Lancemore Hotels, which is behind Werribee mansion’s boutique hotel, and the multimillion refurbishment of Red Hill’s Lindenderry estate, has chosen Melbourne’s theatre precinct as the site of its next luxury hotel.

The group is sinking $10 million into revamping the existing Crossley Hotel on Little Bourke Street, which will reopen in early 2020 under the Lancemore name.

“You’re surrounded by the best Melbourne has to offer,” CEO Julian Clark says of the site, which is on the same block as city staples such as Pellegrini’s, Longrain and Grossi Florentino; as well as the Princess Theatre, Regent Theatre and Comedy Theatre; and the Chinatown precinct.
Melbourne-based design firm Carr Design is responsible for the design of Lancemore Crossley St, aiming to imbue the modern hotel with a sense of history by taking inspiration from the stage, without straying into kitsch territory.

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“We were very aware of the local area, so the theatre was a concept we wanted to explore without becoming a themed hotel,” Clark says. “The lobby is probably my favourite space if I’m honest.”

Plush materials and mixed textures, such as velvet and slate, will give the hotel’s lobby and shared spaces an opening-night feel with guests invited to mingle and socialise under bright lights.

The rooms are all kitted out with Hunter Lab toiletries and have views the surrounding urban landscape, and for the entryway, Carr Design rescued and refurbished a vintage chandelier that used to hang in the Georges department store before it closed its doors in 1995.

Another new addition is a rooftop retreat, complete with greenery and daybeds for relaxation. The space will have a sculptural water feature by Melbourne artist Laura Woodward, which will light up as night falls. Initially it will only be open to guests, but Clark says there are plans to make the rooftop a dedicated open-air function space.

The art – mostly by emerging local artists – in the 113 unique rooms will explore an on- and off-stage concept. A video imagining of the famed Princess Theatre ghost Frederick Baker (or Signor Federici, as he was known on stage) applying his make-up in his dressing room and ready for his final performance, will be screened in the lift. The British opera singer died during a performance as Mephistopheles in Faust and is said to haunt the 1854 landmark. Subdued photos and paintings will be chosen to contrast these more dramatic video installations.

Lancemore Crossley St will open at 51 Little Bourke Street in March 2020.