Melbourne’s new United Places is rewriting the classic hotel formula, offering a stylish stay in the city, complete with butler, writes Samantha Jones.
Boutique Melbourne newcomer is an instant classic.
WHAT DO YOU GET when a first-time hotelier opens accommodation in one of Australia’s most-visited cities? With property developer Darren Rubenstein and his inaugural hotel, United Places, you get a concept that thinks outside the square – more specifically, outside the check-in desk. Instead of the reception area seasoned travellers are so used to, guests are greeted by a butler who will be as present or discreet as you wish.
Doing away with a check-in desk is just one of Rubenstein’s efforts in breaking the hotel mould. “I wanted to create a home for the like-minded traveller,” he explains. A stone’s throw from the Royal Botanic Gardens in South Yarra, and with a lobby constructed to elicit the atmosphere of a Melbourne laneway, you certainly could be entering your own apartment block. Design firm CARR took on the architecture and interiors of United Places, including the 12 one- or two-bedroom suites. “Each suite has its own personality and dichotomy of spaces that create theatre and a heightened sensibility. It’s all very Melbourne,” says director of architecture Chris McCue. This theatre comes from deep, sunken baths overlooking the city skyline, switch-controlled velvet curtains that separate rooms, changeable mood-lighting and indulgent showers. Hand-loomed towels and blankets, 100 per cent cotton bed sheets and amenities created in collaboration with NYCbased Le Labo add to the luxury, not to mention the 200ml bottle of Sullivans Cove whisky in each suite – a serving size made exclusively for United Places to encourage guests to give it a try.
Breakfast is delivered courtesy of Scott Pickett and his team at Matilda, the restaurant downstairs where you’d struggle to get a table – if you didn’t have the help of your butler, of course. 157 Domain Road, South Yarra, Melbourne; unitedplaces.com.au