opening!", but a sultry voice that speaks a few languages, delivers a goodnight greeting, and cheekily announces that you look better from behind.
There are 188 industrial-chic rooms in this modernist building. Boasting a calm elegance and a beautiful hipster-meets-luxury feel, you're greeted by light oak timber floors, leather furniture and black metal lighting when you walk in. Each room is also dressed in a bold colour scheme with well-considered touches, such as graffiti-inspired rugs to wallpaper in the wardrobe. All beds are custom-made with a gel-topped mattress. Japanese-inspired sliding doors open up to the bathroom, where herringbone tiles and Malin+Goetz amenities await.
At sundown, there's nowhere better to be than QT Melbourne's rooftop bar. The vibes are distinctly New York City — picture plush couches and delicious cocktails with office buildings glittering in the distance.
Once you're topped up, head down to Pascale Bar & Grill for dinner. Thanks to creative food director Robert Marchetti and QT Melbourne's executive chef Paul Easson, the fare at this Euro bistro is deliciously hearty. With a josper oven and a bespoke charcoal grill in the kitchen, their wood-fired meats are a must-try as they are cooked to absolute perfection. Dessert here is equally divine, with Birds Milk being a winner for its taste and theatrical experience. Crack open the floating meringue and you'll find a burst of almond, raspberry, and milk anglais beneath.
Not ready to retire for the night? Pop in at laneway bar Hot Sauce, which serves up Korean and Japanese street food, Asian-inspired cocktails and rare Japanese liquors till the wee hours of the morning. This hip hole-in-the-wall is part of the hotel and situated next to Tanto, a high-end Japanese knife store.
QT Melbourne has certainly showed the rest of the city how hotels should be done. Despite its eclectic features, they still retain the service and intimacy any top-notch establishment should be about. You'll be back for seconds — whether for that dreamy bed, cheeky tipple or a meal to remember. As their talking elevator would say, "See you later, sweet cheeks!"
QT Melbourne is located at 133 Russell Street, Melbourne. To make a booking, click here.