More than 110 years after its foundation stone was laid, and 33 years after restoration works destroyed many of the building’s original features, Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne has debuted its new-look Baroque-inspired ballroom and conference space this week.
Hotel General Manager, Joseph Stipo, said the latest refurbishments came off the back of a multi-million-dollar hotel renovation last year, which saw the rooms, lobby and restaurant space in Melbourne’s grand lady restored to its turn-of-the-century origins.
“In its heyday, what is now the King Edward Ballroom (named after the building’s most famous visitor in Edward, Prince of Wales back in 1920), was in fact a Club Bar within the original Commercial Travellers Building,” Joseph said. “Its distinctive timber panelling was removed in a 1990s remodel but now, thanks to a design brief to bring 1900s glamour back, and new timber panelling (paired with modern brass beading), the ballroom has been restored to its former glory.”
According to Stipo, a false ceiling installed in the 90s was also removed to take full advantage of the original height of the rooms, whilst bespoke wallpaper and three enormous crystal chandeliers – each weighing over 300kg – were added to provide a touch of decadence to the Edwardian Baroque architecture. Attention to detail is prevalent in both design and in the modern technology used.
“By design, Rendezvous Melbourne was one of the first buildings in the country to feature Australiana motifs in the stain glass windows, and etched around the pillars and in the cornice work of the hotel’s distinctive Grand Vestibule events space,” he said. “In a nod to those early design touches, the interior design team chose an earthy olive-green palette to help tie in unique heritage features, and handcrafted cornices from original moulds… albeit with 21st century LED lighting for best effect.”
The needs of modern day PCOs have not been overlooked in the facelift, with the renovation team installing dual 130” data projection screens and HD projectors, state-of-the-art lighting, Bluetooth connectivity, surround sound capability, sound proofing, and hidden rigging points to allow clients to personalise the space without disrupting guest views.
From weddings to conferences, the room offers flexibility in its design.
“Video conferencing is a crucial component of modern-day conferencing and, together with high-speed, hard-wired WIFI, will allow us to accommodate hybrid events in the space,” he said. Additionally, we have controllable LED lighting in the roof, offering a spectrum of up to 3000 colours to match any event’s theme.”
According to Stipo, the space will be given a thorough work out this week as TFE Hotels’ National Sales team host a 300-strong Melbourne MICE roadshow and launch with a glamorous Moulin Rouge event.
Rendezvous Melbourne’s refurbished ballroom was the last piece in the puzzle of the hotel’s makeover, which had seen their lobby, restaurant (Mr Tompkins with Chef Eric Kwek at the helm) and 320 hotel rooms all go under the designer’s knife.
“What’s exciting is that Rendezvous Melbourne continues an important legacy as both a meeting place and piece of living history, within walking distance of everything people come to see and experience in this remarkable and romantic city,” he said.