What are the best historic hotels in Melbourne?

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Sandi Sieger

Melbourne’s city is a mix of old and new – historic buildings line the streets, as do modern skyscrapers and apartments. It’s not unusual to see a 19th Century building alongside a futuristic designed one. In Melbourne, we love to honor our traditions and history, which is why so many ‘old’ buildings are heritage listed, ensuring their legacy and beauty lives on for generations to come.

Here’s five of the best historic hotels in Melbourne:

The Windsor Hotel is not only Melbourne, but also Australia’s, oldest and most-cherished hotel. Currently celebrating their 130th year, the 5 star Windsor Hotel is located at 111 Spring Street, in walking distance to the arts and theatre precinct, gardens, restaurants, cafes, famous landmarks and public transport.

The Victoria Hotel has been an icon in Melbourne for just over 128 years. Located right in the heart of the central business district, its now modern rooms are mixed in with historic areas, such as the lobby.

Located on prestigious Collins Street, the InterContinential Melbourne at the Rialto incorporates one of the city’s last remaining examples of 19th Century Victorian Gothic architecture. Behind the Gothic facade sits 253 exquisitely stylish and modern guest rooms and suites – this hotel will not disappoint.

The Grand Hotel Melbourne offers boutique apartment accommodation in a heritage-listed building. Its palatial apartments are fully self-contained in a gorgeously grandeur Victorian era designed hotel.

Classified by The National Trust and also holding a heritage listing, Hotel Charsfield on St Kilda Road is another fine example of Victorian architecture in Melbourne’s city. This 4 star boutique hotel has serious character – don’t be surprised if you feel like a character in The Great Gatsby.

James Ridenour
  • James Ridenour

  • Chief Concierge, InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto

The InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto comprises two buildings, the Rialto and the Winfield. When facing the buildings on Collins Street you will find the Rialto on the right and the Winfield on the left. The buildings were completed between 1890 and 1891.

The Rialto building was designed in the neo-gothic style by the well-known architect William Pitt. The Rialto’s namesake is a famous bridge that crosses the Grande Canal in Venice, Italy. William Pitt designed many of Melbourne’s most prominent buildings including the Princess Theatre, the Old Stock Exchange at 380-392 Collins Street and the Old Safe Deposit Building at 88-92 Queen Street.

The Australian National Trust lists the Rialto building as an example of ‘fin de siècle’ (meaning ‘end of an era’) architecture. It was built at a time when Melbourne was the richest city in the world, as a result of the Gold Rush from the late 1860’s through to the end of the century. The National Trust also cite the Rialto as “one of the finest examples of late 19th century picturesque Gothic office buildings in Melbourne”.

Next door, the Winfield building played host to the offices that serviced the wool and wheat stores, plus other iconic Australian businesses. The building was designed by architect Richard Speight Jr. The Australian National Trust lists the Winfield building as “an example of the brick Romanesque style from the closing phase of the gold boom.”

The Rialto and Winfield buildings are separated by a cobbled bluestone laneway that once echoed to the clatter of horse’s hooves as they conveyed wool and wheat to Melbourne’s wharves, a short distance away.

The InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto is the only luxury hotel in the city’s financial district. Located in the ‘New York End’ of Collins Street, the hotel boasts a ballroom for 300 guests, luxury pool, gym, bars, restaurants and an array of beautifully furnished rooms and suites, including one suite with a full bathroom in a turret on the roof.

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