Oh, if only the walls of the beautifully restored Savoy Hotel on Little Collins could talk, what rich stories they could tell of Melbourne’s colourful past.
The elegant hotel that dates back to 1866, has been a home away from home for many international and Australian entertainers and VIPs over the years. Music greats Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald pulled up the blankets as did John Farnham and the Seekers after singing their hearts out on stage. Frank Sinatra, who was performing at Festival Hall, was a guest, plus screen stars Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Anthony Perkins during the filming of the hit movie On the Beach.
Since undergoing a multi-million-dollar refurbishment last year, the Savoy that’s now in the TFE hotel stable, is once again commanding attention. Award-winning architects Woods Bagot worked their magic to create a lavish restoration of this remarkable building that sits opposite Southern Cross Station in Melbourne’s CBD.
Step through the glass doors of this elegant hotel and you are immersed in the best of art deco design that’s been well preserved and embellished.
The lobby has warm timber tones, sleek marble floors, circular mirrors and chic soft furnishings. There’s a white piano and if you are lucky you may well catch someone playing. Service is slick and welcoming.
It’s all about elegance and style at the hotel which has 163 guest rooms with plush furnishings in a classic palette of dove grey, blue, white and charcoal and custom-made carpet featuring period motifs.
Our stylish room is cosy yet spacious with panoramic views over busy Spencer Street and beyond, but it is surprisingly quiet.
I love the chequerboard black and white tiles in the compact bathroom which has a retro feel.
There’s a sense of place about the hotel with its impressive central atrium and soaring ceiling.
The Alexander Bar that is near the lobby is named after the original owner, Charles Alexander. He first opened it as a family hotel and it quickly became a firm favourite with country folk who caught the train to what was then Spencer Street Station. They only had to walk across the road to the hotel.
Today the bar, encased in marble, with bold geometric patterned carpets, angled pillars, full-length mirrors and classic tray ceilings, reflects an elegant bygone era.
Barista made coffee and a mouth-watering European pastry breakfast menu is a great start to the morning and all day grazing with salami and cheese boards, share plates and a Savoy Burger are on offer.
Alexander Bar’s drinks menu pays tribute to the Prohibition era with Mint Julep, Negroni, Sidecar, Hemmingway Daiquiri and a Dark ‘n’ Stormy on the cocktail list.
For a treat indulge in a classic afternoon tea featuring fresh scones, homemade quiches and delicious macaroons plus a glass of sparkling wine on arrival for $29 per person. It is available daily from 2-4pm in the Alexander Bar.
But it’s the Savoy Restaurant on level two that takes centre stage with an impressive art deco style chandelier that is an Instagram star.
A hearty buffet breakfast with fresh local produce is served daily from 7am to 10am.
The hotel is in a great location near to the station and Sky Bus terminal, boutique shops and great cafes.
The Savoy has always been a showstopper – in 1923 visionary hotelier James Richardson purchased the building and instead of creating a new hotel, he used the existing structure to build it to the heights of Melbourne’s building limits at the time. He spent a year travelling throughout the US and Europe gathering ideas for a new design and layout.
The three-story hotel was built up over 11 floors plus a grand palazzo exterior and an opulent and elegant art decor interior. It also had its own post office, telegraph office, news and magazine stand, cigar stand and public stenographer. The hotel created a stir in the city and was the talk of the town.
It was the first Melbourne hotel to offer en suite bathrooms, hot and cold running water to each bedroom and climate-controlled ventilation.
The Savoy’s character and charm has been well preserved and no doubt Mr Alexander would be suitably impressed with the latest efforts.
Rooms start from $210 a night.
Find out more: savoyhotelmelbourne.com
The Savoy Hotel on Little Collins
630 Little Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9622 8888