- Style Art-shock attitude
- Setting Fashion-forward Prahran
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.
Need to know
- Rooms 119, including eight suites.
- Rates Double rooms from $124.18 (AU$137), 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).
- Facilities 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.
- 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.
- Check–out 11am, but flexible subject to availability. Check-in, 2pm.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
In the know
- 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.
- 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 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.
Food and drink at The Cullen
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
Also worth knowing
- Weddings This property is suitable for weddings. More details