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Above the City Skyline

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July, 2023

The tallest hotel in Australia, the views overlooking all of Melbourne at 80 floors up are simply breath-taking.

Nine years in the making, The Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne is a stand-out new hotel and dining destination in Australia. Located on 20 floors of one of four 80-story towers in the evolving western area of inner city Melbourne, the hotel opened recently in March 2023 to much anticipation.

The 5 star luxury hotel certainly doesn’t disappoint. With stunning vistas over the city, a fine dining restaurant in house (Atria, led by Executive Chef Michael Greenlaw) and top-notch hospitality as expected from the Ritz-Carlton brand. Set over 20 floors of the high-rise building, there are 257 suites in total, along with day spa, pool, gym, ballroom and event spaces. 

Designed by Australian architectural firm Cottee Parker, with interior design led by Melbourne and Madrid-based BAR Studio, the hotel feels like a world away from the bustling city 280 metres below. The experience at 80 floors above can ignite new perspectives and total relaxation and rejuvenation. Isn’t that what we all want from a luxury hotel offering? We also expect quality in every aspect – design, dining and service – which the hotel aims to deliver. And for those that want more? There is the members-only The Ritz-Carlton Club lounge on the 79th floor.

Part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of hotel brands, this is the second The Ritz-Carlton in Australia, following the first already operating in Perth. 

Guests arrive to check-in on the 80th floor of the building | Photography Peter Bennetts
Hints of gold and timber accompany stone and marble in the hotel interior design | Photography Peter Bennetts

ART

There’s a celebration of art found throughout the hotel, which starts profoundly on the ground floor (with Indigenous artworks from artists such as Maree Clarke and Christian Thompson AO) and subtly concludes on the top floor (with Ross Gardam’s Hemera desk lamp at the entrance of the restaurant, Atria).

Both Australian and international artists are represented, cementing the global identity of the hotel brand (by art consultant Chapman & Bailey, with art and accessories by consultant Anna Flanders).

Upon entry, a bronze cast traditional ‘Wurundjeri welcome necklace’ acts as the hotel’s own welcome to place, the handles of the door that bell-boys greet each visitor with. Giving respect to Indigenous land, by communicating their custom in an artistic way.

Esteemed French designer Mathieu Lehanneur’s intriguing ‘liquid’ blue stone sculpture (representing a whirlpool of water) greets guests underneath a handmade Lasvit glass chandelier, along with a colourful Reko Rennie custom artwork. On the first floor’s event spaces, a grand chandelier designed by Mark Douglass with Geoff Nees designing the ballroom’s decorative ceiling.

Indigenous Australian artworks feature throughout the hotel | Photography Champ Magazine©
Rooms feature a paired-back design with all the luxury comforts guests expect | Photography Peter Bennetts

DESIGN

Almost the entirety of the hotel’s interior design has been executed by BAR Studio, with design studio Layan overseeing the restaurant design.

The sense of discovery walking through Melbourne’s laneways has been a North Star of sorts for the design by BAR Studio. It’s what makes Melbourne so unique, and the feeling somewhat translates on the 80th floor where a 360 degree walk around the level allows guests to walk through and view Melbourne from every angle.

Warm tones made through the use of natural materials and numerous artworks present a consciously-designed elegance. The ashy-toned timber veneer found in most conservative luxury hotels is also found here, juxtaposed with gold detailing nearby. The design by BAR is intended to reflect the city’s past and present, and it also hits the brief of what is currently still expected from The Ritz-Carlton brand experience.

Rooms feature a paired-back design with all the luxury comforts guests expect | Photography Elise Hassey

THE ROOMS

With 257 suites, a consistent palette of neutral tones is found throughout rooms with darker tones in the hallways leading to them.

In-room, the expected luxuries are all here, a floating-on-a-cloud bed, dedicated desk space, dining table and walk-in double closet. A separate bathroom is part of the considered bathroom design, with a central bath-tub and walk-in shower for two.

Floor-to-ceiling glass windows present a changing landscape which inadvertently acts as an artwork for the room. With our room at 75 floors high, we were able to view the ever-changing weather patterns in the sky reflecting on the city below.

An infinity pool in an oasis-like setting | Photography Peter Bennetts

GYM, POOL & SPA

The North-facing infinity pool is a serene oasis for guests looking to unwind and relax on day-beds overlooking the cityscape.

