The Cullen, Prahran

by Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Adam Gac is the expert behind the desk at The Cullen in Prahran, five kilometres south-east of Melbourne’s CBD. He started his career on the other side of the desk, as a guest, and you might say he loved it so much he never checked out. The Cullen, which opened in 2009, is one of seven boutique hotels in the Arts Series group, now spanning Victoria, South Australia, and Queensland. It is inspired by and features artwork of the late Australian contemporary artist Adam Cullen. The artist was associated with the Grunge art movement in the nineties, and won the Archibald Prize with a portrait of actor David Wenham in 2000. Eclectic Prahran is home – along with neighbouring suburbs South Yarra and Windsor – to Chapel Street, a vibrant shopping and restaurant strip full of unexpected finds. Join Adam as he shares his mouth-watering highlights of Prahran and Melbourne…

Adam Gac

Your most popular request…

Our most popular requests are “Where do I find the best coffee/restaurant/bar/boutique/running track?”! You literally have to be an expert behind the desk and have a sound knowledge of what is going on in the area; from new restaurant and bars opening up, to keeping our guests entertained with local festivals.

Your favourite locale when enjoying a day off…

As I am Eastern European, Borsch Vodka & Tears in Prahran is where you will catch me on my day off getting my fix of Polish food. A bowl of borsch [a soup made with beetroot and usually served with sour cream] accompanied with pierogi (polish dumplings), and washed down with a traditional highlander tea (black tea, sugar and a healthy shot of bison grass vodka in a brandy glass). From Warsaw to Windsor, I never stray too far from comfort food on my days off.

Adam Cullen, Artist

Best coffee…

Much like asking a Parisian where to find the best croissant in town, so it is with coffee and Melbourne! Locally, Market Lane Espresso inside the Prahran Market make great coffee, which is roasted locally. Conveniently located across the road from The Cullen, Market Lane offers the energy and vibrancy of being positioned inside the market. Other great coffee spots within walking distance are Tall Timber, St Edmonds, and Chez Mademoiselle – an ultra chic upscale French cafe and restaurant and a perfect spot for a croissant, espresso and people watching.

Where we must go for lunch…

I always ask our guests the following questions: 1) “How hungry are you?” and 2) “How much time do you have?”. Prahran is spoilt for choice when it comes to cafes, restaurants and bars. Journeyman offers a contemporary and sophisticated brunch menu, whilst Fourth Chapter offers a seasonal healthy menu. The best thing is that our guests can hire out our Smart cars which mean they can explore the surrounding suburbs, too. Abbotsford and Richmond are crawling with great lunch spots. If you’re looking to treat yourself, Three Bags Full is located in the leafy Nicholson Street in Abbotsford. Smashed avocado on toast is so last season; the chilli scrambled egg is beginning to reign supreme and Three Bags Full makes the ultimate. Dare to be naughty? Add ham hock and truffle-and-parmesan-roasted potatoes on the side.

It’s a rainy day outside but we want to explore, what we shall do…

Prahran is well known for not only its eclectic stores and nightlife, but also for its thriving art scene. Anna Pappas and Mars Gallery are a stone’s throw from the The Cullen, and cater to both ends of the art spectrum. Anna Pappas exhibits both international and locally-acclaimed artists, such as Jarek Wojcik, Simon MacEwan and Michaela Gleave, as well as emerging local artists. Mars Gallery offers an array of visual and abstract exhibitions, such as their curated Screening Fashion exhibition, and last year’s light installations. Currently, they are running a series of contemporary art exhibitions which reflect and focus primarily on local and Australian artists. If guests want to play indoors, we offer free art tours within each hotel. Just ask us at the desk!

What is an absolute must-do or must-see before leaving your city…

The beauty of Melbourne is that there is so much to do! We are located between a tram line and a train station so access to the city is super quick. The National Gallery of Victoria plays host to some of the most incredible exhibitions and their recent exhibitions have included Viktor & Rolf’s Haute Couture exhibition, and the Andy Warhol and Ai Wei Wei exhibition. I love a good adventure, especially when it involves bars and Melbourne has hidden bars all over the city and in surrounding suburbs. Hidden bars are where only the locals go. They’re tucked away in little side streets and offer an intimate atmosphere.

What you love about your hotel…

Everything! Words cannot describe my love for The Cullen, and the rest of the Art Series Hotels. To prove how much I love it, I first began at The Cullen as a guest, and now I am part of the brand!

Anything else we should know about when visiting Melbourne…

Get lost and work your way around Melbourne’s famous laneways and discover local hidden gems. Snap a selfie with one of the millions of graffiti murals; feast your senses at the Queen Victoria Market – especially during summer for the night markets; get cultured and discover the plentiful boutique art galleries hidden within the city; and discover the ultimate vintage stores in Fitzroy. Melbourne and its surroundings are ever changing, so there is always something to do and see!

To find out more about The Cullen, or to book, click here.