Australia is a county shaped by migrants; it is said that one in four Australians were born overseas, and this rich, cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths.
While European settlers started the trend in the late 1700’s, Australia today sees migrants from more than 190 countries; from India, the UK, and, most notably, China. (Fun fact, Mandarin has become the most spoken language in Australia after English).
Australian cities have become a melting pot of cultures, and no-where is this more prevalent than the Melbourne suburb of Box Hill. Home to Melbourne’s largest Chinese population, well over half the population of Box Hill was either born in China or has Chinese ancestry. And this is a fact that Melbournians are incredibly proud of.
One hotel that has embraced and showcased this beautiful ethnic diversity is the Art Series Hotel – The Chen. Named for the Chinese born artist Zhong Chen, who migrated to Melbourne as a teenager, The Chen is a boutique hotel that celebrates not only Chen’s abstract art, but Australia’s rich multiculturalism.
The Chen: A Luxury Hotel Celebrating Australia’s Rich Multiculturalism
An Art Series Hotel
We’ve come to love how Art Series Hotels showcase an individual artist that gives a unique character to each of their hotels. Always located in the hottest art and cultural hubs, The Chen is no exception.
Box Hill has always had an affinity for art, so it is no surprise it would become the home of an Art Series Hotel. In the late 19th century, the area’s bushland attracted landscape artists that would go on to become some of Australia’s most notable names in art history.
The Box Hill artists’ camp was established and later the Heidelberg School or “Australian Impressionism” would come into existence. This art movement showcased Australian life and its cultural heritage.
Not too far from The Chen you’ll find the Heide Museum of Modern Art, which sits on what was once the site of a former dairy farm. It is here where the legendary Sidney Nolan would meet with fellow artists.
Location: The Box Hill Art Scene
Much like Zhong Chen blends his Chinese heritage with Australian influences, Box Hill lies directly between the vibrant, chaotic energy of Melbourne to the west and the calm and relaxing natural Dandenong Ranges to the east.
This ideal location means you can chose from a night on the town or escape the congestion for a daytrip into the many soothing lush gardens of the Dandenongs.
Box Hill has undergone a major urban transformation and at the forefront of this development is the Whitehorse Towers, the tallest residential building outside of Melbourne’s CBD.
The crown jewel of the Towers is The Chen Art Series Hotel. This new and vibrant luxury boutique hotel truly celebrates and enhances the Chinese atmosphere of Box Hill and offers a great alternative to staying in Melbourne’s CBD.
The Chen’s 100 suites include both Studio and Deluxe Studio suites, both of which can come with a private balcony.
Deluxe Suites offer a fully equipped kitchenette, and preparing meals becomes even easier when you realize there are two large grocery stores within a short walking distance from the hotel.
As with all Art Series Hotels, you will find your room comes with it’s own in-room art library, along with small canvases and paint as a purchase option from the minibar to create your own work of art.
The beautiful masterpieces of Zhong Chen not only grace the hotel’s halls and elevators, but you will also find them within your room. The colourful abstract prints above the bed gave the room bursts of color that complimented the luxurious furnishings.
The decor of the rooms seems to channel Chen’s work with classy dark earthy colours that combine with pops of colour in the form of throw pillows and chairs. You’ll find a large flat screen T.V. with Foxtel and free high speed internet. A convenient workspace is available, as is a small dining table if you choose a Deluxe Suite.
Photos of Our Deluxe Suite
The Chen boasts a stunning heated rooftop pool and sundeck with panoramic views that take in the skyscrapers of Melbourne. There is a state of the art gym for those whose canvas is their body and look to create a sculpted masterpiece using weights and cardio.
Inquire about hiring one of the hotel’s famous smart cars or give your legs some exercise by hopping on one of their Lekker bicycles. Visit the many art museums and galleries around Melbourne or find out more about the hotel’s artist Zhong Chen by taking a tour with the hotel’s in house curator.
Those who find food a much more amusing form of art can take advantage of two onsite restaurants, Whitehorse Chloe and the Golden Lily.
You’ll find Australian cuisine with a bit of Asian influence at Whitehorse Chloe while the Golden Lily offers delicious authentic Cantonese, Shanghai, and Sichuan cuisines.
Photos From Around the Hotel
Zhong Chen was born in Zhongshan, China and went on to complete a Masters of Fine Arts from London’s Chelsea School of Art. After starting out in Adelaide, Chen would end up relocating to Melbourne where he has lived and worked in Box Hill for nearly a decade.
Like many travellers, Chen fell in love with the location of The Chen and this motivated him to purchase an apartment in the same complex of the hotel.
Chen blends traditional Chinese art forms with contemporary photographic methodologies. He incorporates the ancient craft of Chinese ink brush painting into his work, which often depicts portraits, landscapes, and animals. Chen also gained fame for his pixel paintings of Chinese women.
More recently, Chen has created paintings with vibrant watercolour backgrounds on which are placed bold, black subjects in a sketch-like manner. You will find many of these masterpieces adorning the walls of The Chen during your stay.
Choose Your Travel Experience
Box Hill is conveniently located between all the action of Melbourne’s CBD and the relaxation of the Dandenong Ranges. Let’s take a brief look at what both have to offer.
Lovers of sport can take advantage of the MCG, one of the World’s Top Ten Largest Stadiums, where you can catch a game of cricket or AFL. Take a tour of Rod Laver Arena and get a behind the scenes look at the home of the Australian Open. Of course you also have Flemington Racecourse, home of the Melbourne Cup.
Take the Southern Hemisphere’s fastest elevator trip to the top of Australia’s tallest skyscraper, and get a bird’s eye view of Melbourne from the Eureka Skydeck.
See Melbourne’s wilder side by checking out the Melbourne Zoo where you can witness Tasmanian Devils, platypus, and other Australian animals as well as plenty of international species. Experience an underwater world by heading to the Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium, which is home to penguins, sharks, and giant saltwater crocodiles.
Don’t miss Melbourne’s leading venue for world-class theatre, dance, music, and more at the Arts Centre Melbourne. Melbourne is home to a thriving arts scene and boasts over 100 galleries including the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, NGV International, Heide Museum of Modern Art, and the Centre for Contemporary Photography.
A range of stunning gardens await you in the Dandenong Ranges, offering explosive colour in the form of blooms in the spring and fiery foliage in autumn.
Don’t miss the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden, George Tindale Gardens, Mount Dandenong Arboretum, and Pirianda Gardens.
A true highlight is a visit to William Ricketts Sanctuary, a place for reflection and replenishing the spirit. Be amazed and inspired by almost 100 sculptures that have been carved into the rocks and tree trunks of this magical natural landscape.
Catch live music, artist studios, and events at the Burrinja Cultural Centre and check out unique restaurants like the Cuckoo Restaurant.
Feed wild parrots at Grant’s Picnic Ground or take a journey on the Puffing Billy steam train for some of the area’s most impressive views.
For more information, or to make a booking, visit artserieshotels.com.au/chen
Photo credit: Brad Geddes (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr
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