A design-centric new hotel in Melbourne comes with butler service and Le Labo bath amenities.

By Zachary Coppola
August 03, 2018
Credit: Courtesy of United Places

Melbourne has often been called one of the most livable cities on earth. Despite being Australia’s second largest city, it has an almost bucolic feel, and tourists flock there for a taste of its many cultural and culinary experiences — last year the city had 2.8 million visitors, according to Tourism Research Australia. Yet for years, the hotel scene was lacking something. Plenty of high-end hotel brands had made their mark on Melbourne, but travelers on the hunt for a luxurious, locally owned boutique property came up short.

Credit: Courtesy of United Places

Enter the new United Places Botanic Gardens, the passion project of local developer David Rubenstein. Set against the lush backdrop of South Yarra’s Royal Botanic Gardens, the 12-suite property is an indulgent yet understated home away from home. Guests are guaranteed the celebrity treatment: Each suite has a dedicated butler to provide round-the-clock service, share insider knowledge, and assist in trip planning. A decadent in-room breakfast is a given, but should you crave a romantic meal al fresco or a night on the town, your butler is at the ready to plan it all.

The hotel's aesthetic is one of quiet luxury, more about providing guests the ultimate in comfort and relaxation than over-the-top opulence. The modernist concrete façade is clean-lined and unobtrusive; inside, each of the nine one-bedroom suites and three two-bedroom suites has a distinct look and feel, but all come with oversized tubs, sinuous velvet sofas, private terraces, and tony amenities like Le Labo Santal 33 bath products and award-winning Sullivan’s Cove whiskey in the minibar. At the restaurant Matilda, local star Scott Pickett cooks contemporary Australian fare (think kangaroo tartare with fermented peppers and smoked crab with prawn butter) over an open fire.

Credit: Courtesy of United Places

Despite the lengthy list of amenities, United Places' greatest strength is its location, a literal stone's throw from one of Australia’s most magnificent green spaces. After you've explored the Royal Botanic Gardens, don't miss South Yarra's other highlights, like the National Gallery of Victoria and French bistro Entrecôte South Yarra, or spend a day wandering Melbourne’s action-packed Central Business District (CBD). It's just ten minutes away by car, but if you've got time to spare, take the scenic route: a two-mile stroll through the Botanic Gardens and over the Princes Bridge.

Our series Reasons to Travel Now highlights the news, events, and openings that have us scoping out plane tickets each day.