Hotel Highlights

  • Interiors showcase vibrant original art and prints by the late Australian artist Adam Cullen
  • Hip modern design in rooms, with magical Melbourne views if you bag a balcony
  • Stylish restaurants, including Gramercy Bistro for NY-style flair and Hutong for dreamy dumplings

Overview

With skyline views of Melbourne, boutique hotel The Cullen takes its cue from the art of the late Australian enfant terrible Adam Cullen, offering cool contemporary rooms starring original paintings and prints, two tasty restaurants, a bar, Smart cars and bespoke bikes. Shopping addicts will love the fashionable Prahran location too, opposite the food market.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking The Cullen with us:

A two-hour ride on the Cullen's bespoke bicycles for two, 1pm late check-out and a bottle of Australian wine

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at The Cullen

'The simply solution: inclusive breakfast' Advance purchase rate Stay 2 save 20%

Facilities

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The Cullen - Melbourne - Australia

Need To Know

Rooms

119, including eight suites.

Check–out

11am, but flexible subject to availability. Check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $140.68 (AU$152), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast but include 24-hour gym. Rates are based on two people sharing; any extras will be charged at AU$70 a night each (payable upon check-out).

Also

A homage to the late artist Adam Cullen (the Damien Hirst of Oz art), the Cullen features a kookily coloured roster of his original paintings in its public areas and his cartoonish prints turn heads in all rooms (even glass shower surrounds are engraved with his Ned Kelly-inspired horses and bushrangers). Look out for the audio-visual display on Adam's work in the lobby or ask for a private tour with the hotel's dedicated art curator, who also provides hot tips for the top exhibitions around town.

At the hotel

Gym with yoga deck, bikes, Smart cars, hair salon, WiFi throughout (AU$9.95 a day). In rooms: LCD flatscreen TV with Foxtel, DVD player, preloaded iPod and iPod dock, Adam Cullen artworks, art books, Art Series toiletries, minibar, kitchenette.

Our favourite rooms

Backdropped in black and white to avoid distracting from Adam Cullen's colour-splash prints, rooms are all spacious and stylish, with big Art Series beds, sinuous modern sofas, curvy tables and chairs, and compact kitchenettes. Book a Deluxe Studio with Balcony on the north-west corner for killer views of Melbourne's city skyline (aim for fourth floor or above; we like 416, 418 or 520); or splash out on the Lady Luck Penthouse with a roller-disco-sized separate living area and giant deck, ideal for entertaining your entourage.

Poolside

There's no pool at the Cullen, but you can use the one at sister art hotel the Olsen for free, just a 15-minute stroll away, or enjoy a discount at Prahran Aquatic Centre just two minutes' walk away.

Packing tips

Designer shades for Gramercy bar, binoculars for people-watching from your balcony, yoga threads for the gym, a giant tote for sartorial shopping and your best furrowed brow for art appreciation.

Also

Two bespoke red sit-up-and-beg Swedish Kronan bicycles are up for grabs for AU$5 an hour if you fancy wheeling round the shops or you can hire a dinky Art Series-branded Smart car from AU$10 an hour, or AU$60 a day.

Children

The Cullen is a fairly adult playground, but nippers are welcome. Baby cots can be supplied for free and extra beds cost AU$70 a night. Babysitting with a local nanny is yours for AU$90 for three hours.

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Eco‐friendly

Going beyond than the usual recycling and organic food efforts, the Cullen is a seriously green building, harnessing natural ventilation through its dramatic central light well to avoid guests overdosing on air-con. Windows even open in rooms.

Weddings

This property is suitable for weddings

More details

Food & Drink

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The Cullen - Melbourne - Australia

Hotel Restaurant

The Cullen doesn't run its own in-house restaurant, but enjoys strong links with two tasty tenant eateries which peel off its ground-floor. Gramercy Bistro, which includes a covered streetside deck, whips up wholesome breakfasts as well as New York-style fare, such as knockout steaks, Reuben sandwiches and buttermilk pancakes. Next door, seductive Chinese restaurant Hutong is the go-to spot for dumplings and duck come dusk (it even boasts its own custom-built duck oven).

