Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street opens with a blast from the past

After a prolonged absence, the return of the flagship brand of the Hilton (that'd be the Hilton itself) to Melbourne feels like a blast from the past wrapped inside an even greater blast from the city's own illustrious past.

Eschewing the studied funkiness of flash newcomers such as the W Melbourne, the Ovolo South Yarra and Next at 80 Collins Place, the new 244-room, Bates Smart-designed Hilton Melbourne on Little Queen Street in the CBD is partly housed in the splendidly restored early 1930s Equity Chambers building.

Once the elegant inter-war Romanesque-style home of Equity Trustees, as well as the chambers of venerable law firms, the heritage building is sympathetically teamed with a contemporary 16-storey tower, the rooms of which opened earlier this year.

In between is a grand atrium-style space, surely one of Australia's most striking hotel public areas. It houses Luci, the Hilton's signature Italian eatery, and leads to the Douglas Club, the intimate in-house bar spread across two rooms.

Now a quintet of stately Manhattan-esque, Queensland maple-panelled suites, starting at a generous 55 square metres, are also ready to receive their first guests from June 1 inside the elegant Equity Chambers fronting Bourke Street.

These suites, one of which was used as a legal fraternity boardroom, can be reached via a restored 1930s elevator and there's even a downloaded self-guided history tour that can be downloaded by interested guests.

But far from staid, the Hilton's developers, in a confident nod to the present, funked it right up by commissioning an enormous street art-style mural on a wall in the laneway (Little Queen Street) right opposite the discreet reception.

Tower rooms from $329 a night; heritage suites from $450.

See melbournelittlequeenstreet.hilton.com

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