The first time around, we walk straight past the entrance to Hyatt Centric Melbourne, just between Flinders Lane and Flinders Street. Looking up, the building is shiny and new, but on ground level it blends seamlessly into the laneway. Almost literally – the timber sliding door looks like a wall, so much so that my partner calls it a “secret entrance”.

Inside, we’re greeted by earthy sandstone, terracotta tones and neon-lit art. The lobby combines the warmth of the Mediterranean with a light industrial feel, balanced out by strong patterns in the woven rugs, plus gold sculptures, sage-green furniture and greenery.

Local firms Architectus (State Library Victoria redevelopment) and Hecker Guthrie (Polperro Farmhouse, Lancemore Lindenderry, Mitchelton Hotel and upcoming project The Standard) were tasked with drawing from Melbourne’s art galleries, strong coffee culture, love of food and drink, and penchant for low-key laneways in the hotel’s design.

Each of the 277 rooms exudes the same warmth, with floor-to-ceiling windows and timber accents. The open bathrooms are much moodier thanks to black marble and frosted glass. Depending on your room location, there might be views of the Grand Hotel Melbourne, the curvaceous roof of Southern Cross Station, Docklands or the CBD skyline.

There are subtle nods to Melbourne across its 25 levels, from the art on the walls (including an all-white 3D map of Victoria by local design studio Pop & Pac) to the rugs stitched with the names of attractions, like the Rialto Tower and Queen Victoria Market, in small print.

It’s the first Hyatt Centric hotel in Australia, though the larger Hyatt umbrella (including the Grand Hyatt, Park Hyatt and Hyatt Regency) will already be familiar. The new brand has a hyperlocal focus, drawing inspiration from each location.

On the site of an 1840s blacksmith, the Melbourne iteration is more contemporary and casual than luxe and opulent – the goal is to be a launchpad for travellers to explore the city, rather than a destination in and of itself (though there’s enough to do if you want to spend some time in, too).

There’s a slim 25-metre pool in a moody terrazzo-clad space, with lounges partially hidden behind pillars for privacy, while the gym on the same level is open 24 hours. Up on the 25th floor you’ll find Mediterranean-inspired restaurant and bar Toma (it stands for Taste of Melbourne) – with panoramic views over the Yarra and Docklands – and by the lobby there’s a small cafe with beans by South Melbourne roaster Cottle Coffee and snacks from Morgan Hipworth of Bistro Morgan Bakehouse.

Hyatt Centric Melbourne
25 Downie Street, Melbourne

hyatt.com