Hotel Bar

Stylish but not uptight, Gramercy Bistro doubles as a bar, serving wine, cocktails and quaffable coffees all day. Don't miss the street art figure by French stencil god Blek Le Rat on the adjacent wall (he also sneaked a trademark black rat up in room 318 when he stayed chez Cullen).

Last orders

Gramercy serves dinner and drinks until 11pm; Hutong sees action until 10.30pm Sunday–Thursday, and 11.30pm Friday–Saturday.

Room service

Available 24-hours a day, room service is handled by Gramercy Bistro, known for its kick-ass coffee. This is also where you'll come for breakfast if you'd prefer not to take it in your room.

Smith Insider

Dress code

This is Melbourne darlings, so make it black, layered and deconstructed. To work the art crowd look, team vintage op-shop finds with local designer labels.

Top table

Grab a semi-alfresco pew at Gramercy Bistro, in the covered corner deck; at Hutong, the private dining rooms take some beating if you're eating with pals.

Local Guide

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The Cullen - Melbourne - Australia
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Ladro (+61 (0)3 9510 2233; ladro.com.au), at 162 Greville Street, is our top pick for thin-crust pizza served in a sleek but relaxed designer den.Kids are very welcome (they can even sign up to cookery classes); on Mondays it's BYO for a good cause. Classically Gallic, right down to the faux-arrogant waiters, is the best way to describe France-Soir (+61 (0)3 9866 8569; www.france-soir.com.au) at 11 Toorak Road, South Yarra. As well as serving delicious food, it has an excellent wine list and stays open late. Fog bar and restaurant (+61 (0)3 9521 3155; www.fog.com.au), near the Cullen at 142 Greville Street, also offers upscale French food with a New York diner vibe. For a Vietnamese double act, check out Hanoi Hannah (+61 (0)3 9939 5181; www.hanoihannah.com.au) at 180 High Street in Prahran or sister diner Saigon Sally at 2 Duke Street in nearby Windsor (+61 (0)3 9939 5181; www.saigonsally.com.au), perfect for slurping pho or sipping cocktails in style.

Local bars

A fun Polish bar for a wild night out, Borsch Vodka & Tears (+61 (0)3 9530 2694; www.borschvodkaandtears.com) has over a hundred types of vodka on offer, if you think you're hard enough. The Keith Richards with absinthe should put hairs on your chest and is limited to three per customer for a reason. A good time will be had by all at Lucky Coq (+61 (0)3 9525 1288; www.luckycoq.com.au), on the corner of Chapel Street and High Street in Windsor, one of the area's many party-hard hangouts, ideal for staying up all night to get lucky.

Local cafés

Market Lane Coffee (+61 (0)3 9804 7434; www.marketlane.com.au), on the fringe of Prahran Market, takes its caffeine seriously, with a roastery, café and store, as well as regular brewing and cupping classes. Beans hail from Kenya, Brazil, Guatemala and El Salvador among other exotic source countries. Hipsters gravitate to graffiti-daubed St Edmond's café (+61 (0)3 9525 0473), at the rear of 154 Greville Street in Prahran, for tasty brunch, a beer in the intimate yard or DJ tunes come weekends.

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Fashion-forward Prahran

The Cullen

164 Commercial Road, Melbourne, Victoria 3181, Australia

South of the Yarra River in Melbourne's city centre on Commercial Road, the striking contemporary Cullen building rises above hip shopping quarter Prahran, a credit card's throw from boutique- and bar-packed Chapel Street. It's black with protruding lime balconies, so you can't miss it.

Planes

Fly into Melbourne Airport (www.melbourneairport.com.au), north-west of town at Tullamarine, which handles regular international and domestic flights – then it's just a 40-minute taxi ride south to the hotel. There's also a 24-hour airport Skybus shuttle to Southern Cross Station in the CBD (AU$16 for a single; AU$26 return), which departs every 10 minutes for the 20-minute ride; then grab a cab from there.

Trains

It's a five-minute walk to the Cullen from Prahran Station, which offers Metro train links throughout Melbourne.

