The Olsen Hotel Experience

The Olsen Hotel, Art Series Hotel Group
The Olsen Hotel

There are a lot of reasons to visit Melbourne and I’ve long known the Art Series Hotel Group as one of the most innovative art centric vision in their properties in Melbourne.

This time I was lucky enough to spend the night at The Olsen Hotel. I recently checked in to their Sunday Funday package, arriving just in time for a delightful bottle of sparkling wine waiting my arrival in the Deluxe Studio Suite. The package also includes free WIFI and a late checkout of 1pm. Mind you I didn’t want to leave the following day.

Located on a quiet street in South Yarra, The Olsen hotel is a close you can get to a sophisticated modern art hotel, with works displayed by John Olsen, the artist. A bright and bustling suburb and you’ll never be short of places to go and explore. Chapel is lined up with exclusive retail shops, café’s, bars, restaurants and galleries.

The hotel was named after the lyrical works of revered Australian landscape artist Dr. John Olsen. The lobby is a big space divided by a massively large round couch with a bronze leaping frog sculpture and an impressive bright yellow painting named The Yellow Sun and the Yarra. The artist depicts the Yarra River in blue the lively ecosystem that co-exist (flora and fauna).

The room was generous that what I would have expected. The furniture had a mix of tones – a crème bedhead sitting behind the bathroom stained glass with Australian etched birds, two-seater leather couch and a clear Perspex table and chairs. On the wall beside the bed was another painting by John Olsen, I think this was a bird’s eye view of Lake Eyre with the red clay remnants in the dryer months.

This is place that rewards the late night munchies, when you want to watch in-house movies on the large flat-screen TV, you can hit mini-bar hamper or order room service to satisfy your cravings or you could cook something on your own – with the mini kitchenette.

With a tag line Find your inner muse, it was hard to choose what expression I should do on this whirlwind trip. It’s the little things that makes this hotel a true five star experience. Two restaurants on site, Spoonbill Restaurant and Bar and Steer Restaurant – the classic New York style steakhouse. Relax and rejuvenate at Norbu Urban Retreat offering all different types of wellness packages and services or visit Salon A to get a modern hairdo. The Olsen concierge team can even hook you up with a Smart Car hire, Vintage inspired Lekker bicycle, Bugaboo Bee 3 pram hire, Electric Scoot Hire, local tours and even restaurant reservations. Or stay fit in their gymnasium or even take a dip in their glass bottomed pool and sun deck.

I honestly couldn’t decide, there was only one way to make a decision. I poured myself another glass of sparkling, took at bite of the delicious caramel fudge compliments from Spoonbill. I rolled the dice. What? Yes, with the roll of the dice (magic 8 ball wasn’t available) destiny said “Get the lowdown on our art – take a tour with our arthouse curator”.

You can get your daily dose of art and shop at the hotel. Dream a little and purchase the hotel beds and ensemble, The Larwill Studio pillowcases or even a Masini & Chern and The Olsen pyjamas set – famous green frog print. Shop online on the Artefactst.

Quick call down to the Guest Experience Desk and I was ready for my art tour around the hotel. It was Christopher first time conducting the tour. Inspired by Lake Eyre in South Australia, a stark wildness and timeless landscape of Australia’s largest salt lake. With seasonal rainfall it attracts waterbirds and this is seen around the hotel and of course the signature green frogs. Frogs are a sign of a healthy ecosystem.

The viewpoint of his paintings is a combination of birds-eye and ground level thus creating the horizon-less landscape. A mixture methods from oil paintings, watercolours and textures, making his abstract portfolio imaginative in the idea of the natural world.

Since I was in Melbourne I thought it was fitting to catch-up with a couple of good friends and dine at the hotel’s Spoonbill’s Restaurant and Bar. With recommendations from the hotel staff we opted for the Soft Flour Tacos with crispy chicken, cos lettuce and harissa mayo fillings, slowly cooked spicy pork ribs with peri peri dipping to start off with.

For our main we chose John Olsen’s famous Paella – calasparra rice, slow cooked pork belly, roast chorizo, calamari, tiger prawns, clams and mussels for three. I’ve tried many different paella in my time (especially being Spanish) and they were definitely generous with the seafood, great flavour with a hint of saffron.

The restaurant has combined both the new and recycled pieces to create a light and warm atmosphere, a menu inspired by John Olsen’s Mediterranean travels. Drawing in paddock ingredients to plate experience. The bar has a selection of craft beer, cider and a decent boutique wine list.

To our dismay, that Paella didn’t leave us room for dessert. But I would recommend giving the Rose Petal & Raspberry Cream with fresh raspberries and Turkish delight or the Hazelnut & Chocolate Macaroon.

Whether you are looking for a great start to your morning or catch up with dinner with friends, check out Spoonbill.

Overall, my experience at the hotel was been nothing been but five star. The staff was friendly, outgoing and always willing to help you with your enquiry or even a day plan of activities. Did I mention the Smart Car or awesome bike hire?

Have you ever stay in a Art Series Hotel and if so, what did you think?

The Olsen
637-641 Chapel Street, South Yarra VIC 3141, Australia
T: +61 (03) 9040 1222 | E:
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