Louis Li’s luxury 46-room Mornington Peninsula hotel, Jackalope, opened in April 2017. The winner of multiple design awards and set in the picturesque grounds of Willow Creek Vineyard – with two restaurants, an infinity pool and a cellar door – crowds swarmed to the ambitious property for long lunches and special overnight getaways.
Melbourne will soon get its own Jackalope, with plans for a 32-suite designer hotel to open on Flinders Lane in 2020.
Jackalope’s CBD hotel will share the same DNA as its peninsula forebear: a focus on art, design, dining and storytelling. Li has enlisted March Studio to design the hotel – the firm won awards for its work on Canberra’s Hotel Hotel.
According to planning documents submitted to Melbourne City Council, the new hotel will be located at the site of the historic Maria George building, which was built in 1911. Ten storeys resembling a “minimal frosted glass box” will be added to the existing building, Broadsheet can reveal, and its five-storey heritage redbrick facade will be retained.
“Melbourne is infamous for its changeable weather,” the planning proposal says, “so it made sense for Jackalope Flinders Lane to be themed around weather phenomena”.
So visitors can expect a “heavily forested” foyer, and specially commissioned art works and installations – such as a rainbow generator – around the weather theme, which will carry through to a dramatic rooftop design. The Cloud Bar will feature an external structure made of electropolished stainless steel wire that will mimic the shape of a cumulus cloud. “And, just like a cloud, will take the colour of the sky during sunrise, sunset and at all other times,” the submission says.
The hotel lobby, a café and two restaurants will occupy the first four floors of the hotel.
Jackalope Flinders Lane will open at 175–181 Flinders Lane in 2020.
This article was updated on February 16, 2018.