Automobiles

All the major hire car operators ply their trade at Melbourne Airport. Underground parking is available at the hotel for AU$20 a night if you're arriving under your own steam.

Other

Melbourne's iconic trams are a handy way to reach the hotel from town. Number 72 stops at Commercial Road.

Reviews

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The Cullen - Melbourne - Australia

Anonymous review

by Holly Thomas , Style maven

Here's a travel truth: after just one afternoon in Melbourne, it becomes my favourite city in the world. For the semi-adventurous nomad, who doesn't mind getting lost in laneways so long as there are good shops to explore, this urban getaway is the ideal playground.

Melbourne's indie, artsy charm sweeps me off my feet, much like an indie, artsy boy might do. As a naturally curio...

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The Cullen

Anonymous review by Holly Thomas, Style maven

Here's a travel truth: after just one afternoon in Melbourne, it becomes my favourite city in the world. For the semi-adventurous nomad, who doesn't mind getting lost in laneways so long as there are good shops to explore, this urban getaway is the ideal playground.

Melbourne's indie, artsy charm sweeps me off my feet, much like an indie, artsy boy might do. As a naturally curious shopper, I’m drawn into the tucked-away stores, the havens of vintage clothing and vinyl records, the boutiques packed full of Aussie designer wares. I lose hours (willingly!) sifting through racks of dresses at Smith Street’s cavern of secondhand treasures Lost & Found, musing over macaroons and hot chocolate at Koko Black in the CBD’s Royal Arcade, and gazing out the window at café-come-bespoke suit and boot emporium Captains of Industry while debating a permanent relocation.

Retreating to Prahran boutique hotel the Cullen with my best girlfriend from college, after we’ve had our fill of wandering, feels like making a graceful entrance at the most awesome art gallery opening ever. All slick glass and hits of colour, it manages to be at once lively and soothing – exactly what we need to recuperate from the day and recharge for the night.

The hearty breakfast and to-die-for coffees at the Gramercy Bistro are perfect for refuelling on both mornings of our stay, served by an incredibly generous waitstaff – so kind, in fact, that they pack our complimentary breakfast to take away on our last day when we have to depart Melbourne before sunrise (but let’s not go there yet…).

Exploring the local area, we pop in and out of shops and peer inside Prahran Market (the longest-running food market in Australia – oh, to have more time for snacks!). But the hotel (and the 'hood) come to life at night, with a buzz in the lobby and delicious duck and dumplings at ground-floor Chinese restaurant Hutong. The best part for us, as incredibly jet-lagged American gal pals, happens when we settle in on our second night for satisfying pasta dishes and a few glasses of wine at Orange, one of the many open-air spots on nearby shopping drag Chapel Street. After hours of gabbing – there’s something about warm weather and wine that brings out your inner conversationalist – we make tracks back to the Cullen, where we roam about and take in the wildly vibrant artwork by Aussie talent Adam Cullen on display in every hallway, nook, and cranny, from cartoonish highwaymen to horses.

An overnight stay at this beautiful hotel – especially one where you're keeping slightly odd hours due to an epic time change – is a bit like hiding away in a contemporary art gallery until everyone leaves for the night, then you get to discover the works all by yourself. Just us and the oil paintings – that's how we feel, and it’s both surreal and serene. Eventually we retire to our idiosyncratic Deluxe Studio Suite Twin room, where we continue our chatter through the nearly-transparent glass walls of the bathroom (risque!) and settle into our plush, comfy beds that fit flush against a mirrored wall (more risque!). Then we watch a TV special on the young UK royals – talk about a dreamy girls' night in – and wake up to a view of the entire city at sunrise. Who's the princess now, Kate?

 

 

 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The Cullen's Guestbook below.

 

BlackSmith

Stayed on 28 Feb 2014

We loved

This is a nice hotel in a lively neighbourhood.

Don’t expect

The rooftop terrace should be bigger – it'd be even better with a pool.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 23 Nov 2013

We loved

I liked my good room and the bistro downstairs serves great food until late.

Don’t expect

It's not great location for the CBD, sports stadia, etc.

Rating: 8/10 stars