In a post-Airbnb age where travellers expect “localised” experiences, and where, design-wise, everywhere now looks pretty much like everywhere else thanks to the homogenising effects of hipsterdom, hotels need to offer a keener sense of place. Or so reckons Darren Rubenstein, anyway, the founder of United Places, Melbourne’s coolest new design hotel. Set in South Yarra, if the building looks like an apartment block, well, that’s kind of the point: with desk-free check-in and minimal staff contact, the 12 suites, each with lounge area, conspire towards what the first-time hotelier calls a “home-hotel”. Albeit one with a marked “locality”. So that means a near-complete Australian effort: Grant Featherston furniture, art from Melbourne painter Marc Freeman, design courtesy of local minimalist Sue Carr; even the mini-bar whisky is from Tasmania. And then there’s the food, which comes care of Melbourne chef Scott Pickett in downstairs restaurant Matilda. “It’s about creating an experience that guests will absolutely not be able to get elsewhere,” says Rubenstein. Home not quite away from home.