Rydges Melbourne has reopened in its prime position on Exhibition Street in the heart of Melbourne’s theatre district.
While the hotel will be familiar to many, its reopening should really be classified as a rebirth. This is not a case of a fresh lick of paint and some new throw pillows on the beds. This is a brand new hotel conveniently located in the shell of the building the old hotel inhabited.
Once the site of the Bryson Centre, the building is now heritage listed thanks to its distinctive 70s architecture. But the austere concrete exterior belies what is now a contradiction in hotel terms – boutique in feel but grand in scale.
Rydges Melbourne is all about the comforts of home and it starts with the lobby, which with its muted, warm colour palette and soft touch furnishings feels more like a lounge, but that’s the point.
“It’s like you are staying in our house and that warmth that comes with a home,” says Dean Duckworth, EVT’s Director of Hotel Design.
“It is a big property but it doesn’t feel like that when you walk in. It is a mixture of intimate spaces and larger spaces.
“We have also layered that with the local [theme], which is translated into the fabric inside the building. We want it to embrace you when you come into the property from entering the reception through to the rooms, ballroom and meetings spaces.”
Rydges have also eliminated the usual pain point of waiting in line to check in, with a new kiosk system that allows guests to simply scan a pre-sent Q code and grab their room key. Rydges Melbourne general manager Lee Davey describes the new check in technology as seamless.
“On departure you get a text message, click the link and check out online and the invoice goes to your inbox,” he says. “It means our staff aren’t there just to check the T&Cs – they are there to embrace the experience of your arrival.”
The cosy feel of the lobby hides the scale of this hotel, which offers 370 completely transformed rooms across three accommodation styles – 310 King Standard Rooms, 35 Suites and 25 Apartments featuring a kitchenette, laundry, and separate lounge/dining spaces.
But the biggest change for those that have graced this hotel in the past are the new meeting spaces – all 11 of them.
The hotel now boasts one of Melbourne’s largest conference and event offerings spanning an expansive 1500sqm across two levels. The show stopper is the ballroom. Formerly Bobby McGee’s nightclub, the new ballroom has a soaring seven-metre-high ceiling as well as housing a 4x7m HD LED screen. The other meeting spaces are equally impressive, with plenty of natural light.
Head up one level and you will find a new Rooftop Terrace, an expansive outdoor space with sweeping panoramic views of iconic landmarks such as Her Majesty’s Theatre and ChinaTown.
Go all the way to the top of the hotel and yet another outdoor space becomes available with the very stylish addition of a rooftop pool – perfect for cocktails at sunset. Davey says the beauty lies in the flexibility the new spaces offer.
“We can really utilise all the new spaces, divide them up and be more flexible for the client,” he says.
There is one more venue on offer for events – located on the ground floor. Bossley Bar & Restaurant takes its inspiration from the surrounding theatre district to offer up the best of Victoria on perfectly curated plates – think up market bistro fare such as line caught fish from Port Phillip Bay and Gippsland beef.
“With Bossley we have taken inspiration from Melbourne’s eclectic culture and modernised it to match the experience that diners are looking for today,” says Adam Petta, EVT Director of Culinary.
“Bossley embodies the essence of the local community with a moody interior design, captivating menu and locally sourced produce.”
The new fitness centre tops off the list of new amenities. Following through with the hotel’s attention to detail, this state of the art pantheon to bodily perfection will satisfy those looking to burn off the previous night’s calories or those who don’t let travel interrupt their routine.
The new look Rydges Melbourne has launched as the flagship hotel for the brand – and it shows at every touchpoint.
“From the warm and welcoming styled rooms, suites and new apartments experience that rival the best views in Melbourne, to the state-of-the-art technology and world-class facilities and events spaces, we have created a property that features more on every level,” says Troy Cuthbertson, Group General Manager, Hotel Operations at Rydges.
“Guests feedback has already been extremely positive and the interest in our new conference and event spaces is strong. We are truly excited to bring this experience to the Australian market.”