Walter Lindrum is considered by many to be the world’s greatest ever snooker player. Resplendent in a dark suit with a bow tie and waist coat, his silky skills and poise over the billiard table became legendary. Lindrum held the world billiard championship from 1933 until he retired in 1950 and created 57 world records for the fastest and biggest breaks in the game. After quitting competitive snooker, he toured the world performing exhibition matches. Sadly, he passed away in 1960, but his legacy lives on at Melbourne’s Hotel Lindrum, which has all the style and class of its namesake.
Hotel Lindrum is at the MCG end of Flinders Street and is housed in the same redbrick heritage building where Walter’s niece, Dolly, once ran Lindrum’s snooker hall. One of the full-size tables from the hall, beautifully restored, takes pride of place in the hotel. The luxury property is part of AccorHotels’ boutique hotel collection called MGallery by Sofitel. There are 85 MGallery hotels around the world, in 23 countries. Each has its own history and personality and an exclusive experience called a ‘Memorable Moment’.
At Hotel Lindrum, that ‘Memorable Moment’ is playing snooker. Hotel general manager Michelle Bradshaw says some guests stay just for the table. But if you see yourself as bit of a pool shark, the experience gets even better. “As part of our ‘Memorable Moment’ package we have also arranged for triple word billiards champion Robby Foldvari to host private lessons for guests, followed by a degustation dinner in the Felt restaurant,” Bradshaw says.
Other ‘Memorable Moments’ in the hotel group include whiskey and chocolate tasting at Brisbane’s New Inchcolm Hotel and Suites; helicopter rides at Hotel St Moritz in New Zealand; candlelit rooftop dinners with a string quartet at the Harbour Rocks Hotel overlooking Sydney Harbour; and morning yoga sessions at Elements of Byron, located on the eastern-most point of Australia and the first place to see sunrise in the country. Elements of Byron is the most recent addition to the MGallery portfolio, opening in Byron Bay at the start of the year. The $100 million resort is set on 22 hectares of beachfront and has 94 villas in native bush.
The resort’s lagoon pool is a stunning centrepiece, surrounded by bures and hanging lounges over the water. There’s also a sunken firepit poolside, but if you want to get up and about you can go horse riding on the beach or do a food tour of Byron Bay. The MGallery boutique hotels are all very individual, but Accor says that by being part of a collection they are revealed to a wider audience.
“Each hotel has its own personality and story, experienced by guests through architecture, interior design and services,” a spokesperson says.
MGallery hotels are categorised under one of three atmospheres – heritage, serenity and signature. Heritage refers to history, artwork and architecture from a bygone era, signature reflects a heightened sense of style and design, while serenity is applied to properties that are tucked away in the mountains, are on the coastline or in a quiet urban landscape. So, who is staying?
“Our guests are well read, curious and are interested in the world around them,” the spokesperson says. “The needs and expectations of hotel guests are constantly changing. Guests today are worldly travellers and seek more modern interpretations of luxury, but they still want locally immersive travel experiences filled with rich stories.”
The MGallery brand was launched in 2008 with eight properties, so the expansion of the hotel group to 85 properties has been rapid. There are 11 MGallery hotels in Australia and New Zealand, but the collection is spread across five continents. Hotels are located in many countries including Algeria, France, Brazil, Germany, Italy and Hungary. There’s also a very strong presence in Asia. All of the hotels are part of Le Club AccorHotels, a worldwide loyalty program.
Accor is set to announce another MGallery opening in Australia, but as Luxury Travel was going to press the details were still under wraps.
Harbour Rocks Hotel, Sydney