Quirky, creative and fresh on the scene, The Larwill Studio in North Melbourne has already made quite a splash, living up to the standards we’ve come to expect from the fabulous Art Series Hotel Group.
If you’re not familiar with the Art Series hotels, allow me to break it on down for you. Each hotel in the collection is named, inspired and themed after a contemporary Australian artist. How awesome is that? The artist’s works are celebrated in rooms and corridors, and their story is conveyed by passionate staff and through the whole guest experience. There are dedicated art TV and iPad channels, art tours, art utensils and art literature all around the arty space, which was designed with the namesake artist as muse. Phew! It’s just an arty art art party.
The Larwill Studio is the sixth in the collection, and I was invited to stay in this beautiful tribute to the late David Larwill shortly after it opened in late 2014. His colourful works decorate every available space, injecting a rather endearing and loveable energy and vibrancy to the hotel – an aura, the staff will tell you, the man himself was known to exude.
Larwill once said, “I just wanted to paint and I wanted people to smile when they looked at my paintings.” Well, consider that goal achieved, my good man.
‘Remember Me’ is the name of the HUGE piece that welcomes you as you step into the lobby. How could we forget! Larwill’s love of bold bright colour is there in all its glory, and at any given time you’ll find a gaggle of admirers beneath it, stopped in their tracks, gazing upward, spellbound. Possibly experiencing a private, very spiritual moment.
The hotel’s design is the perfect backdrop for such powerful and stirring pieces of art. Most of the lobby is tastefully decked out in subtle, muted hues, corridors are painted black (KAPOW goes the artwork), and bedlinen is crisp white with a burst of colour injected via a cushion and throw. It all enables the colour and spirit of the art to radiate from the adorned walls to captivating effect.
Modelled on Larwill’s actual studio, rooms are called workspaces, hotel info is displayed on pegboards and staff wear full-length aprons. But don’t let the references to ‘work’ fool you. This space is about mindfulness, and letting art help you enjoy the therapy of contemplation, creation and positive thinking. It’s all terribly Zen. The concept of wellness is deeply embedded in the experience, with dedicated yoga channels and in-room yoga mats, meditation guides and a gym. The hotel manager will even take you for a morning run around the surrounding parklands, if you so desire.
The ‘Workspaces’ offer King or Twin Beds, with views of either the surrounding parklands or Melbourne’s cityscape, the latter providing an outlook that can prove to be a bit of a time-waster, it’s so darn mesmerising.
The playful vibe continues to be on show in the rooms, with fluoro industrial-inspired lighting sconces, a pegboard for a bedhead, and a quote from Larwill, “Put your heart in it” motivating me from my pillowcase.
Every room exhibits two large Larwill giclee prints and a private collection of arty literature. There are some lovely in-room comforts – my favourite being a coffee-pod machine and EVO products.
GO HERE IF
You’re an art lover, or you just want an invigorating take on a hotel stay.
SIX WORD SUMMARY
Refreshing, youthful, colourful; A happy place.
The Art Series Hotel Group has its own in-house clever creatives that design the interiors of these spectacular hotels.
See artserieshotels.com.au for more.
IN THE ‘HOOD
This ‘hood is teeming with attractions, though it may not seem that way at first glance. The hotel is perfectly poised to access Melbourne Zoo, Flemington Racecourse, and all the laneway-delights of the CBD just down the road. Fitzroy, Carlton and North Melbourne have faaaaaabulous eateries on offer. My picks being Auction Rooms for brekky, The Town Mouse for dinner, and The Carlton Wine Room for a nightcap.
Getting around is a breeze in one of the CUTE Smart Cars available for hire from the hotel.
From $155 per night.