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An arty place to stay in Melbourne

Thursday, September 23, 2010
Getaway profiled the Cullen Hotel in Melbourne earlier this year. Not just a luxury boutique hotel, but a place where guests can see around 450 works of Australian painter Adam Cullen.

Since then the owners have been busy creating another hotel where you can have a comfortable stay and have a culture fix at the same time.

The latest addition is The Olsen Hotel on Chapel Street. The 229 elegant five-star suites and public areas are infused with the works of John Olsen, one of Australia's greatest living painters. He won the Archibald prize in 2005 for his Self-Portrait Janus-Faced. When he walked into the foyer for the first time, he was overwhelmed, so imagine how the rest of us would react!

Just like the painter's works, the hotel is a masterpiece. There's quite a selection of room types, including studio and deluxe studio (with or without balcony), spa studio, deluxe studio, two-bedroom open-plan, two-bedroom deluxe balcony and The Olsen Penthouse. They have 106cm flat-screen televisions, wireless internet access and kitchenettes.

Enjoy a comfortable sleep in exclusive Art Series Signature bedding, plunge into their glass-bottom pool above Chapel Street shoppers below or work out in the gymnasium. Of course, Chapel Street is one of Melbourne's shopping hot spots and it's all just outside the door.

John Olsen is a self-confessed epicurean, with a deep appreciation of fine food and wines. It is only fitting that Blue Bottle restaurant at Olsen's, named after his Popping Blue Bottles work, serves the best in cuisine. The painter's Mediterranean travels influenced and inspired the restaurant's menu, which is based on seasonable availability, and elegant interior.

Leather banquettes at recycled oak communal tables are softly lit by lobster-pot lights, and there's alfresco dining on sunny days and evenings.

Steer Bar & Grill celebrates the great Australian paddock. The steak restaurant and mezzanine cocktail bar serves Australian meat prepared on a Brazilian churrasco charcoal grill. The beautiful room has vaulted ceilings and elegant chandeliers and diners may enjoy pre-dinner drinks and a lusty red with one of the best steaks in Melbourne.

For something tempting and sweet, at The Olsen you can indulge in desserts and pastries such as chocolate mousses, crumbles, strudels, friands and tarts, accompanied by a cup or two of perfect café crema.

For just $10 you can cruise around in a Smart Car for an hour. The environmentally friendly little darlings will take you as near or as far as you want to travel from the hotel. Just ask the Guest Experience Desk to book one for you and have the time of your life.

The third Art Series hotel is The Blackman on St Kilda Road. Just choose your favourite painter and grab the chance to be surrounded by his works, even while you are sleeping.

Related video: another art-lovers' haunt in Melbourne


South Yarra in Melbourne.


Olsen Hotel rooms start at $249 a night. The Penthouse Suite starts at $4000 a night. It includes limousine transfers, butler service and bottle of French champagne.

Virgin Blue has flights to Melbourne.

One-way fares from:

  • Adelaide $79
  • Hobart $75
  • Sydney $90
  • Canberra $99
  • Brisbane $129
  • Darwin $179
  • Perth $245

There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares quoted are one-way booked on the internet. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are subject to change.

Prices correct at September 23, 2010.

For further information

Virgin Blue
Ph: 136 789

The Olsen Melbourne
637-641 Chapel Street
South Yarra 3141
Ph: (03) 9040 1222

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