Lux Nomade checks into Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street
The concept of the ‘confluence of old and new’ is thrown around in the discourse of design, but in reference to Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street – it rings true. Housed within a heritage-listed building that towers above one of Melbourne’s urban laneways, the elegant new hotel retains the global hotel chain’s standard of luxury, with a contemporary edge.
In the marble lobby, one wall has been replaced by a striking glass artwork which looks out onto a colourful mural, while the ground floor and mezzanine layers of the historic building have been meticulously designed through a partnership with Sydney-based interior designers Bates Smart.
Honouring the history and heritage of the Equity Chambers building – which was originally built in 1930 – has guided the ethos and approach of Hilton Melbourne LQS. Across the 244 rooms and suites, modern design elements complement heritage features with handsome upholstery, marble and brass detailing and floor-to-ceiling windows that showcase the city’s urban expanse.
The dining offering has taken a similar modern-influenced, old-world approach: with an Italian restaurant and 1930’s inspired cocktail lounge both paying homage to the Melbourne of decades gone by. Luci, the hotel’s on-site restaurant, is an ode to the Italian immigrant communities whose cuisine has formed a major cornerstone of Melbourne’s foodscape. The menu at this refined Italian restaurant spans polenta fritti with mussels and whipped bottarga to tortellini with roast duck and pancetta – all served on marble tables beneath towering ornate ceilings. The Douglas Club – a more dimly lit, intimate space – celebrates the cocktail lounge culture of the 1930s. Order a creatively crafted cocktail with a burnt orange and wattleseed ice cream sandwich, or keep it traditional with a well-balanced martini and a dozen oysters, then retreat to your room to watch the city sparkle beneath you.
It was late in the evening by the time we arrived, but there was still a quietly exciting buzz about the hotel. We’d booked the Celebration Stay, and in our room were greeted with a bottle of Australian sparkling wine on ice, a plate of macarons, a bowl of fresh fruit and a gift pack of designer toiletries from Hunter Lab. These tasteful touches served as a welcome reminder that, though Hilton is an international brand (with more than 575 hotels across six continents), this hotel is a very Australian iteration.
Although the room wasn’t notably expansive, the use of space was an impeccable combination of intelligence and luxury: a living space with two tables, a chaise lounge, and a well-designed shelf space housing a fridge, kettle and coffee machine, a partially separated bedroom dominated by a king size bed backed by a royal blue headboard, and a stone walled bathroom complete with double sinks, a brass raindance shower and a deep bathtub stocked with more Hunter Lab toiletries.
We dismissed the TVs (there were two – both 55-inch, Chromecast-enabled and seamlessly built into the design of the space) in favour of sleep, and woke feeling deeply rested, with Melbourne’s streets already thrumming busily (though soundlessly) beneath us.
Breakfast, which takes place in the imposing, high-ceilinged space that houses Luci, was a notably high-end affair. Not surprising given the high standards of the hotel across the board, but still a remarkable feat for such a large and relatively young operation. Omelettes are made to order and cooked to perfection, and the buffet – which is presented in a way that feels more like a deli experience than the typical hotel buffet feeding frenzies – includes gluten-free protein balls and dainty pots of bircher muesli alongside more traditional (but equally excellent) pastries. There are also cold meats, muffins, colourful doughnuts, pots of nuts and dried fruits, cereals that span cornflakes to berry-packed granola, and hot options for every dietary requirement.
After a (light, somewhat pastry-impeded) workout in the state-of-the-art fitness centre, we headed out for the day – an easy task with both the National Art Gallery of Victoria and the Queen Victoria Markets less than fifteen minutes away on foot.
Before we left though, we decided it was right to honour the carefully redesigned space with a similar commitment to heritage and tradition. So, since it was a celebration, we ordered champagne and clinked our glasses to good health.
Package offerings at hotels can sometimes feel like a tired attempt at marketing, but the celebration stay at Hilton Melbourne LQS was exactly what it said on the tin – pulled off with a tasteful, perfectly professional finesse.