Classicism and convenience unite at the Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street
When one of Victoria’s oldest companies, Equity Trustees, commissioned Oakley & Parkes to build its headquarters in 1930, the executor and trustee services giant gave Melbourne one of the most impressive in the city.
Meticulously detailed with a fittingly grand entrance and awe-inspiring main chamber – with thick tree-trunk Corinthian columns and magnificent marble floors – interwar Romanesque construction meets Gothic construction has always been the hallmark the most visual of Bourke Street, and a fitting location for the return of the flagship Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand to Melbourne.
It would have been a shame to leave such an exquisite building vacant any longer, which is why its glorious past has been restored and transformed into the Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street – an impressive statement from one of the world’s most iconic hotel brands, and a quick reminder that there is a singular magic in heritage-conscious hospitality.
A magic that cannot be captured by new builds and lesser conversions – 472 Bourke St presents itself as an articulate old lady quietly observing the changes that have transformed Melbourne over the years. It is a shining example of why the hospitality industry always seems to take such big and bold risks with heritage buildings, bending to heritage boundaries in order to present accommodation that is unique, charming and impossible to replicate in construction. modern.
It’s been years since the Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand stretched its considerably tall legs in Melbourne. Working with Bates Smart and heritage architects Lovell Chen, the brand that has become synonymous with high-end accommodation is now firmly established on Bourke Street, welcoming guests to a striking reception close to Little Queen St.
More than a heritage façade
An adaptive reuse project as ambitious as the Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street wouldn’t be as strong without a keen sense of balance. The art is to modernize the building’s heritage features to illustrate its unique history while adding a distinctive new chapter that outlines Hilton’s renowned hospitality and five-star comfort. Balance is then the key to historic hotels. Balance is why many don’t always deliver on their promises, either leaning too much towards heritage or too much towards modernity.
The Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street sits comfortably in the middle of this imagined dichotomy, espousing the building’s original purpose and abstracting from it into a comprehensive and relentlessly efficient guest experience that is seamless from check-in to check-out, s… leveraging modern technologies and creature comforts, without compromising the immersive customer experience that such heritage can create.
Vibrant modern art is contrasted with these characterful features, which include a steel and glass cabinet in the concierge’s lounge that’s filled with memorabilia that even predates the Equity Trustees Company when the site was was used the very first synagogue in Melbourne.
Those aforementioned Corinthian columns have been treated to a pristine white scheme, although one still displays the original paintwork – golds and greens – that was used when this chamber was manned by barristers. It’s a great example of how generously detailed Hilton’s transformation has been while paying homage to the grand building in which it resides.
Guests checking into the 244-room hotel are not only enveloped in Hilton’s inimitable offering, but are in prime location for just about everything worth doing around Melbourne. The Bourke Street location is within walking distance of the Queen Victoria Market, National Gallery of Victoria, Regent Theater and Melbourne City Hall. For those not already familiar with Melbourne CBD, just know that the hotel is pretty much right in the beating heart of the city.
Leisure travelers have an easy base for urban exploration, while business travelers can maximize the short walk to a selection of Melbourne’s best cafes and restaurants, including Dukes Coffee Roasters, The Hardware Club and the trusty Tipo OO for l one of the best Italian dishes in the country. . Like all great hotels, however, there’s just enough to keep you from leaving or returning early to make the most of the Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street’s amenities.
The Douglas Club, located in the two front rooms on either side of the Bourke Street entrance, is the hotel’s stately cocktail bar open daily from 4 p.m. until late. It also pays homage to the building’s Art Deco style with a mix of plush velvet banquettes and dimly lit tables to create a sense of serene intimacy, while the roof is adorned with a magical eye-style lighting installation celebrating the city. Premium cocktails served in premium glassware and premium bar snacks will satisfy even the most astute alcoholic.
signature restaurant Lucia is located in the great lobby of the building and could easily serve as the setting for a Goodfellas remake. The charming space exudes a real sense of occasion and elevates rustic pasta plates and contemporary Italian fare with a gourmet flair. Notable highlights include Fregola with lobster emulsion, Macedonian duck breast and the delicate Valronha Manjari delight. The room also welcomes guests for breakfast with an extensive a 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 stay in the hotel’s entry-level rooms or its heritage suites, it’s clear the Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street has paid the same attention to where guests lay their heads. The rich and elaborate details of each room are enhanced by a generous sense of space with thoughtful seating and stately bathrooms. Warm tones, upholstery and original features feel at home in such a prestigious setting. It’s a sophisticated design where nothing feels forced or kitschy, making it a suitable choice for both leisure and business travelers.
The highest category room, the King Master Suite, features no less than 55 square meters of privacy. Sensitive to the room’s original architecture, this suite is the kind of moment if these walls could talk that makes for a premium accommodation. The room was once a boardroom and office for the corporate legal fraternity, no doubt the former scene of low-key debauchery cleaned up and transformed into a glowing luxury hotel room with wood paneling, decorative moldings and cast bronze grilles under the casement windows.
A revival of the golden age
Long before lifestyle boutique hotels started popping up around the world, hotels were treated with a sense of occasion that favored the social elite. While the Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street has a contemporary sense of accessibility and value, there’s still a sense that loyalty actually means something at a hotel like this.
So Hilton Honors members could make 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 upgraded rooms. The hotel’s exclusive lounge, dressed in wood paneling and curved wall sconces, is the kind of statement that ensures old-fashioned 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 host of features to ensure their stay is as smooth as possible. Stays booked with a Hilton Honors number will automatically load into the Hilton Honors app where guests can choose room types and floor heights, make reservations and even check in without having to visit the front desk. With the ‘Digital Key’ feature, keys are digitally generated and sent directly to the app, where a simple tap on your door will get you from Taxi to Tipo in no time.
A sense of occasion
From former lawyers’ offices brandished with gilt lettering on glass doors, unsurprisingly transformed into elaborate meeting rooms of Luci’s delightful grandeur and Douglas Club’s classy artistry, every inch of Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street drips of the kind of confidence this building must have been full of back in the day.
If you’re looking for a stylish and practical stay, which has successfully transformed one of Melbourne’s most interesting buildings, it’s hard to think of anything other than the Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street now.