The Luxe List 2018: United Places, Melbourne

Owner Daren Rubenstein and designer Sue Carr set out to create a “home-hotel,” and the result is a 12-room hideaway that eschews frou-frou but still has the best of everything.

Rooms are either “introvert” or “extrovert” in design: those overlooking the Botanic Gardens are the latter, featuring earthy hues of olive, dusky blue, and charcoal; others, with views of the city’s rooftops and a heritage red-brick factory, have notes of fleshy corals.

From an intimate tented camp in the green foothills of Bali to a converted 19th-century Jesuit retreat in Tamil Nadu, our editors and reviewers have roamed the Asia-Pacific region to bring together DestinAsian’s annual collection of the year’s top hotel openings. Read on to discover which new properties stood out from the rest in terms of service, setting, amenities, and a singular sense of style.

Don’t be surprised if you walk straight past United Places without realizing that it is, in fact, Melbourne’s newest hotel. Wedged between Victorian terraces in the upscale suburb of South Yarra, four kilometers from the city, the unassuming, four-story building is easily mistaken for a boutique apartment block. And that’s the whole point.

Owner Daren Rubenstein and designer Sue Carr set out to create a “home-hotel,” and the result is a 12-room hideaway that eschews frou-frou but still has the best of everything. Instead of a reception desk, you’re welcomed by your on-call butler, who guides you along a dimly lit corridor with a bluestone path, not dissimilar to a gentrified Melbourne laneway.

Instead of a reception desk, you’re welcomed by your on-call butler, who guides you along a dimly lit corridor with a bluestone path, not dissimilar to a gentrified Melbourne laneway.

Rooms are either “introvert” or “extrovert” in design: those overlooking the Botanic Gardens are the latter, featuring earthy hues of olive, dusky blue, and charcoal; others, with views of the city’s rooftops and a heritage red-brick factory, have notes of fleshy corals.

All come with Patricia Urquiola’s glam “Redondo” sofas, 1960s armchairs by Grant Featherston, velvet curtains, and ceramics by local creative Shari Lowndes. Mirrored bathroom pods, which sit between living and bedroom spaces, are stocked with organic cotton towels and Le Labo amenities from New York, while the minibar celebrates Australian produce, whether it’s Two Birds beers or a limited batch of Sullivans Cove whiskey. You have a full kitchen at your disposal, but it’s just as easy to call for room service from on-site restaurant Matilda, helmed by applauded chef Scott Pickett.

61-3/9866-6467; unitedplaces.com.au; doubles from US$554.

This article originally appeared in the October/November 2018 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“The Luxe List 2018: United Places, Melbourne”).

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