Classicism And Convenience Unite At Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street

Classicism And Convenience Unite At Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street

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When one of Victoria’s longest-established firms, Equity Trustees, commissioned Oakley & Parkes to construct its headquarters in 1930, the behemoth provider of executor and trustee services gifted Melbourne one of the city’s most thoroughly impressive buildings.

Meticulously detailed with an appropriately grand entrance and grandiose main chamber – with tree-trunk-thick Corinthian columns and magnificent marble floors – the Inter-war Romanesque meets Gothic construction has always been the most sightly feature of Bourke Street, and a fitting location for the return of the flagship Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand to Melbourne.

Credit: Sean Fennessey

It would have been a shame to leave such an exquisite building vacant any longer, which is why its gloriously grand past has been restored and transformed into Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street – an awe-inspiring statement from one of the world’s most iconic hotel brands, and a swift reminder that there’s singular magic to heritage-minded hospitality.

Magic that can’t be captured by new builds and lesser conversions – 472 Bourke St poses as an articulate old dame quietly observing the changes that have transformed Melbourne over the years. It’s a shining example of why the hotel industry always seems to take such big, bold risks with heritage buildings, bowing to heritage limitations in order to present accommodation that is unique, charming, and unable to be replicated in modern construction.

Credit: Sean Fennessey

It’s been years since the Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand has stretched its considerably lofty legs in Melbourne. Working with Bates Smart and heritage architects Lovell Chen, the brand that has become synonymous with high-end accommodations is now firmly imprinted on Bourke Street, welcoming guests in a striking reception off the adjacent Little Queen St.

More Than A Heritage Facade

An adaptive reuse project as ambitious as Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street wouldn’t be nearly as solid without a deft sense of balance. The art is in modernising the building’s heritage features to illustrate its unique story while also adding a new, distinctive chapter that sketches Hilton’s renowned hospitality and five-star comfort on top. Balance is then the key to heritage hotels. Balance is the reason many don’t always match up to their promise, either skewing too far towards the heritage or too far towards modernity.

Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street sits comfortably in the middle of this imagined dichotomy, marrying the building’s original purpose and abstracting that into a comprehensive, relentlessly efficient guest experience that’s seamless from check-in to check-out, leaning on modern technologies and creature comforts, without compromising on the immersive guest experience such heritage can create.

Vibrant, modern art is set against those character features, which include a sightly steel and glass cabinet in the concierge lounge that’s filled with mementos that even pre-date the Equity Trustees Company when the site was used the house Melbourne’s very first synagogue.

Those aforementioned Corinthian columns have been treated with a pristine white scheme, although one still displays the original paint – golds, and greens – that was used when this chamber was bustling with solicitors. It’s a great example of how generously detailed Hilton’s transformation has been while paying tribute to the grand building it resides in.

Guests checking into the 244-room hotel are not only wrapped in Hilton’s inimitable offering but are in a prime location for just about everything worth doing around Melbourne. The Bourke Street location is just a short walk from Queen Victoria Market, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Regent Theatre, and Melbourne Town Hall. For anyone not already familiar with Melbourne CBD, just know that the hotel is just about right in the beating heart of town.

Credit: Sean Fennessey

Holidaymakers have an easy base for urban exploration, while business travelers can maximize the short stroll to a selection of Melbourne’s top cafes and eateries – notably Dukes Coffee Roasters, The Hardware Club, and trusty Tipo OO for one of the best Italian meals in the country. Like all great hotels, however, there’s just enough to keep you from walking out the doors or heading back early to make the most of Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street’s amenities.

The Douglas Club, positioned across the two front rooms on either side of the Bourke Street entrance, is the hotel’s stately cocktail bar open daily from 4 pm til’ late. It too pays homage to the Art Deco stylings of the building with a mixture of plush velvet banquettes and dimly lit tables to conjure a sense of serene privacy, while the roof is adorned with a magic eye style lighting installation celebrating the city. Top-shelf cocktails served in upscale glassware and premium bar snacks will satisfy even the most astute boozehound. 

Signature restaurant Luci is located in the building’s grand hall and could easily serve as a set piece for a Goodfellas remake. The charming space exudes a real sense of occasion and elevates rustic plates of pasta and contemporary Italian mains with a fine dining twist. Notable highlights include the Fregola with Lobster emulsion, Macedon duck breast, and delicate Valronha Manjari delice. The hall also hosts guests for breakfast with a bountiful à la carte menu and coffee by Dukes Coffee Roasters – who also make the ‘parachute’ coffee bags offered in all rooms.

If These Walls Could Talk

Whether you’re staying in the hotel’s entry-level rooms or its heritage suites, clearly Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street has paid equal amounts of attention to where guests lay their heads. The rich and elaborate details of each room are lifted by a generous sense of space with considered seating and stately bathrooms. The warm tones, soft furnishings, and original features feel at home in such a prestigious setting. It’s a sophisticated design in which nothing feels forced or kitsch, making it a suitable choice for both leisure and business travelers. 

The highest-category room, the King Master Suite, presents no less than 55-square-metres of privacy. Sensitive to the room’s original architecture, this suite is the kind of if-these-walls-could-talk moment that makes superior accommodation. The room used to be a boardroom and office for the firm’s legal fraternity, undoubtedly the former scene of low-key debauchery scrubbed up and turned into a glowing luxury hotel room with timber paneling, decorative moldings, and cast bronze grills below casement windows.

A Golden Age Renaissance

Long before boutique lifestyle hotels started popping up around the world, hotels were treated with a sense of occasion that favored the social elite. While Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street has a contemporary sense of accessibility and value, there’s still the sense that loyalty actually means something in a hotel like this.

Credit: Sean Fennessey

As such, Hilton Honors members would be able to milk the most of their stay at Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street, with access to the elegant Queen Adelaide lounge reserved for Hilton Honors Diamond members, and guests staying in higher-category rooms. The exclusive hotel lounge, dressed in timber paneling and curved wall lights, is the kind of statement that ensures old-school hospitality remains as timeless as the building.

Even if you’re not yet a Diamond member, Hilton Honors members of all levels can still access a raft of features to ensure their stay is as seamless as possible. Stays booked with a Hilton Honors number will load automatically into the Hilton Honors app where guests will be able to preference room types and floor heights, make bookings, and even check-in without needing to visit reception. Through the ‘Digital Key’ feature, keys are generated digitally and sent directly to the app, where a swift tap at your door will have you transitioning from taxi to Tipo in no time. 

A Sense Of Occasion

From the old barrister’s offices brandished with gold lettering on glass doors, unsurprisingly transformed into elaborate meeting rooms to the delicious grandeur of Luci and the all-class artistry of The Douglas Club, every inch of Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street drips with the kind of confidence this building must have been full of back in the day.

If you’re looking for a stylish and convenient stay, that has successfully transformed one of Melbourne’s most interesting buildings, it’s hard to think of anything but Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street now.

This article is sponsored by The Hilton. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Boss Hunting.

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