VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, 2021-Nov-30 — /Travel PR News/ — One of Melbourne’s finest historic hotels, Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne, has been reimagined with a modern look that pays homage to its turn-of-the-century origins.
The 340-room hotel, centrally located on Melbourne’s bustling Flinders Street, has just completed a multi-million-dollar refurbishment program that has seen the lobby, restaurant and 320 hotel rooms transformed. Importantly, the hotel’s interior designers were also tasked with ensuring there was design continuity between the hotel’s heritage tower (built in 1912) and the newer CTA wing (built in 1922 and extended in the 1990s).
Penny del Castillo from Studio del Castillo (formerly In Design International) said the building’s architectural features, the elegance and grandeur of the public spaces set the style for the design whilst modern technology – including digitally printed, carved carpets and 3D printed wallpaper designed to look like trompe l’oeil – were used to deliver on brief.
“In designs like these, there has to be an element of understanding and respect for what’s gone before,” she said. “So, ours was not an attitude of seek and destroy. Rather, we salvaged what we could of the original features – like the lovely stained-glass windows in the Travellers’ Lounge – to get the absolute best end result.”
The whole idea, Penny says, was to make the guest feel like a part of history… with all the mod-cons.
“We were over the moon with the possibilities when presented the opportunity to “do over” almost the entire hotel room stock^,” she said. “And we jumped at the chance to turn the F&B space into a dining destination that would do Melbourne proud.”
Natural lighting and local photography feature strongly in rooms that are designed to exude a certain elegance and decadence of bygone times. Think plush, quilted velvet headboards, custom-designed, multi-purpose desks and beautiful detail in the mirrors and soft furnishings.
Guest feedback was also considered as swing doors on the bathroom were replaced with barn doors for a more efficient use of the functional space available. A brass track system added a touch of luxury to the design theme.
The lead-in ‘Commerce Room’ category pays homage to the Commercial Travellers Association who commissioned the original building in 1912. The 22sqm rooms, which feature contemporary design yet retain their old-world charm, start from $189/night. The hotel’s Yarra View Perkins rooms feature hints of brass and marble, and offer a sense of intimate luxury, whilst at the other end of the scale, the spacious 50sqm Tompkins Master Suite boasts a living room, master bedroom with king bed and spacious bathrooms and retail at $489/night.
In the kitchen, Executive Chef Gianni Pisu is crafting a modern menu to match the rebranded 110-seat* Mr Tompkins restaurant, which is scheduled to open in Feb next year.
Giovanni left his family restaurant in Sardinia Italy on a journey to taste and cook with all the flavours of Europe. In an effort to learn English, he moved to London where he made his mark working as a Head Chef at Jamie Oliver in London. Whilst working at Jamie Oliver is one of Giovanni’s proudest achievements in his career, he has also had another brush with fame being part of one of the finalist teams on Gordon Ramsey’s show “Best Restaurant in Italy”. Chef Pisu joins Rendezvous direct from Crown Plaza Auckland.
In-house guests can take advantage of in room service; visit The Travellers Bar (open Thursday to Saturday), or indulge in the Rendezvous’ famous High Tea service, which is is available on Saturdays and Sundays.
TFE Hotels’ Group Chief Operating Officer, Chris Sedgwick, said that whilst the tourism sector in Victoria had been hit hard by Covid restrictions, the addition of the refurbished Rendezvous Melbourne to the city’s room stock, would be a strong part of Melbourne’s recovery story.
“”There’s been a lot of hard work that’s gone into this project under, what has been, extremely trying conditions,” he said. “And we look forward to welcoming back our loyal guests who love the Rendezvous for its superb location, the grandeur of the hotel and the friendly hospitality of our team, alongside new customers who want to come back and experience the romance of Melbourne city post lockdown.”
The Rendezvous Melbourne is owned by Far East Hospitality and operated by TFE (Toga Far East) Hotels. In line with the Melbourne refurb, the Singaporean-owned Rendezvous brand is also set to undergo a staged brand refresh in Australia, which will see a new-look logo, colour palette and ad campaign designed to inspire guests to connect with the city.
^20 x Heritage Hotel Rooms were restored in 2015.
*These numbers do not take into account Covid restrictions in Melbourne.
A brief history of the building…
- The Commercial Travellers Association Building was designed by architect Harry Tompkins in 1912 and completed in 1913. It is one of the finest and most distinct expressions of the Edwardian Baroque style in Melbourne. This grand classical non-domestic style, featuring a combination of Beaux Arts Classicism with a revival of English Baroque sources, was adopted as the style of choice for department stores and other large commercial establishments in Melbourne in the first two decades of the 20th Century.
- The building was the winning entry in a competition organised by the Association and judged by the well-respected Percy Oakden, an indication of the high regard in which the building was held by Harry Tompkins’ architect peers.
- The Commercial Travellers Association Building is of architectural significance for several innovations, such as the use of welded wire reinforcing mesh, perhaps the first use of such material in Victoria, and “Mack” slab cement partitions, the only known use of this technology in Victoria. It was also one of Australia’s earliest steel framed buildings. It comprises a basement and nine storeys. The ground floor is faced with granite. The facade above is partially rendered and partially faced with (formerly) cream glazed bricks. An unusual feature, the choice of such bricks was used to combat discolouration caused by pollution from the busy city thoroughfare and the nearby railway yards opposite. The rendered areas are treated in an ornate fashion, with exaggerated classical detailing including foliated swags, medallions, and cartouches. It features a colonnade of the second floor (also known as a piano nobile), which is supported on massive, oversized consoles. Consoles also support the cornice surmounting the facade. Oriel windows rise through the second and third floors and are topped with balconettes. There are also balconettes on the eighth floor.
- Leadlight is featured in some of the windows, mainly at the lower levels. The building is an early example of steel-framed construction, with reinforced concrete floors and a combination of terra cotta lumber and cement slab for non-structural internal walls.
- The building also boasted equipment such as a built-in vacuum cleaning plant, electrically heated service lifts, potato peeling machines, telephones in each room (the height of opulent luxury), a dish washing machine and large electric toaster. The building was also the tallest in Melbourne until the construction of the Manchester Unity Building, completed in 1932, and the first to be constrained to the new city height limit of one hundred and thirty-two feet.
- The building ceased functioning as the Commercial Travellers Association club in 1976 and fell into disrepair before being partially restored as the Duxton Hotel in the late 1990s. When commercial viability saw the Duxton close its doors, the Rendezvous Hospitality Group took on the project of meticulously restoring the hotel, retaining the elegant style of the early 1900s while providing guests with all the convenience of the 21st Century; what today is known as the Rendezvous Melbourne
What’s in a name: Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne can be shortened to Rendezvous Melbourne after first use.
Image Gallery: https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/t2hL7RYR6w
Opening special: Romance the City with a stay in a beautifully refurbished Commerce room and $50 F&B credit per stay, complimentary self-parking and a 1pm late check out for those that love a lie in from $228.40.
The Rendezvous brand by Far East Hospitality embraces romance – of the past, the present, and life. The brand inspires conventional travellers to connect with the city, explore the culture, and create moments to cherish for the rest of their lives.
Rendezvous’ well-sited hotels, imbued with old-world charm, offer guests an ideal base to connect with the city and encounter the best that it has to offer. Each stay becomes a deep dive into culture that make the world a fascinating place to fall in love with. When life is romanced, guests transport themselves from the mundane every day to re-connect with their inner selves and awaken their wanderlust as the world comes alive with the sights and sounds of the arts, culture, heritage, and shopping surrounding each property.
TFE Hotels (Director of Communications)
+61 499 900 658
Source: TFE Hotels