Our guide to Australia's new art hotels

Jan 20, 2012


THE CULLEN 164 Commercial Road, Prahran.
THE OLSEN 637-641 Chapel Street, South Yarra.
THE BLACKMAN 452 St Kilda Road, Melbourne.

Meet the luxury hotels who take their scenic surroundings very seriously in our Rooms With A Vew gallery.

Each of this trio is named after, and pays homage to, a particular Australian artist – John Olsen, Adam Cullen and Charles Blackman – with suites taking on the personalities of their namesakes.

Edgy and black-humoured, The Cullen embraces Adam Cullen’s unusual and celebrated style of contemporary art. The 119 self-contained suites are emboldened with lashings of colour and stark spaces, which clash in the best possible way with oversized canvases and twisted portraits. The picture that is worth a thousand words? Cullen’s sly nod to popular culture, a horned Ned Kelly with a smoking gun.

The flagship of the series, The Olsen, brings the stillness of central Australia to bustling Chapel Street via the 492 Olsen works dotted throughout suites and shared spaces. The Olsen lobby features staff favourite, The Yellow Sun & The Yarra, a spectacular 6m mural commissioned especially for Art Series Hotels. Not to be outdone, the $90m development, which was designed by Melbourne architects Rothelowman, stands up against Olsen’s paintings and sculptures, with the expanses of glass and modern fittings a natural backdrop for the canvases.

The Blackman’s soft lines and dreamy prints are a perfect foil for tired travellers – a night immersed in Charles Blackman’s celebrated Alice In Wonderland series is enough to recharge and re-enchant the weariest. The 209 suites are decked out with original art works and more than 400 archival-quality prints. As with its brother hotels, The Blackman also offers private tours with its in-house curator and an art directory in every suite.

7 Hickson Road, Sydney, NSW.
Reopening this month, the Park Hyatt Sydney has enlisted seven artists to adorn its spaces. There’s a large piece from painter Tim Johnson reflecting Indigenous culture, Sydney street snaps by Robert Billington, and Bruce Armstrong’s two-faced Janus head carved from native red gum. Printmaker-sculptor GW Bot has created designs for the huge sandstone panels decorating the hotel foyer. Peter D Cole’s sculptures in corridors and guestrooms are inspired by wildlife watercolours. From Julia Silvester comes a series of limited-edition prints, reproductions of the work of the convict landscape painter, Joseph Lycett. From AUD$855.

25 Hunter Street, Hobart, Tasmania.
This former 19th-century jam factory is an antique in itself, as well as a pioneer in the art hotel genre. Sourcing inspiration from the dockside location and industrial past, rooms are graced with Eastern print silk covers and convict-era landscapes. A tight relationship with the Tasmanian School of Art lets Henry Jones shine his spotlight on up-and-comers, with rotating exhibitions keeping it fresh. Bookings are essential for the weekly art & history tour, exploring the site’s jammy history and private art collection. From AUD$221.

321 Davey Street, Hobart, Tasmania.
You’d mistake this chic, 11-room, Regency-style boutique hotel for a gallery if the beds and comfortable furnishings didn’t give it away. The exhaustive collection of art and antiques covers a number of movements, genres and forms, with standouts including Picasso etching Musketeer & Prostitute: Suite 347, and Spanish artist Tresserra’s first design piece, a Casablanca chair. Check in and mentally check out in an antique bucket chair beside one of the library fireplaces with a Tasmanian history tome, or plan a romantic rendezvous in the double-storey glass and marble conservatory. From AUD$370

Source Qantas The Australian Way February 2012

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