The recently opened Savoy on Little Collins has been 152 years in the making. This corner of Melbourne’s Spencer and Little Collins Streets has been home to a hotel since the 19th century.
Charles Alexander opened the modest, three-story Alexander’s Family Hotel in 1866 before a name change to the Sunshine Hotel in 1923. Sold to a self-made hotelier with grand plans, James Richardson the next year, the hotel was about to go a major transformation.
Billed as Victoria’s first 20th-century American-style hotel, it was one of the first Australian hotels with air-conditioning and ensuite bathrooms. Completed in 1928, £300,000 were spent on construction and a further £50,000 on fittings and furniture.
After Richardson died in 1948, the hotel was renamed the Savoy-Plaza and became one of Melbourne’s most glamorous addresses. The cast of the 1958 Hollywood drama, ‘On the Beach”, Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and Fred Astaire were spotted at the hotel’s Rainbow Room. Many of the hottest acts from both Australia and US performed there. With a glass dance floor lit from beneath with cascading rainbow lights, it was the place to be seen.
After further changes in the ‘70’s the heritage building once again became a hotel in 2004 before its glamorous Woods Bagot makeover last year.
THE HOTEL TODAY
The location is ideal for those coming from the airport – catch the SkyBus from and to Tullamarine just across the road at Southern Cross station. All of Melbourne’s transport seems to start just steps away.
Savoy on Little Collins is cozy and welcoming. It has an unmistakable old school, New York atmosphere. The Woods Bagot makeover has made all the public spaces, rooms and suites charming and quite homey.
Walking through the suitably heavily glass doors the lobby is unexpectedly sophisticated with a touch of understated Art Deco glamour. The timeless character comes from the hotel’s ‘old bones’. Soft furnishings are warm, while the marble floors regal.
The marble and timber staircase leads to the grand ballroom adding drama to the lobby. In one of the alcoves, a glass case holds pictures and memorabilia from the hotel’s ‘former lives’. Walk the staircase to the first floor and you’ll lay eyes on the astonishing 10-storey atrium.
THE ALEXANDER BAR
From 6.30 am the Alexander Bar is buzzy with guests clamouring for coffee and pastries. Late its cocktails and share plates. Ideal for making plans with local friends, the Bar is snug and plush with large club chairs designed for staying a while. Where better on a rainy, Friday night for pre-dinner drinks? Many of the other tables were settled in for the night with Savoy burgers and beers or steaks and a McLaren Vale Shiraz or two.
SAVOY ON LITTLE COLLINS ROOMS AND SUITES
Our Savoy Room King seems palatial with high ceilings and vast space for King bed, armoire wardrobe, full-length mirror and desk. Free WiFi was seamless from check-in to check-out. The mini-bar had all the usual suspects and a few unexpected inclusions.
The bathroom is a revelation with generous, glass walk-in showers. Large and stylish with floor-to-ceiling white subway tile and black trim, the lighting was spot-on. And the MOR toiletries even matched the chic décor.Alexander Suites come with kitchens for longer stays while the Richardson Lofts offer sweeping city views from the mezzanine positioned king bed.
For a night, a weekend or longer it’s hard to beat Savoy on Little Collins for a Melbourne stay. The location means you can easily get anywhere in the CBD, suburbs or further through regional Victoria. Cleverly, the architects and designers have made it all about having an uncomplicated stay. No unnecessary extras, just comfort in style all the way.
DISCLAIMER: TML were guests of the Savoy on Little Collins.