In recent months, two of America’s coolest luxury hotel chains have set their sights on Australia’s two biggest cities: the W Hotel in Melbourne and the Ace Hotel in Sydney.
While both have been threatened by recent closures – the W only enjoyed 12 weeks of merrymaking before its lights were turned off for the second time by June stay-at-home orders – they are now opening their doors .
The Ace Hotel, based in Surry Hills in Sydney, opens in early 2022, and the Hotel W, tucked away in Flinders Lane in Melbourne, is once again open for business.
Faithful to the reputation of the two hotel chains of recruiting architects, interior designers and artists to inject the personality of the city and the district into the individual spaces of the brand, the two international hotel chains have modeled their image on the quirks that define every city.
Housed behind the Paramount Building in a former brick factory, the 264-room hotel marks the Ace Hotel’s first foray into the southern hemisphere.
Brad Wilson, president of Ace Hotel Group, told Business Insider Australia that the group had long-standing aspirations to bring the brand to Australia.
Sydney felt like an easy choice for Ace in many ways – the city has a very unique character, but Australia’s pioneering optimism and renegade vitality resembles a brother spirit with Ace’s roots on the west coast of America, âWilson said.
“When we discovered the Surry Hills location, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring the brand to the city.”
The American luxury hotel outpost in Sydney was designed in collaboration with Melbourne-based Flack Studio, which shares a multidisciplinary approach to design aimed at creating spaces that honor the architectural and social history of a site.
âWe were fortunate to find a true partner in Flack Studio who matched our vision for the hotel from the start,â Wilson said.
âThrough Flack Studio’s use of local organic materials, textures and warm tones throughout the hotel, the hallmark of Australian modernism so beloved by the Ace team has been captured,â he said. .
“David and his team have been wonderful collaborators, helping us identify thoughtful ways to integrate the history and community of Surry Hills and Australia into the hotel.”
The Surry Hills space includes a rooftop restaurant and bar with city views, as well as another downstairs restaurant and cafe that will also be open to the public.
Integrating hotels into the community of each neighborhood has been part of the Ace Hotel’s DNA since the first hotel opened in Seattle in 1999, Wilson said.
âFrom the very first Ace Hotel, our goal has been to create public spaces that invite local communities, as well as travelers, to come together,â he said.
“The ground floor of Ace Sydney promises to be a model of this – with a bar, lounge, alley cafe and access to all other hotel amenities.”
The Ace Hotel Sydney was developed in partnership with Golden Age Group, the company behind Paramount House and Golden Age Cinema and Bar.
Known for its collaborations with artists, artists, restaurants and food brands in Sydney, it’s no surprise that the hotel has an ambitious agenda of events planned for the New Year.
“We’re in the middle of one of our favorite times to open a hotel – aligning with partners across town on programming that will showcase some of Australia’s most inspired cultures,” Wilson said.
The newly opened W in Melbourne offers 830 square meters of event space, as well as an $ 8,000-per-night Presidential Suite equipped to host dinner parties and an indoor pool with a DJ booth, bar and balcony.
Damon Page, managing director of the W Hotel in Melbourne, told Business Insider Australia that the brand has long-standing plans to expand its presence in Australia, which already includes a hotel in Brisbane.
Like the brand’s first hotel, which opened in New York City in 1998, Melbourne’s distinctive neighborhoods, centered on art and design, have made the city an obvious next stopover.
âIt was always about Melbourne as a destination, with so many similar traits to New York,â Page said.
âAs a brand, we were recognized as being a bit rebellious in the sense that we don’t follow traditional luxury standards,â he said of the chain’s philosophy.
“It has always been around the removal of the white gloves, so to speak.”
The indoor pool on the 14th floor can accommodate events, with a built-in DJ booth.
The defining feature of the American luxury hotel chain outpost in Melbourne is a 14th-floor billiard room, designed to mimic the city’s defining waterway, the Yarra River.
âIts ebb and flow are inspired by the way the river winds through the city,â Page said, with a curved golden ceiling that reflects the ripples of swimmers.
Page said the spectacular space “takes on a very different feel at night than it does during the day.”
âDaylight usually catches the light bouncing off this mirrored ceiling. While at night, it is the lights of the swimming pool which are captured with the lights of the adjacent buildings.
Using the Australian architecture and interior design firm Hachem, the hotel’s design project was to integrate the art and architecture of the city.
W Melbourne’s âdesign storyâ was built around the concept of âpeeling off layers,â Page said; a nod to the famous alleys and bars of the city.
Entering the ground floor entrance means meeting an immersive mural by Melbourne artist Rus Kitchin. In the bar, it’s a cocoon-inspired space formed by wooden beams interspersed above the head.
âThere is a lot of very important Melbourne involvement in the design,â he said.
Page said another essential element was the hotel’s âInsider,â a dedicated person at each of the hotel’s locations who is dedicated to helping guests uncover the city’s best-kept secrets, who ‘it is a pop-up bar or an invitation-only event.
Having access to “that person who makes the heart of the city beat, someone who really knows what’s going on,” is another tiny but defining decision, he says, that sets the hotel apart.
The designs for the suite were inspired by the city’s street-level newsstands that date back to the 1960s.
Featuring floor-to-ceiling windows offering stunning skyline views and the graphic color palette a nod to Melbourne’s roots as a fashion hub, with Flinders Lane at the center of its textile business.
âWhen you walk around the hotel you pick up things that are so quintessentially Melbourne. ”
The location on Flinders Lane was a deliberate choice for the American luxury hotel chain, which chose the slogan “rebel between the streets” for its new hotel.
âWe’re a very, very inclusive brand where individuality is recognized and also celebrated,â Page said.
âThis is the key to bringing the W brand to life in Melbourne. “