Often engrossed in conversation or thoughts during my weekly visits to my favourite Queen Victoria Market (QVM) and Market Lane Coffee, I didn't notice a boutique hotel along the way until I bumped into an outgoing group of tourists. I decided to stop by for a coffee in its café and check out this quaint property which is a finalist in the 2012 State awards for Excellence.
The plain and unpretentious industrial-looking exterior of Jasper Hotel masks a chic boutique property, which used to be a backpackers. It now features 65 rooms and suites, an onsite café called Jasper Kitchen and meeting facilities.
A unique feature is the foyer's role as an actual art gallery. The Jasper Gallery is the hotel efforts to support Melbourne's art community and it uses the foyer as a gallery space to showcase works from some leading emerging artists and makes them available for purchase. In addition, all monies received from the purchases go directly to the artists as the hotel doesn't charge for the exhibition space or sales commissions. The works are changed every 2 to 3 months to ensure there's always something new at Jasper Gallery.
Jasper Hotel is located in Melbourne's vibrant Market Precinct which means it's literally just a few steps from QVM, an iconic meat, seafood, deli, fruits and vegetable market and venue for events like Luna 1878 in the city as well as a popular tourist attraction. Nearby is the State Library of Victoria on Swanston Street which features free exhibitions like Gusto! and its associated Look.Stop.Taste Food Festival. It is also walking distance to the Royal Exhibition Building, 'Little Italy' of Lygon Street and further up into the City of Yarra with its famous boho Brunswick Street and the Rose Street Artists Market. Down Elizabeth Street and you're at City Square, hub of the annual Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, Federation Square and Flinders Street Station. There are also many cheap Asian eats that average AUD9.50 a few steps from the hotel.
Jasper Hotel offers eight levels of modern styled rooms and suites in vibrant colours with city or market views at a competitive price. For a small hotel, its deluxe and executive rooms, and 2 bedroom suites feature many modern amenities available at the large international brands including secured floor access, full mini-bar, LCD TV with Foxtel, air-conditioning and heating, WIFI internet, iron and ironing board, tea/coffee/hot chocolate making facilities, hair dryer, valet laundry and dry cleaning service, 24 hour in room dining service and free access to the nearby Melbourne Baths and Gym. With windows that open fully, you can hear and watch the buzz of QVM in the early mornings as the market wakes up to a new day of trading.
Adjoining the hotel's foyer is Jasper Kitchen, which provides a casual environment seven days a week for a coffee stop after the QVM, breakfast, lunch or dinner. I didn't have any brekkie but the full American option looked value-for-money at AUD8.
Jasper Hotel's 10 pillarless meeting rooms which include high speed wireless internet and state-of-the-art AV equipment can accommodate 10 to 649 people. The ground floor function room sits 300 while the 8 meeting rooms on level 1 can accommodate another 340 people. There is also pre-function area for cocktail events and a central gallery for breakout sessions. With Jasper Kitchen, all catering is done in-house and the restaurant is also available for private events.