Our History | Luxury Hotel | InterContinental Melbourne

Our History InterContinental Melbourne

1890's Melbourne Architecture

Timeless luxury, housed in a much loved Melbourne landmark

Welcome to InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto, where world class luxury has been redefined for Melbourne.

Step behind our heritage facade and experience for yourself the juxtaposition of Melbourne’s old and new.

The Rialto Building is architecturally significant as one of the finest ‘boom style’ buildings in Melbourne and is an integral part of an exceptional group of late Victorian commercial buildings in Collins Street.

Be transported from the 1890’s neo-gothic façade and be immersed in a lifetime’s experience in luxury, housed in a much loved Melbourne landmark.


With nearly 140 years of Melbourne history here, what are some of the key dates?

1880s – “Marvellous Melbourne” was a popular way to describe our city dating back to around 1880 when Melbourne started to grow and develop into a major world city as a result of the gold rush. The name is still in use today. During this time Melbourne rapidly expanded and the population increased to reach just short of 500,000 by 1890, pushing Melbourne to become the second largest city in the empire after London.
1889 – Melbourne’s first electric tram began operations
1890 – William Pitt designed the Rialto building as a state of art office building
1891 – The Wool Exchange building was designed by architects Charles d’Ebro and Richard Speight
1970s – The buildings were purchased by The Grollo Group and underwent renovation
1984 – The Menzies at Rialto hotel opened
2006 – Hotel management taken over by InterContinental Hotels Group and an extensive $50 million luxury refurbishment took place
2008 –InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto opens

Our Story

Here on prestigious Collins Street, the Rialto Building is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria.

The hotel’s façade is a stunning example of 1890s neo-Gothic architecture combined with a luxurious modern interior. Taking its name from the famous bridge that crosses the Grand Canal in Venice, the Rialto is as rich in character as it is in history.

Built in 1891, the hotel began as two separate buildings that housed the famous Melbourne wool stores and its offices. The bluestone cobbled laneways between the Rialto and Winfield buildings, which once echoed with the clatter of horse hoofs as carts carried wool and wheat to the wharves, still remains untouched under our floorboards.

Completed during the Gold Rush when Melbourne was the richest city in the world, the historic Rialto building was commissioned by Patrick McCaughan, a wealthy Melbourne businessman, and designed in the neo-gothic style by celebrated architect William Pitt.

Next door, the Winfield building housed the offices that serviced the wool and wheat stores in the late 1800s. Designed by architects Richard Speight Jr. and Charles D’Ebro, the Australian National Trust lists it as “an example of the brick Romanesque style from the closing phase of the gold boom”.

Both the Rialto and Winfield buildings were designed to facilitate the new style of commercial enterprise emerging at the time. They offered tenants the very latest in modern technology, with street-level shopfronts, overhead offices and basement warehouse space.

Named after the commercial district in medieval Venice, the Rialto building was one of the finest examples of 19th century Gothic architecture and a symbol of commercial modernity. With a unique adjoining laneway connecting them, the Rialto and Winfield buildings were perfectly designed for the new commercial centre of Melbourne.

These magnificent buildings were transformed by InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, with our hotel opening in December 2008. The Rialto building is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register and protected by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria).

Tastefully converted into a great hotel

“Having stated here previously, it was an easy choice to return for a wedding anniversary weekend. I have a strong preference for IHG hotels having “lived” in one for 2 months in the UK a few years ago and always easy to return. Rialto is quirky and tastefully converted into a great hotel. Will continue to use it on returns to Melbourne”

By: 70Peter
From: Brisbane


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Room & Rates
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