Six new hotels fuse art and luxury in Melbourne

I love it when art and hotels come together. I found a pair of gems in Orlando back in March, but what’s coming to Melbourne, Australia over the next two years is even more exciting. Indy luxury hotel group Art Series Hotels is spending $300 million to open six new properties — all focused on art. Each hotel will be inspired by a famous Australian artist in name and design, and each will be unique.

The first opened its doors last week. The Cullen is a boutique hotel in Prahran, Australia. At a cost of $48 million, it offers only 115 rooms and is home to more than 450 pieces by Adam Cullen. An in-house curator attends to the artwork. Two of Cullen’s custom designed cows grace the foyer, welcoming guests to an aesthetic treat. There are traces of Cullen all over the hotel — from the restaurants to the phone messages to the bikes and smart cars that guests can hire. Rates start at $208 a night.

The Olsen, which will be Art Series Hotels’ flagship property, is set to open in February 2010. Honoring painter John Olsen, it will be located on Chapel Street, right in Melbourne‘s shopping district. There will be 239 rooms on 15 storeys and will feature the world’s largest glass-bottomed swimming pool … which will hang over Chapel Street. The third hotel, the Blackman, is scheduled to open in April, with the remaining properties scheduled for 2011.