The television personality and design aficionado has stamped his style on his
favourite space at Laneways by Ovolo, known as room 303.
As Melbourne’s cultural district prepares to welcome the new-look Laneways by Ovolo, the hotel group has unveiled a first glimpse of the Neale Whitaker suite – the design aficionado’s room of choice when staying in the city. Neale worked alongside Australian interior design office Luchetti Krelle to style the suite, adding to their 80s Memphis-inspired scheme by incorporating some of his favourite pieces.
“In the theme of Memphis nostalgia, I sourced a whole load of styling items and a few knickknacks to put into the room, artwork as well, fitting with Luchetti Krelle’s design narrative,” Neale explains.
Guests who reserve the suite can expect to stay among a collection of original art, limited-edition objects and soft furnishings – each hand selected by Neale – as well as a 100-song Spotify playlist of his favourite tracks. “These are all the things that are incredibly important to me,” Neale says, adding that he wanted to showcase a cross-section of Australian artists when curating the room. “There are three big ticket items: a large painting by artist Nunzio Miano, a Sarah Nedovic Gaunt lamp and a portrait by Flynn Cowan.”
Nunzio Miano is a Melbourne-based artist whose flamboyant and generous use of colour brings high-octane energy to the room’s scheme. The sculptural lamp by Sarah Nedovic Gaunt was the last of the highly sought-after ‘Lady’ collection, similar to a piece which Neale has in his own home. And the work featuring an illustration of Neale himself, created by Flynn Cowan, leans into Warhol-like themes, using repetition and colour-blocking to bring the room to life.
The collaboration between Ovolo and Neale came about “by accident,” he says, after several years of being allocated the room, leading to it to be known unofficially as his personal suite. “It became a bit of a standing joke,” Neale says of his connection to the room, formerly known as 303. “But the reason I love this room is because of its corner position, which has amazing windows looking to the most gorgeous tree and old stuccoed wall outside, leading through to views of the rooftops and towers of the CBD.”
The hotel’s location in the vibrant heart of Melbourne’s many tangled laneways has always been a deciding factor for Neale. “It’s right there on Little Bourke Street, so it’s kind of in Chinatown,” he says. “It’s on the fringes of the CBD. Everywhere is within walking distance, with innumerable restaurants, cafes and bars right on your doorstep. I’ve always enjoyed being there for that reason. It reminds me of some of the original boutique hotels, that’s why I’ve always chosen to stay there.”