Hotel Chadstone Melbourne: Five-star, $130 million shopping centre hotel opens

More so than your average shopping centre, Chadstone can feel inescapable.

Cars crawl through its 10,000-capacity carpark, agitating to visit the shopping centre's 640 stores. Over 24 million visitors pass through each year.

With the opening of Melbourne's first five-star hotel outside the inner city in Chadstone on Friday, the complex has moved a step closer to its co-owner's vision in which nobody needs to ever leave.

General manager Neil Scanlan said the $130 million, 250-room MGallery hotel is the result of three years of collaboration with Chadstone co-owner John Gandel to move the area, 17 kilometres east of Melbourne CBD, towards an "integrated lifestyle destination, not just a shopping centre".

"The hotel is a critical part of making sure that there is life in this centre for 24 hours," said Mr Scanlan.

It's equipped to be a standalone experience for individuals. There's a wellness centre, high-grade Australian-Italian restaurant, Pastore, by chef Scott Pickett, and 12th-floor rooftop bar that are all open to the public.

Those who book into the hotel can enjoy exclusive access to the pool, also on the 12th floor, where Balinese-style cabanas and recliners offer views spanning from Port Phillip Bay to the shopping centre's grey domes and carpark.

Then there's the "Chaddy" holy grail: a confirmed parking spot under the hotel.

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Meagan Gate, the hotel's marketing director, called the hotel-shopping centre pairing "a very international concept".

"I think Australians will take a while to figure it out. But if you go to Singapore, or Hong Kong, or any of these big cities internationally, seeing this type of concept is very familiar."

Around 500,000 annual shopping centre visitors come from overseas, many to shop for luxury labels.

But Mr Scanlan said the hotel's main target market remained domestic shoppers.

"I think what we're seeing already is there is a strong demand domestically. People who are in that 2- or 3-hour drive market, within Victoria, will actually come here because it's not a one-day venture to go to Chadstone. You can go to the movies, eat, go shopping again" he said.

"Internationally, yes it's there, but it's not ever going to be a major part of the business."

Each room has a custom Chadstone tote bag. Guests are offered a shopping concierge service, where the hotel collects your purchases or a stylist shops for you then delivers the clothes to your room. The property also features two $1600-a-night penthouses. Standard rooms start from $269 a night.

Mr Scanlan said the hotel also aimed to fill a void in conference and event facilities in the south-eastern suburbs, with nine meeting spaces and a 350-person ballroom (with reinforced windows to block noise from eight-lane Dandenong Road).

"There's a very large corporate base that has traditionally travelled into the city centre to stay," he said, adding that the hotel hopes to become the go-to event space for shopping centre big-hitters such as Tesla.

Most important in a project like this were the "linkages" between the shopping centre and hotel, according to Mr Scanlon, headlined by the series of travelators can transport guests from the lobby to the shops in about 90 seconds.

Construction began in May 2018 and has been completed in time for this year's Christmas rush. Mr Scanlan said the hotel had already seen a spike in bookings for Christmas Day leading into Boxing Day.

"They'll wake up early on Boxing Day, have a nice breakfast here and boom, they're over there for the sales."

Ms Gate also enthused on Chadstone's 36-hour non-stop trading window before Christmas

"You could sleep, swim, get a drink then go and shop at 2am. I mean, how good, right?"

See also: The 10 great shopping destinations for people who hate shopping

See also: Four roller coasters, more than 500 stores: Inside America's biggest mall

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