There have been plenty of news articles about the theft of hotel items, but one chain of luxury hotels in Australia is actually encouraging it. Each of the Art Series Hotels in Melbourne is named after a well-known artist and aims to attract art lovers, seekers of culture, corporate travellers and those who enjoy the good life. From December 15, 2011 to January 15, 2012 they are also encouraging those with a slight criminal tendency to book a room.
Guests are being challenged to steal an original artwork by Banksy, best known for his graffiti-style. Those caught in the act will simply have to admit defeat and rehang the painting, but anyone who gets clean away with the painting gets to keep the AUS$15,000 signed masterpiece as the prize. The challenge was to lift the Banksy original “No Ball Games” and two female guests did indeed use all their cunning and guile to persuade the staff to actually load the painting into their car on December 19, claiming it had to be moved to another hotel.
Previous failed attempts including guests hacking into the CCTV system; placing a listening device beneath the Reception desk and countless requests for false housekeeping issues in a vain attempt to get staff to leave the painting unattended.
The Art Theft challenge continues with a second Banksy original now hanging. Guests have until January 15 to make off with “Pulp Fiction”, by fair means or foul!
I’ve just got back from a short visit to Melbourne, Australia and return to a subject I touched on more than two years ago – trams.
In a modern city fizzing with fashion, great nightlife and elegant dining, you’d think trams would stand out as a bit passé. Not a bit of it – they’re part of the fabric of Melbourne, providing a convenient and environmentally friendly way to get around. And one route – the City Circle tram – is free, dropping you off close to various visitor attractions.
I loved Melbourne – it has everything you’d expect from a major city, plus a beach area (St Kilda) only a tram ride away. The Eureka Skydeck provides the best views of the city, the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) tour is a must if you’re a cricket fan, and the best free attraction in my opinion is the Royal Botanic Gardens – a glorious place to spend some leisure time.
My only regret is that I was too early for three major events in the city: the International Flower and Garden Show (March 24–28), the International Comedy Festival (March 24–April 18) and, of course, the Formula 1 Grand Prix (March 28).
by Andy Moreton
If you’re thinking of heading Down Under, Luxique offers six luxury hotels in Melbourne, all with their own special features.
Melbourne’s own version of the London Eye – the Southern Star - opens officially on November 28th.
The observation wheel, situated on the city’s western fringe, is the biggest of its kind in the southern hemisphere, standing some 120 metres (394 feet) high.
On each 30-minute ‘flight,’ up to 420 people in 21 walk-round gondolas will get all-round views of the city skyline, docklands, Port Phillip Bay and, on a clear day, as far as Geelong.
The Southern Star cost A$100m (£43.5 million / $65 million) of private funds to build and is expected to attract some 1.5 million visitors a year. The State’s Tourism Minister, Tim Holding, is excited: “This is one of only three of these anywhere in the world and we think that makes it an amazing addition to Melbourne’s tourism line-up.”
by Andy Moreton
Luxique offers six of the finest luxury hotels in Melbourne – from a former pub (The Prince) to a warehouse conversion (Adelphi) and a century-old Italian mansion (The Hatton).