Billing itself as a ‘home hotel’, United Places Botanic Gardens in Melbourne combines butler service, A-class design, faultless Australian cuisine, winsome views and a blooming lovely setting. Outside the hotel, peaceful South Yarra showcases a greener, serener side to this vibrant city. Inside, fittings, furnishings and sartorial flourishes showcase a creative collaboration. Highlights include Patricia Urquiola furniture, Le Labo bath products and organic Loom Towels throws. No surprise, then, that the hotel has pedigree: its understated good looks come courtesy of the accomplished Carr Design Group (the team behind Smith-star Jackalope in the Mornington Peninsula) and top chef Scott Pickett captains the kitchen.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of local wine and a seasonal fruit platter
Double rooms from $406.12 (AU$591), excluding tax at 10 per cent.
Rates include a full gourmet breakfast, which is delivered to your suite along with cold-pressed juice, a newspaper of your choice and a weather card.
Guests enjoy priority seating in Matilda 159, the hotel’s acclaimed restaurant. Your personal butler will sort dinner reservations, theatre tickets, private tours, transfers and more.
At the hotel
Butler service; free WiFi throughout; laundry service; valet parking. In rooms: 4K HDTV with Netflix; Bang & Olufsen portable speaker; minibar; free bottled water; coffee-making kit; a kettle and tea; Le Labo bath products. Each suite has a kitchenette with an oven, microwave, dishwasher, sink and washing machine.
Our favourite rooms
Every room has a large balcony – opt for one surveying the Botanic Gardens for maximum lush-and-leafy views. On the other hand, Urban One-Bedroom Suites are good for city-lovers who want to spy on Melbourne’s rooftops and laneways.
Bring greenery to match the gardens… and an appetite for good food in Matilda 159.
Your butler can arrange fitness sessions – personal training, yoga and Pilates, for example – and beauty treatments in your suite, in the gardens opposite the hotel or at a local studio or salon.
Little Smiths are welcome. Domain Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens (which has a special section for little ones) are just opposite the hotel.
They’re all rather lovely – but avoid seats at the busy bar if you’re on a hot date or having an intimate tête-à-tête.
Urban Melburnian: model threads from local designers such as Lady Petrova, Alpha60 and APC Melbourne.
Acclaimed chef Scott Pickett (of Estelle and Saint Crispin fame, with two Chef Hat awards to his name) helms Matilda 159, named after Scott’s daughter. He remains on fine form here, wooing diners via a flame-licked charcoal grill. The menu is Modern Australian: try kangaroo tartare, octopus, Wagyu bavette or Macedon Ranges duck – and save room for rotisserie pineapple. All that flame-grilling inspires the styling, with timber taking a star role: admire tables commissioned from local maker Hugh Makin and the series of display cabinets, showcasing quality produce used in the kitchen. Guests can also take advantage of United Places’ nifty in-suite dining service: your obliging butler will set the table and offer you champagne, wine and delicious dishes from Matilda’s menu.
Make the most of Matilda 159’s wine, beer, spirits and cocktails – and dip into your booze-stocked minibar.
Dinner is served until 10pm in the restaurant.
Order food and drink to your suite around the clock with help from your handy butler.
The cues in the name: the hotel enjoys an enviable position right by Melbourne’s beautiful Botanic Gardens, in scenic South Yarra.
Melbourne International Airport at Tullamarine is a half-hour drive away. Smith24 can sort out your flights, if you like.
South Yarra station, a five-minute drive from United Places, is on the Sandringham line, which stops at all stations to Flinders Lane Station in Melbourne’s Central Business District.
It takes just five minutes to get here by car from the CBD. The hotel’s valet parking is offsite but close by; there’s also ample street-parking.
Worth getting out of bed for
Start as you mean to go on – with drinks, dinner or both at the restaurant. Spend some time sudsing and soaping in your bedroom’s sunken bath tub, or sit on your terrace and watch the world go by. Make the most of your on-call butler: ask for restaurant recommendations, off-the-beaten path activities, spa bookings – whatever tickles your fancy. Spend a cultural morning or afternoon at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Arton Sturt Street. Browse delicious edible wares at Prahran Market on Commercial Road, open on Tuesday and Thursday–Sunday. Catch a match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Brunton Avenue. You can hardly ignore them, since they’re on your doorstep – potter around the blooming lovely Royal Botanic Gardens on Birdwood Avenue.
Begin the day in style with brunch at Gilson, run by a Melbourne culinary power couple (also responsible for city stalwarts such as Barry, Touchwood and Mammoth). Casual fine diner Ramblr does delicious lunches and has a classically trained chef at its helm. Atlas Dining takes global cuisine seriously; the young chef-owner changes the cuisine’s nationality every four months. Dress to impress at swellegant Steer Dining Room: a modern Australian steak restaurant on Claremont Street with a thing for Asian flavours. If you’re in the mood for a more Francophile affair, try Entrecôte, a steakhouse inspired by Le Relais De L'Entrecôte, the Parisian bistro famous for having nothing but steak frites on its menu. Melbourne's equivalent has a more diverse offering, but the signature dish is still steak – a Cape Grim porterhouse, to be exact, served with a 'secret sauce' and bottomless pommes frites. For equally Gallic meals of snails, steak tartare and roast duck, book a table at pint-sized France Soir, where the quality of the food is matched by the bonhomie of the French-speaking waiters. With its breezeblock walls and 22-seat bronze table, contemporary Turkish restaurant Yagiz certainly hits the mark in terms of design, but it's the menu of inspired small plates that steals the show. Chef Murat Ovaz isn’t overly concerned with purism, instead combining all his culinary know-how to create a Turkish menu that’s relevant for Melbourne’s forward-thinking restaurant scene. Expect dishes like confit duck wrapped in yufka pastry, lamb’s liver cooked Albanian style and calamari stuffed with Ezine cheese.
With its jet-black bar, parquet floor and Modernist stained glass windows, Bar Carolina makes a stylish spot for sundowners. Alongside a lengthy cocktail list, this 21st-century trattoria has excellent wines and whiskeys for the purists, and a menu of delectable antipasti should you get peckish. The mixologists are equally adept at Botanical, which is just across the road from the gardens, and Zhou Zhou Bar & Lounge, a vibrant drinking den above the Oriental Tea House. If you’re after Australian wines, try wine bar South Press, where the staff will be more than happy to guide you towards a few under-the-radar vintages.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this beautifully designed hotel in South Yarra and unpacked their Cherry Ripe chocolate bars and coffee beans, a full account of their Australian city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside United Places Botanic Gardens in Melbourne…
United Places Botanic Gardens has enough sartorial eye-candy to fill a metaphorical sweet-shop: picture plush velvet curtains, moody charcoal-tinted mirrors, glittering brass light fittings, hardwood parquet floors and curvilinear Spanish furniture courtesy of Patricia Urquiola. The architecture is just as dashing: a modern medley of concrete, glass and brass that sits in dramatic contrast with its serene, green South Yarra setting. Hats off to the Carr Design Group, whose previous successes include Smith-favourite Jackalope in the Mornington Peninsula. The team has scored another home-run in Melbourne; it’s hard to pick a best bit, when a Scott Pickett–captained restaurant, prime city views, access to the Botanic Gardens, luxurious extras and flawless styling count among components.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in United Places Botanic Gardens’s Guestbook below.
The design, the view from the balcony, the sense that it is an Appartment with all the convenance of a hotel with fantastic staff.
A bar or comunal spaces. It is very private.
Stayed on 1 Jan 2019
You’ll also find United Places Botanic Gardens in: