The Royce Hotel

Melbourne VIC Australia

The Royce Hotel, on Melbourne’s premier boulevard St Kilda Road, is currently undergoing a major refurbishment into a six-star boutique facility. As part of the major refurbishment, SJB was appointed to design six prototype guest rooms – a presidential suite, four classic rooms and a tower room – set in the display hall of what was once the original Rolls-Royce car showroom. 

When Melbourne’s first prestige car showroom opened in 1928, it reflected the car itself – sophisticated and sound, opulent and glamorous. Behind the design was Harry Norris, one of the leading commercial architects of the time, who embraced the latest overseas trends with absolute conviction and managed to introduce a sense of theatre into all his buildings. 

Years later, The Royce opened as a boutique hotel and for a number of years after, SJB was commissioned to refresh various interior spaces. With this latest refurbishment, the design intent is to create a new accommodation that respected the building’s historic art deco fabric. 

The presidential suite is focused on entertaining or as a bridal suite with its bar area, expanse of banquette seating, bespoke chandelier and freestanding unit separating living from the bedroom area. The classic rooms with high ceilings are generous in scale and incorporate many period details, including cornices and panelling. The tower rooms, which will be housed in an adjoining new building, will also reference the original building. 

While original features provide a starting point for many aspects of the bedroom's design, so too do they in the bathrooms – marble wall tiles, for instance, take their shell shape from a motif found elsewhere in the building. Borders of marble, black window shutters and black frames around feature panels add contrasting detail to the rooms. A free-standing bath under the window in the presidential suite is an intended sign of luxury. Chrome detailing on the marble vanity units is subtly redolent of Le Corbusier’s Grand Confort armchair, a classic that was designed in 1928, the same year that the prestige car showroom on St Kilda Road opened its doors.


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