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Melbourne’s ‘next’ big thing

The Next Story Group’s latest business-meets-boutique hotel in Melbourne’s CBD is a sophisticated sanctuary at the centre of all the action.

Melbourne, like most big cities, is rapidly evolving and yet retains neighbourhoods that are still full of character and charisma. One such precinct is Little Collins Street, in the city’s buzzing Central Business District (CBD). 80 Collins, one of the prettiest precincts of Melbourne, is home to hotspots that host the hip and the high-flying. Just the right place for the Next Hotel Melbourne to open its doors, we’d say.

next hotel, melbourne, australia, cbd
Melbourne’s Central Business District is always abuzz with activity. Image: Traveldine/Priya Pathiyan.

Projected as a sophisticated sanctuary to work, play, stay, and everything in between, it promises spaces to gather, share food and drink, or simply, as they say, to contemplate what’s next.

next hotel, melbourne, australia, cbd
The Club has a relaxed and inviting vibe. Image: Courtesy Next Hotel Melbourne.
Feast your eyes before you feast on the food! Stunning interiors of The Club. Image: Courtesy Next Hotel Melbourne.

With 255 keys that unlock elegantly understated rooms and suites, it certainly has the capacity to accommodate your next conference or even a destination wedding once the pandemic ends. Expect a refined yet quirky aesthetic inspired by world travel and the local neighbourhood of Collins Street couturières, China Town, and the original site for Melbourne’s horse bazaar! Thoughtful design, intriguing artwork, eclectic objet d’art, and residential touches combine with welcoming service and bespoke experiences.

next hotel, melbourne, australia, cbd
Rooms made for relaxation even though they offer such exciting views. Image: Courtesy Next Hotel Melbourne.

We loved the considered design details, luxe linen, tasteful furnishings, and thoughtfully placed amenities. And their choices are bound to appeal to the evolved traveller – things like Espresso coffee machines, Dyson hairdryers and straighteners, Bose sound systems, and Hunter Lab care products. Even their mini bar, usually such a tired assortment of F&B offerings that you never land up using, has some rather tempting hotel-aged bottled spirits and cocktails that we’d surely enjoy post-work, pre-dinner, or as a nightcap.

You can start your day at the little café downstairs – Ingresso, but also savour sundowners and small eats in the same space later. La Madonna, a fine dining restaurant and bar stars chefs Daniel Natoli (of Sicilian descent) and Adrian Li (with a Hong Kong heritage), whose imaginative menu is compelling. The space is a mélange of a main dining area, cosy lounges, a gleaming black marble bar and the very private Barrel Room curated by Proof & Company.

Fine dining at the elegant La Madonna. Image: Courtesy Next Hotel Melbourne.
The Barrel Room ticks all the boxes with excellent design and wines sourced from local winemakers. Spirits are expertly aged in situ too. Image: Courtesy Next Hotel Melbourne.

Whether you stay in (they have a very comprehensive ‘Safe With Us’ protocols in place against the pandemic) or step out to explore the mesmerising city of Melbourne (the very central location makes a lot of fun spots accessible via tram, train, and on foot) is up to you. Either way, whatever you do next, will certainly be fulfilling.

Three tips to take your Melbourne visit to the ‘next’ level

1. A stroll along the banks of the iconic Yarra River, which runs through the CBD, can be a very pleasant experience. Grab a coffee or ice cream, people-watch, or merely let your eyes wander over the golden waters of the river, where people once panned for gold during the gold rush in Victoria, Australia.

2. Check out the majestic Melbourne Town Hall and the Flinders Street railway station that are just a short distance away.

3. Don’t miss the soup-filled xiao long bao at Juicy Bao on Little Bourke Street, in the heart of Chinatown nearby.

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