The Olsen, Melbourne review

Contemporary Australian art and a fun take on hospitality collide at this South Yarra address in the heart of the action.
The Olsen, Melbourne

Two-bed open plan suite

Where 637-641 Chapel St, South Yarra, (03) 9040 1222,

Cost From $302, without breakfast.

At a glance 224 rooms, suites and penthouses, adjoining rooms; bars, restaurant, café, pool, day spa, gym, sauna, paid valet and self-parking.

In room Free WiFi, MP3 player, some baths and balconies, kitchenette, coffee machine, pillow menu, Evo toiletries.

Best room The Lake Eyre Penthouse has a large terrace, plunge and spa pools, two bathrooms and a panoramic view of the city, with the complimentary use of a Smart car.

This South Yarra member of the septet of Art Series Hotels is graced with lyrical original works and prints by John Olsen in public areas and guestrooms alike, and three luminous pieces inspired by Lake Eyre in the lobby. Book a complimentary tour with the in-house art curator for full appreciation. The guestrooms can be snug but are well appointed with a kitchenette, dining table, lounge chair, desk and wall-mounted TV. Some have a balcony furnished with sunloungers. Fancy a dip? The 25-metre glass-bottomed pool outside on the first-floor deck comes with views over Chapel Street, or simply kick back poolside, cocktail in hand, and flick through an art book from the range in your room.

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The minibar includes hangover capsules and “Your time to shine” paints and canvas for those inspired by the arty surrounds, while the shopping catalogue includes swimmers, socks, limited-edition signed Olsen prints, and the excellent signature AH Beard beds and bedding.

Thoughtful extras

Scooters, Smart cars and retro Lekker bikes are available for hire, and the handy key-card holder folds out to reveal a map of nearby galleries, restaurants and shops.

Dining options

Spoonbill, the hotel’s ground-floor restaurant and bar, serves food all day. The à la carte breakfast ($25) includes eggs as you like, Bircher and chia pudding along with good espresso, while the express lunch menu ($20, including a drink) includes salads, and fish and chips with mushy peas.

Spoonbill at The Olsen

Drink up

An after-work crowd fills Spoonbill, taking advantage of the 5pm-7pm happy “hour”. Cheerful staff serve a concise, mostly local list of wines until late.


This review was made independently for the Gourmet Traveller Hotel Guide. The guide’s reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way.

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