The Story of The Savoy
After an extensive refurbishment, The Savoy Hotel on Little Collins has reunited with its rich heritage. The building has a vibrant history of owners, events and famous patronage. It has had many incarnations, from its origins in the 1880s, to its Art Deco reincarnation as The Alexander Hotel in the 1920s, to its time as Melbourne’s iconic Savoy Plaza in the 1960s.
Situated opposite Southern Cross Station on Spencer Street, the building originally opened as Alexander’s Family Hotel in 1866. Charles Alexander designed a classically detailed Victorian architectural building reflective of the era, across three-levels. In 1926, new owner James Richardson lavished £300,000 on the building and another £50,000 on furniture and fittings in an American inspired 20th-century refurbishment.
Coupled with the vision of his design partner Leslie M Perrott, the Hotel Alexander was the first Australian hotel equipped with ensuite bathrooms and temperature-controlled rooms. On 31 January 1928, Premier Hogan officially opened the remodelled 200-room Hotel Alexander. Leslie M. Perrott, went on to design the Chevron Hotel, and Hotel Australia, which became the social epicentre of Melbourne in the 1940s.
The Federal Hotel group bought the Alexander Hotel in 1951 for £450,000, renaming it the Savoy-Plaza. Albert Argenti – maître d’ – became renowned in Melbourne over the next decade, hosting a who’s who of international show business including Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald. Several famous Australians, including John Farnham, Rolf Harris and the Seekers, began their careers there. Frank Sinatra, performing at Festival Hall, was a guest, as were Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Anthony Perkins during the filming of ‘On the Beach’.
The Victorian Government bought the Savoy Hotel in 1974 and turned it into the Police Cadet Training Academy. In 1987 the Nauruan-owned company Spencer Investments bought it and spent $46 million restoring the Savoy Park Plaza Hotel to its former glory, reopening it in May 1991.
Toga Hospitality renamed it to the Vibe Savoy Hotel Melbourne in 2004. With a vision of returning this magnificent hotel to its former glory, TFE Hotels embarked on a multi-million-dollar refurbishment in 2018. Award-winning architects Woods Bagot have respectfully designed the lavish restoration of this remarkable building. Woods Bagot is famous for extraordinary hotels world-wide and lifestyle and commercial projects such as Sydney’s The Ivy complex and Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, the contemporary aesthetic has returned this heritage building to its authentic history.
Renaming the hotel to The Savoy Hotel on Little Collins, Melbourne, the hotel reopened under the TFE Hotels Collection banner in November 2018. Each of these beautiful discovery hotels has a sense of story, place and purpose. This magnificent hotel will reclaim its position as a grand hotel of Melbourne, as it was when it opened in 1928 to be known as the most desirable stay in the heart of this desirable city.