A boutique hotel has opened on Flinders Lane inspired by prolific and provocative photographer Helmut Newton. Hotel Indigo is the latest in a chain from IHG Hotels & Resorts, with locations from Seminyak in Bali to the Lower East Side in New York. After a $20 million refurbishment of the former Holiday Inn site, it now offers 216 rooms across nine stories, streetside Spanish restaurant Beso, and a soon-to-open fitness centre.

Dubbed the “king of kink”, Helmut Newton was one of the 20th century’s most in-demand fashion photographers shooting the likes of Grace Jones, Claudia Schiffer and Margaret Thatcher. He’s a suitable inspiration for the hotel, as he opened his first studio on Flinders Lane in 1947.

The guest rooms were designed by Suede Interiors, channelling a photography studio with Newton-inspired photographs on the wallpaper as well as an array of artful snaps hanging on the walls. But the works must compete for attention with the striking views of Melbourne’s grand old buildings through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

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Rooms are stocked with Seed & Sprout bathrobes and Biology bath products. But a stay here also comes with Marvel Stadium, Southern Cross Station and the CBD’s dining scene all within walking distance.

On the ground floor you’ll find Beso (which means “kiss”), a lively Spanish restaurant and bar helmed by ex-Lee Ho Fook and Anchovy chef Ana Cortes Garcia. The kitchen is equipped with a custom-built Parrilla grill, so expect a flame-licked menu including an 800-gram mature-aged steak cooked on the bone, and miso-glazed pork scotch.

Guy Holder, co-owner of Carlton’s Epocha, has curated a wine list consisting of exclusively Victorian and Spanish wines, alongside a cocktail menu designed to match the tapas menu including the Beso Negroni and Spanish vermouth served over ice.

A walk through the lobby is like a stroll through a gallery, with works by local artists and photographers and a check-in counter that looks more like a studio desk. Plus, commemorate your stay with a Newton-inspired snap in a specially designed selfie booth.

Hotel Indigo one of the world’s fastest-growing chains of hotels with 143 properties such as the Adelaide Markets and Brisbane’s CBD, and 128 more in the pipeline including Sydney’s Potts Point to open by the end of the year.

Hotel Indigo Melbourne on Flinders
575 Flinders Lane, Melbourne