I stayed in the Olsen for about a week in December 2013.
Good central location, just off the Melbourne equivalent of "the King's Road."
The hotel is stylish and is trying hard to be hip/trendy... My local colleagues described it as a place where trendy people go to shop and spend money.
I thought the hotel was relatively modern, clean, and stylish... Clearly trying hard to be hip/trendy. It has a small lobby with helpful staff whose uniforms include matching jewelry that coordinates with the hotel's interior ... We'll the owner is an artist so they clearly put thought into these little but noticeable details.... Speaking of which, there was interesting artwork throughout the building, as well as in the room, and plenty of art books, which I appreciated.
The room itself was fine and the bed was very comfortable. It's not the 4 Seasons, but it's not the Courtyard Marriott either.
I was in a "1 bed studio," which is basically a hotel room with a kitchenette (induction cooktop, microwave, kettle, and sink). The room was a good size and it was great to have a kettle, mini-fridge, sink and microwave.... Made morning coffee and warming snacks very easy.... So both a time and money saver.
I was there for work so I did not see any sights, other than several of the local cafés, which are in abundance in the surrounding neighborhood. There are some very good breakfast places close by, with great salads and sandwiches for lunch, and baristas with impressive skills -- cappuccinos were works of art. There is also a shopping center almost directly across the street that includes a large grocery store, home made pasta store (if I could have figured out how to make the induction cooktop work I would have tried this option, but there were no instructions and it took until last day to figure it out). The shopping center also includes a fresh fruit and veg store, pizza place, and a large Woolworth's on the second floor. Having this across the street made it very convenient grab something quick for dinner and/ breakfast the next morning.
Paying A$10 per day for Internet seemed very last century for a hotel that is trying so hard to be trendy. Still, once paid for, the internet connection was pretty good - I measured it a synchronous 5Mbit/sec (up and down), which is pretty unusual.
The RFID room keys are a nice touch, but the check-in staff does not explain how they work in the elevator.... During my stay, on at least 5 occasions, I met a confused person in the elevator who could not figure out how to make the elevator work properly and consequently ended up going down when they wanted to go up, or vice-versa.
Housekeeping was a bit cheap with the towels (2 total per room) and did not return /refresh the hand towels or washcloths after the first day. When I used a robe it was taken away and not refreshed, so that by the time I checked out, there were no robes in the room (started with 2x), no hand towel, and no washcloth.
One day I worked in the room until about noon and when housekeeping knocked I told them I was still in the room and needed a bit more time. I left between noon and 1pm and returned after 8pm but the room was not serviced. Disappointing.
The drain in my sink backed up if the water was on for more than 30-45 seconds (e.g. When brushing teeth or shaving), but was fixed when I notified the front desk (although I was a bit put off by the note left maintenance staff that said the drain was fine all along and did not back up... All I know is that it did not work before they were there and it worked great after they were there. So I was happy that it was fixed for the second half of my stay.
The lighting in the room was very poor if you wanted to get any work done at the tiny desk. Although there are halogen bulbs in the ceiling, there are not any over the desk area (perhaps to avoid glare on TV). The desk has a stylish looking (but useless from a functionality POV) lamp that featuring a low light output compact-fluorescent bulb lamp... It's a good example of "form over function" that tend to trip up designer hotels... Looked great but was Inadequate for reading or doing much computer work. An additional / more powerful working / reading lamp would have been welcomed. Strangely, I also had three light bulbs burn out on me during the week I was there. That's never happened before in a hotel.
All the above was pretty minor, and in general the hotel was very good. But the one thing that really bothered me was the persistent strange smell in the bathroom that seemed to be coming from the HVAC system, as though it had not been cleaned in a while... Things grow in a moist environment life ducting over a shower.... I can't really describe other than it smelled like the insides of an electric toothbrush (e.g. Sonicare) that has not been scrubbed out in a while. This was a bit off-putting in the morning, especially if bathroom door has been closed during the night.
All-in-all (apart from the strange smell) it was pretty good for my purposes. As I said, I was there for work and spent most of my time in an office, or working at the too-small desk in the room. For my purposes it was fine. However I am not sure I would stay at the Olsen if I were on holiday.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set on Melbourne’s prestigious Chapel Street, The Olsen Hotel offers travelers premier South Yarra accommodation with 229 elegant five-star suites that are infused with the lyrical works of revered Australian Landscape artist Dr John Olsen. Breathtaking mural and sculpture greet you on arrival and large prints adorn all hallways and suites. This boutique Melbourne hotel is complimented by a day spa and two delicious restaurants; you will be reveling in the Art of [Creature Comforts]. At The Olsen Hotel, one can sleep soundly on Art Series Signature bedding, plunge into the spectacular glass bottom pool with Chapel Street shoppers below, work out in our state-of-the-art gymnasium or step out for some retail therapy. These South Yarra accommodations offer plentiful natural light and are thoughtfully appointed with 42” flatscreen televisions, wireless internet access and complete kitchenettes.For a longer stay settle into an exclusive art inspired residential suite.Olsen is regarded as one of Australia’s greatest living painters and won the Archibald Prize in 2005 for his portrait Self Portrait Janus Faced.Experience Olsen’s charm, wit and passion for life. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Art Series - The Olsen Hotel Melbourne