Let’s come clean: there’s always something delicious about discovering a secret. It’s like being accepted into a secret society, so exclusive that you need to be a member to actually experience the best bits – and that’s the magic of Melbourne. Everything here from quirky little cafes and rare vintage findings to unsung street performers are usually tucked away in hidden alleys. So if you think that you need a local insider to have access to these precious discoveries, then you got it right.
When venturing down inconspicuous laneways, you will stumble upon exceptional gems unseen from the main street such as the Adelphi Hotel, which is one of the locals’ favourite boutique hotels in the city. With its deceptively small entrance, the Adelphi Hotel on Flinders Lane is easy to miss. The hotel has embraced the city’s obsession with secrets that it cheekily tempts guests and passers-by on what’s happening inside using a two metre-long glass end on its facade cantilevered over Flinders Lane, beckoning them to peek closer and quickly inspire them to join in.
The original Adelphi building was built in 1938, acted as a home to soft goods and garments business. But in 1989, architects Denton Corker Marshall bought the warehouse and converted it into a 34-room boutique hotel with a private rooftop club and ground floor restaurant. The hotel immediately captured the attention of the country, and like they said “the rest is history”. However, in February 2013, Adelphi Hotel was forced into liquidation, only to be snapped up by an entrepreneurial team consisting of Dion Chandler, Ozzie Kheir and Simon & Roger Ongarato.
During the day, natural light streams from the glass end into the whimsically decorated lobby that received a genius touch by an award-winning design firm, Hachem. It features bronze-coloured mirror panels, gleaming dark ceramic tiles, dramatic mural of a woman by Melbourne-based artist Barry Drinan and our personal favourite, the beautiful carriage that serves as the reception desk whilst being pulled by a replica of an elegant galloping stallion. More often than not, guests may find people frequenting the lobby imbibing drinks and enjoying the hotel’s signature desserts, creating a refreshing and intimate vibe to the already fashionable sweet-smelling space.
The rooms too are in keeping with the hotel’s concept – “the world’s premier dessert hotel” – splashed in bright colours, strong patterns, eccentric furniture and state-of-the-art technology such as the 40-inch flat-screen LED Smart TV, iHome docking station/radio alarm clock and universal connections for all audio devices. The bathroom is industrial, with a long stainless steel double basin. The rooms’ overall concept is stylishly sharp yet funky, complemented by the clever choice of coffee table books ranging from fashion and pop art to dessert titles. The in-room amenities, like the complimentary mini bar, jar of candies, movies in-demand, and deluxe Appelles bath products are top of the line. For a sweet night-time treat, Adelphi Hotel provides macaroons for a delicious turndown.
Besides the hip rooms, Adelphi Hotel also houses a 10-seater boardroom, Om Nom Kitchen & Bar, Mon Bijou cocktail bar and the award winning Ezard restaurant located at the basement level. Locals consider the Om Nom, led by Head Chef Christy Tania, as a must-hit spot in Melbourne, offering well-plated and picture-worthy desserts such as the ‘Avocado Mousse’, ‘Apple Sphere’, ‘Peanut Butter Gateau’ and ‘Banana Flambé’. Guests with no sweet tooth may opt for various savoury alternatives such as the ‘Wagyu Sliders’, ’Pan-seared Duck Breast’ and ‘Caramelised Scallops’ in the menu.
After having said all that, we must say that the most iconic feature of the property is its gravity-defying swimming pool – a glass-bottomed pool that just out up to two metres from the top floor of the hotel over Flinders Lane, allowing passers-by have a glimpse of what Adelphi Hotel offers. Besides turning heads (upwards, of course), the cantilevered pool is also the talk of the town. Unfortunately, the pool was undergoing maintenance during the days when we were there in late June, we didn’t get a chance to try it out personally. But we are sure that the pool would have been opened by the later part of this year, just in time for the antipodean summer.
Though we have talked about the great things that the hotel has to offer, this should not stop guests from venturing out and see what its neighbourhood has to offer. The hotel’s location makes it a great starting point for city exploration, besides being steps away from Melbourne’s most visited attractions: the bustling street art scene at the Hosier Lane; Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI); National Gallery of Victoria (NGV); Bourke Street Mall; Eureka Tower; and Federation Square, where travellers can visit the Visitor Information Centre or board the city’s free tram. Starting early this year, Public Transport Victoria (PTV) has introduced a Free Tram Zone that covers most of the Melbourne CBD and some of the surrounding areas, including Queen Victoria Market and Docklands.
All in all, Adelphi Hotel not only impresses but also raises the bar on what an outstanding accommodation with a strong character should be. In the words of Lance Lagudi, the Operations Manager, “Adelphi Hotel provides convenience and comfort all within a unique boutique environment. It works for the locals, and certainly works for us.” And it certainly works for Gaya Travel team too…
Room rates at the Adelphi Hotel start at AUD270 that include Wi-Fi access, free local phone calls and a welcome drink at Om Nom restaurant.
187 Flinders Lane Melbourne
VIC 3000 Australia
T: +61 3 8080 8888