One of Melbourne's favourite boutique hotels strikes a comforting balance between old and new. And while some of the more modern elements are charmingly out of date (the DVD library is a case in point), the circa 1900 tea store and billiards hall, once run by the aunt of champion cue-man Walter Lindrum, is ageing gracefully. Interiors were refurbished in 2015 and heritage features, including high ceilings and recycled floorboards, lend rich character. Most rooms don't have views to speak of, but the styling and efficient use of space make them seem roomy and indulgent at the same time. The staff are friendly and attentive and know the city inside out, ensuring an intimate and relaxing stay.
The lobby is a congenial spot worth lingering in. The championship-sized billiards table, set in an open room full of Walter Lindrum memorabilia, practically has its own fan club, and there's a chess set and library of coffee-table books within striking range of the bar.
Post-Netflix, we might have reached the point where a DVD library feels a little old school, but that surely is part of the appeal.
Pedants might realise that Felt, the hotel's restaurant, takes its name from the wrong cloth – billiard tables use baize – but finding other faults is more difficult. Breakfast ($38) is a light Continental spread with breads by Sonoma, and inventive à la carte options such as rösti with Padre coffee-cured trout.
The Back Bar bar is small (it doubles as the far end of the front desk) but still finds room for a fireplace and leather armchairs, perfect spots in which to spend time with the Lindrum's signature Espresso Martini.
This review was made independently for the Gourmet Traveller Hotel Guide. The guide's reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way.