You may also like these photo galleries
Notel, Harper Lane and Flinders Lane, Melbourne
A haven for instagrammers, six authentic, gleaming silver American airstream trailers from the '70s frame a 'trailer park' sitting atop a low roof in the heart of Melbourne's CBD. For tongue-in-cheek authenticity and simplicity, the park's floor is made of bright red turf dotted with potted cacti, each trailer with its own individual terrace, US license plate for room number and white plastic settee, from which to exchange pleasantries with neighbours over a sundowner. The space is bordered by high rises, the perfect canvas for splashes of vivid colour from Melbourne's abstract artist-to-the-festivals Ash Keating, and Flinders Lane beckons below. The silver trailers act like mirrors, making for some sensational photo opportunities, putting Notel in line to be the next most instagrammed spot in Melbourne.
Surprisingly roomy within, the freshly-painted interiors are bright white, with playful splashes of coral pink and grey on the bedding, cushions and the sliding door leading to the ensuite bathroom, which is similarly spacious. Remember, airstreams were not normally fitted with bathrooms, and special thought has gone into the plumbing, with a blissful rain shower head, and high-end Malin and Goetz toiletries. On the flipside, there's none of the staples usually provided by hotels, such as a hairdryer, robes or extra towels.
Perch on the pink cushions found on bench space that lines either side of the caravan, before falling into the double bed, a firm-but-comfy mattress slotted into the top end of the trailer. You can stow your luggage in a specially made space under the bed. And there's plenty of powerpoints and USB ports for charging appliances.
An oversized iPad is your entertainment unit. You can mount the ipad to the wall or the ceiling to watch Netflix in bed; although when I tried, the angle it wanted to rest at was 180 degrees flat, instead of tilting towards your head.
Heating and cooling the airstream is easily controlled from a remote-control split-system air conditioning unit, which blows from a vent located under the bench space. There's also plenty of bedding supplied for cold Melbourne winter nights.
Importantly, a minibar contains Victorian branded gin, French champagne , locally made chocolate, chips and popcorn, included in the room rate.
The emphasis Notel owners place on this accommodation being self-contained encourages visitors not to linger too long in its space; there are no provisions for tea and coffee, no stove, kettle or microwave, so die-hard coffee fans will have to step out in the morning to get their fill - at least until the coffee shop opens downstairs. Similarly, there's no bar on the premises, and a small fridge in the van is enough to keep your water and a few drinks chilled.
If you're new to Melbourne, the iPad provides you with a few specially selected places popular with locals. Nearby coffee shops such as Dukes and Market Lane are given the nod, and restaurants Mamasita, Chin Chin and Supernormal are also mapped out.
How to get there
Notel is intentionally difficult to find. You'll be provided with an address, although entry into the park requires some nous. You will be provided with clues.
Once booked in, your confirmation email will instruct you to download an app called JustIN. Your room number will be sent to you via text message long before your arrival. You must have a smartphone with bluetooth switched on to operate the 'locks'.
Given its massive instagram-ability, Notel is the perfect place for groups looking for a fun place to stay for an occasion, a quirky party location or a novelty accommodation spot for tourists.
Who doesn't want to experience a night in an authentic 70s airstream? Especially one that is embellished with an ensuite, mini bar, heating and cooling in an unbeatable location. Novelty factor alone should draw a steady stream of visitors.
The price. At $400 a night, one might want to skip the novelty factor in favour of an actual hotel which offers facilities such as a gym, pool, concierge etc.
Notel, corner of Harper Lane and Flinders Lane, Melbourne. Rooms start from $395 per night.
The writer was a guest of Visit Victoria