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Le Meridien Melbourne opens with a mid-century splash

Le Meridien Melbourne opens with a mid-century splash


Inspired by 1950’s glamour, chic mid-century interiors with locally inspired design elements, and a little pop of rock ‘n’ roll heritage, Le Meridien has been brought back to Australia, and the first hotel to reintroduce the brand to the country is Le Meridien Melbourne.

Designed by Melbourne-based architecture firm Peddle Thorp, this 5-star, 12-storey hotel creates a space that exudes a genuine sense of glamour. 

Originally established as a hotel in the 1850s, Le Meridien Melbourne at 20 Bourke St has experienced various incarnations as a theatre, cinema and nightclub. As a live music venue, it hosted artists such as James Brown, The Prodigy, Arctic Monkeys and Queens of the Stone Age. Returning to its original function as a hotel, the property pays homage to its past through thoughtful design details and immersive art installations.

Honouring the original Art Deco facade, the French-born brand complements the elegant mid-century interiors, furniture, and finishes with nods to iconic Melbourne institutions such as Peligrinis and Marios cafes.


The modern interpretation of the entrance lobby welcomes guests with elegant fluted-chrome, mid-century-inspired lighting and furniture, polished natural stone, and terrazzo. 

Celebrating fresh faces in Melbourne’s vibrant arts scene, the space boasts a large-scale Arrival Art sculptural installation by Marta Figueiredo and projected video art by Wendy Yu. 

However, if a quiet A-List arrival is more to your taste, guests can opt for a secret backstage laneway entrance, evoking the intrigue of Melbourne’s exclusive laneways bars, clubs and restaurants. 

And then to the rooms – the property offers a total of 235 guest rooms, including 14 suites, 154 king rooms, and 67 doubles. Each room seamlessly blends contemporary style with mid-century elegance, featuring custom joinery, captivating lighting fixtures, and stylish marble bathrooms. Soothing neutrals are complemented by tactile finishes and subtle pops of colour, such as striking air-force blue velvet chairs that pay homage to the Le Meridien’s Air France origins.

The design incorporates significant elements from the property’s rich musical, cinematic and theatrical history. While staying in the luxury suites you can spin some vinyl on the Yamaha 500 turntables, picking from a collection of records from artists such as Prince and James Brown, who have headlined at the property in its past incarnation as The Palace.  

Couple some vinyl spinning with bottled cocktails by The Everleigh Bottling Co, signature Le Meridien beds and even a spritz of the French brand’s eponymous house scent and you’ve got a special stay to look forward to. 

Descend the spiral staircase from the Lobby and discover ‘Dolly’, the opulent signature fine-dining restaurant. ‘Dolly’ boasts rich timber panelling, distressed mirror finishes and soft mulberry-hued banquette seating. You can imagine a Hitchcock blonde sitting at the bar, sipping a martini.

But it’s the rooftop pool and bar, Le Splash, that really sets the hotel apart. Featuring a magnificent mural by Melbourne artist Stephen Baker, guests can relax by the pool lounge or pull up a stool at the open air bar and sip on a cocktail while taking in 360-degree views of Parliament House and bustling Bourke St. In true Melbourne style, a pop-up outdoor cinema will also be debuting on the deck later in the year in collaboration with Melbourne International Film Festival and the French Film Festival.

Speaking to The Age, Le Meridien general manager Peter Minatsis said the redevelopment brought the site back to its original iteration as a hotel, and that it was a great fit for the French brand to be at the “Paris end” of the city.

“I think it’s about telling the entire story of what the building has been,” he said.

“I’m really, really happy that the designers have retained that history and really are bringing it back to life through the design and architecture,” he said.

Read about how Mona is the only museum in Australia to have a recording studio. 


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