When we told local Melbournians that we were staying at the QT Hotel, we got some impressed looks. After all, the hotel has been voted Trip Advisor’s number one in the city, with a rooftop frequented by well-heeled CBD-workers and an impressive brasserie-style restaurant serving the likes of oysters, porterhouse steak and market cuts of fresh fish. As with the other QT hotels in Australia (and now New Zealand, with Queenstown newly opened), the interiors are very much inspired by the surroundings; button coat hooks pay homage to the 1920s Flinders Lane rag traders, while the building’s past life as a cinema is seen in filmstar print armchairs and spotlights. Even the staff are outfitted accordingly, wearing costumes designed by Janet Hine that reflect the theatrical nature of the hotel. Artworks are very much Australian-sourced, with one of the standout pieces being the ‘Readers Digest’ staircase with a book wall by Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro.
Another way that the hotel mimics its destination is through its substantial foodie offering, with The Cake Shop serving coffee and pastries downstairs, the Hot Sauce laneway bar serving Korean and Japanese dishes, and the aforementioned restaurant Pascale on the first floor and the QT Rooftop, not to mention considerable in-room dining options, from breakfast to late-night munchies. There’s even a Tonto Japanese knife shop, catering to both amateur and professional chefs looking for the best tools for their kitchen (the knives are sourced from 10th generation sword makers, naturally).
Located in the so-called ‘Paris’ end of Collins Street, the hotel is close to designer shops, buzzy restaurants and quirky bars, not to mention tourist attractions like the National Gallery of Victoria, Immigration Museum and Federation Square, making it a great base for exploring the city. There are also numerous guest services available at the touch of a button, including reservations and recommendations from the concierge, spare adaptors from reception, first aid advice and appointments, plus laundry and dry-cleaning, newspapers, printing and courier services. In fact, we challenge you to find something the QT can’t help you with…
Each of the 188 rooms is on a large scale, with high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and a fluid layout making the most of the space. Interiors are similar to the rest of the hotel, with wooden herringbone floors, white-washed walls, black brushed slate bathrooms with white tiles, chic tan leather sofas, quilted black wardrobes and pops of colour in lime-green pillows and curtains to break up all that restrained elegance. There are collaborations with local artists and artisans too, including the wallpaper inside the wardrobe, the upholstery of the chairs and the curtains, which were designed by Melbourne graffiti artist James Beatie. The bedroom includes a flat-screen television complete with in-room movies and all the usual channels, while there’s also a Nespresso coffee machine for all your caffeine-related needs. If you need something a little stronger, the mini-bar is well stocked with the likes of local Yarra Valley wines and Patron tequila, as well as any necessities you’ve forgotten, like a city guide, pack of cards or even tote bag. The bathroom has a roll-top bathtub plus handy table for a book (read: glass of wine), his and hers sinks and rainforest shower, as well as the best toiletries from Malin + Goetz and exquisitely soft towelling robes – none of this starchy, uncomfortable fabric seen in a lot of hotels these days. Despite being in the heart of the CBD, noise is kept to a minimum, and blackout curtains mean that any jetlag can be cured quite easily. While artwork in the rest of the hotel in unrestrained, it is kept to a minimum in your room, making for a cosier, more relaxing atmosphere.
Eating and Drinking
Offering three very different eating options, there’s something for every appetite and palate at QT. For something light, head to the Cake Shop on the ground floor, where you can pick up pastries, jaffles (that’s Aussie for toasted sandwich) and other light bites, as well as a coffee. If you’re heading home after a late bite and have the munchies, try the Hot Sauce laneways bar, where you can grab Korean and Japanese street food to stave off the hangover. But if you’re looking to make an occasion of it, then you need to reserve a table at Pascale, the hotel’s European-inspired bistro on the first floor.
Located at the top of the Yves Klein blue staircase featuring the Reader’s Digest artwork, you’ll find Pascale, with its large open kitchen. Seating 120 hungry customers, the restaurant has a menu designed by new Creative Food Director Robert Marchetti in collaboration with Executive Chef Paul Easson, taking inspiration from European cuisine with steaks, grilled fish and pasta dishes all appearing on the menu. We started our meal off with Pacific oysters, chased with a creamy truffle tortellini dish which practically melted in the mouth. Next up, we opted for the Scotch fillet steak and the seared tuna, accompanied by beer-soaked chips, which were so crispy and delicious that you could probably hear them in the next room. While we didn’t have the appetite to continue to dessert, we’ve heard great things, and will be partaking next time…