Need To Know
119, including eight suites.
11am, but flexible subject to availability. Check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from $176.73 (AU$190), excluding tax at 10 per cent. ⓘ
Rates exclude breakfast but include 24-hour gym. Rates are based on two people sharing; any extras will be charged at AU$70 a night each (payable upon check-out).
A homage to the late artist Adam Cullen (the Damien Hirst of Oz art), the Cullen features a kookily coloured roster of his original paintings in its public areas and his cartoonish prints turn heads in all rooms (even glass shower surrounds are engraved with his Ned Kelly-inspired horses and bushrangers). Look out for the audio-visual display on Adam's work in the lobby or ask for a private tour with the hotel's dedicated art curator, who also provides hot tips for the top exhibitions around town.
At the hotel
Gym with yoga deck, bikes, Smart cars, hair salon, WiFi throughout (AU$9.95 a day). In rooms: LCD flatscreen TV with Foxtel, DVD player, preloaded iPod and iPod dock, Adam Cullen artworks, art books, Art Series toiletries, minibar, kitchenette.
Our favourite rooms
Backdropped in black and white to avoid distracting from Adam Cullen's colour-splash prints, rooms are all spacious and stylish, with big Art Series beds, sinuous modern sofas, curvy tables and chairs, and compact kitchenettes. Book a Deluxe Studio with Balcony on the north-west corner for killer views of Melbourne's city skyline (aim for fourth floor or above; we like 416, 418 or 520); or splash out on the Lady Luck Penthouse with a roller-disco-sized separate living area and giant deck, ideal for entertaining your entourage.
There's no pool at the Cullen, but you can use the one at sister art hotel the Olsen for free, just a 15-minute stroll away, or enjoy a discount at Prahran Aquatic Centre just two minutes' walk away.
Designer shades for Gramercy bar, binoculars for people-watching from your balcony, yoga threads for the gym, a giant tote for sartorial shopping and your best furrowed brow for art appreciation.
Two bespoke red sit-up-and-beg Swedish Kronan bicycles are up for grabs for AU$5 an hour if you fancy wheeling round the shops or you can hire a dinky Art Series-branded Smart car from AU$10 an hour, or AU$60 a day.
The Cullen is a fairly adult playground, but nippers are welcome. Baby cribs can be supplied for free and extra beds cost AU$70 a night. Babysitting with a local nanny is yours for AU$90 for three hours.
Going beyond than the usual recycling and organic food efforts, the Cullen is a seriously green building, harnessing natural ventilation through its dramatic central light well to avoid guests overdosing on air-con. Windows even open in rooms.