Both pool and gym are open to guests to enjoy anytime of the day or night, accessible 24 hours a day. With the latest Technogym equipment and a dedicated room for yoga, the gym quickly became a highlight of the hotel. Although still using plastic water bottles in the space (we hope they transition to filter tap soon), the gym is well-equipped with the best in the Technogym state-of-the-art series.

The pool and gym conveniently share the floor with the The Ritz-Carlton Spa. Using locally sourced botanicals, the spa champions the rose otto essential oil in treatments for its high-vibrational qualities in wellness. As we were informed by Lara Mears-Dagan the hotel’s PR, out of the entire plant kingdom, the rose reigns supreme with a 320MHz vibration (a detail that we absolutely love!). Using high quality British beauty brand ESPA in the spa, treatments are pure heaven but require reservations in advance.

Found in separate gender-specific changing room areas is the sauna, steam room and cosy vitality pool with 3 different hydrotherapy offerings. A cold-therapy ice fountain is a delight to use in-between sessions.

Atria restaurant on the 80th floor overlooking Melbourne city | Photography Champ Magazine©

RESTAURANT & BAR

Led by Executive Chef Michael Greenlaw (whom was previously at the celebrated and Michelin-starred Melbourne restaurant Vue du Monde), the hotel’s restaurant Atria presents hyper-local ingredients in innovative and intricate ways. Greenlaw personally knows the best suppliers in the state, and brings his wealth of knowledge and experience to the restaurant which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner by reservation.

The Ritz-Carlton Melbourne is set 80 floors above Melbourne overlooking its diverse cityscape | Photography Jason Loucas

A free diver and spearfisher in his spare time, Greenlaw is able to point out his diving spots on the Port Phillip bay in the distance. As far as the eye can see, he’s also able to show where other seafood is sourced on the Mornington Peninsula. Supporting local suppliers is something Greenlaw and his team do with great respect. From the Victorian black truffles (from supplier Friend and Burrell) to sustainable seafood supplied by Two Hands.

The handcrafted custom knives for the restaurant are by MD Knives (Mathieu Dechamps) based nearby in the Dandenong Ranges and custom tableware in various forms is by Melbourne-based ceramic artist Iona from Cone11. For us this is the type of curation that elevates a dining experience from good to great.

Ross Gardam lighting sculpture in the Atria restaurant, sitting atop repurposed mother-of-pearl tiling | Photography Champ Magazine©

Working toward complete sustainability in the restaurant, Melbourne water is filtered by a Nordaq system (used by Michelin-starred restaurants worldwide) which provides pure still or sparkling water for guests. A composting system is in the works, with Greenlaw and his team already implementing no-waste ethos in their fermentation of off-cuts (making sourdough miso, pumpkin seed miso and a fennel and honey ‘garum’ of sorts, a liquid seasoning).

In the Atria kitchen, Japanese dried persimmons (Hoshigaki) hang as they continue to dry, made by Atria’s fermentation expert Jen Kwok Lee.

Executive Chef Michael Greenlaw collaborated on these custom knives with Melbourne-based knife maker | Photography Champ Magazine©

Sitting along the Victorian ash counter, the natural sunlight floods in as it creates silhouettes on tableware from the reflecting glassware. Named after the brightest star in the southern constellation, Triangulum Australe, Atria is truly a precious gem in the hotel’s crown.

Atria led by Executive Chef Michael Greenlaw | Photography Champ Magazine©
Atria led by Executive Chef Michael Greenlaw | Photography Champ Magazine©
Atria led by Executive Chef Michael Greenlaw | Photography Champ Magazine©
Atria led by Executive Chef Michael Greenlaw | Photography Champ Magazine©
Atria restaurant, on the 80th floor of The Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne | Photography Champ Magazine©

THE VERDICT

Uninterrupted views across Melbourne make this hotel one of the most desirable luxury hotels in the city, a welcome addition to Melbourne’s already stellar hospitality offering.

There’s nothing better than starting one’s day with these sky-high experiences.

Atria restaurant, on the 80th floor of The Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne | Photography Champ Magazine©

The Ritz-Carlton Melbourne
650 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, 
Victoria 3000, 
Australia

For more Australia destinations, click here.
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Text: Editor-in-Chief Monique Kawecki
Images: As credited, The Ritz-Carlton Melbourne and Champ Magazine©

July, 2023