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When I think of Melbourne travel I think boutique hotels. You know the ones I’m taking about, the little gems tucked away on inconspicuous laneways or roads just far enough from vibing main high-streets to feel like you’re in it but not actually on top of it…
More specifically, I think of the Art Series Hotel Group. These three 5-star hotels are like cool party guests – always nailing fashionably late but never the last to leave! They are synonymous with the edgy and artful nature of Melbourne, and while it’s difficult to choose between them, I’ve always been drawn to the vibrant and unexpected personality of The Cullen Hotel Melbourne, situated in the thriving inner-city suburb of Prahran, just off Chapel Street. So when I was flown down to Melbourne and invited to review it by Jetstar Australia, I jumped at the chance!
Having been on the scene for just over six years now, The Cullen Hotel Melbourne is a perfect example of a true small-scale boutique hotel that has stood the test of time. It still feels shiny and, well, shocking, but it’s outlasted any designer fads precisely because it shunned them from the very beginning. The Cullen remains relevant because it’s stayed true to its particular (and somewhat peculiar) theme: showcasing the slightly wacky artwork of Adam Cullen and building an edgy, yet luxe hotel around the pieces.
And I mean that literally. The hotel is a virtual gallery of the Archibald Prize winner’s cartoonish work, with 450 pieces throughout. Huge murals of nightmarish horses, human-like donkeys and Ned Kellys’ gone deliberately wrong snake through corridors and line the rooms – there’s even two life-size colourful cows in the lobby. It all sounds a bit Alice in Wonderland on steroids but I assure you it works. The Cullen errs on the side of cool rather than crass with a tasteful, minimalist vibe brought to the fore by the pared-down interiors and one of the most comfortably luxurious beds I’ve ever slept in!
I can’t decide whether the real standout is the beautifully designed and super buzzing Hutong Dumpling Bar housed on the ground floor, or the well-thought out mini-bar brimming with everything from booze to Panadol – everything one could ever want or need pre and post an awesome night out!
The Cullen Hotel Melbourne – The Lowdown
The Cullen Hotel Melbourne – Need to Know
119, including eight suites.
11am, but flexible subject to availability. Check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from AU$184.55, excluding tax at 10 per cent.
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Stefanie was a guest of The Cullen Hotel courtesy of Jetstar Airways – Thanks Jetstar. All opinions are her own.