If there’s one thing that QT Hotels & Resorts excels at, it’s transforming deserted buildings into beguiling spaces to eat, drink, and sleep, with character and whimsy to spare. The group’s latest project does just that, adding 188 rooms and suites to an 11-story modernist building that was once the Greater Union cinema. The popcorn stalls and film posters are long gone, replaced by design flourishes inspired by the property’s location on the “Paris end” of Collins Street as well as Melbourne’s love affair with good food, fashion, and art. Black-and-white footage of old fashion shows plays on a loop in the lobby beside original artworks such as Double Horizon, an installation that sees hundreds of trashy paperbacks stacked to towering heights; there’s digital art in guest rooms, rugs made by local street artists, and the concierge team—dubbed “directors of chaos”—are dressed by Janet Hime, known for her lavish costumes for stage productions. While Melbourne’s restaurants beckon, the hotel’s own dining establishments deserve a try: there’s a cake shop helmed by Joël Robuchon protégé Youssef Aderdour, a Korean-Japanese laneway bar called Hot Sauce, atmospheric European-style restaurant Pascale Bar & Grill, and a rooftop bar that is destined to become a summertime favorite. (61 3/8636 8800; qthotelsandresorts.com; doubles from US$265).
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