Quite the QT
Stay at any QT property and you might easily conclude “Q” stands for “quirky” – from burlesque-inspired door staff to eclectic decor and playful menus, the wall-to-wall eccentricity is in contrast to most mainstream hotels. With the group’s seventh hotel recently opened in the heart of Melbourne’s bustling theatre district, a rich tradition of battering guests’ senses into wondrous, willing submission continues. Yet the purpose-built 11-storey hotel on the site of a former cinema complex seems to have grown up a little. Not yet into functioning maturity, mind; still a teenager with an eye to a ribald prank or two. Take the toilets in the first-floor restaurant, Pascale Bar & Grill, which are slathered with wallpaper featuring nude male and female torsos, or the portraits in the conference rooms of world leaders with their faces daubed in spray-paint. Step into a lift and the disembodied voice of a Frenchwoman offers saucy observations that are sure to shatter any awkward silence.
Details count at QT Melbourne, and they’re everywhere; in the three-dimensional works assembled by art curator Amanda Love and the stunning design of the common spaces by Nic Graham. Even inside the wardrobes in the Shelley Indyk-designed rooms – some more on that later. A towering staircase dominates the fashionably dim foyer, but curious eyes will pick out the ‘book wall’ lining the stairs: a 5.5-metre-high art installation comprising 7172 actual books (above). Intriguing sofas, arresting artwork and sharply attired staff all jostle for attention. Ascending the grand staircase, the exquisite design of the bar (below) adjacent to Pascale is intended to evoke an Alexander Wang handbag – we are not joking – while the restaurant draws Gallic inspiration from the children’s book Pascale And The Red Balloon, a personal favourite of QT group managing director David Seargeant’s children. The menu puts a welcome Euro spin on some old faves, but save space for the sweet stuff. Our ‘rustic chocolate stove’, one of many intricately assembled dessert treats by Alain Ducasse-trained head pastry chef Youssef Aderdour, lingers in the memory long after the agreeably hefty cut of rib-eye that preceded it.
Both Pascale, on the first floor, and Rooftop, with a near-180-degree skyline view, are open to guests and the public alike. The latter (below) hums along from 4.30pm until 1am, fuelled by a lush cocktail list that includes the QT’s unusually sweet version of the classic G&T, plus a terrifically tasty Old Fashioned.
Amid this sensory overload, it’s possible to miss the details of your own room. Industrially themed with polished concrete ceilings and fittings, it also is filled with fascinating objets d’art, such as a black wardrobe that is quilted on the outside and illuminated inside to reveal startlingly funky wallpaper. Several intriguing consumables are offered in the neon-blue-hued mini bar.
Start the next morning with an à la carte selection from Pascale’s breakfast menu. And don’t miss grabbing coffee and one of Aderdour’s pastries from The Cake Shop in the corner of the foyer. They’ll help you cope with an outside world that suddenly feels just a little dull in comparison.