Standard International Executive Chairman, Amar Lalvani.

How long has The Standard been eyeing Australia as a future expansion destination?

We’ve always been intrigued by Australia as a market for The Standard. The natural beauty, the people, the vibe. I recall looking at opportunities going back almost a decade but quite honestly the distance made it a challenge logistically. In 2017 we set up an office in Bangkok and got more active and serious about finding the right first opportunity in Australia. 

What can you tell me about the selection process which helped you settle on Melbourne and Fitzroy?

I would say the two key factors were falling in love with the neighbourhood itself and finding a great local partner in DealCorp. For what we do, those are incredibly important ingredients for success. 

The Standard, Fitzroy was designed by Woods Bagot, with interiors by Hecker Guthrie.

How do you see The Standard’s unique culinary and design culture fitting in Fitzroy?

We are students of microclimates, so to speak. In New York terms, while separated by only a few blocks, the East Village is vastly different than the West Village in terms of the culture and the crowd. And Midtown, which is less than a mile away, is a different world. We love so much about Fitzroy. The post industrial landscape, the music history, the street culture, the restaurants, bars and cafes. It somehow feels very familiar to us. 

How important was it that The Standard Fitzroy aligned with local design characteristics?

We always seek to understand the fabric of the neighbourhoods we enter. In all aspects. Design, culinary, culture. We want The Standard to be a place for locals which means we have to understand all of it. We will bring our fresh perspective and some treats from abroad but as much as this is The Standard coming to Fitzroy it’s also Fitzroy coming to The Standard. And that’s exciting to us.

The hotel takes its design cues from the area’s industrial history.

What growth possibilities do you foresee for The Standard in Australia and New Zealand?

We see this as just the beginning. Lots more places in Australia and New Zealand we want to be. We are enamoured and see lots of possibilities. 

How does Melbourne fit into a portfolio that includes LA, New York, London, Milan and many others in a list of the world’s most exciting cities?

We view Melbourne as one of the world’s most exciting cities. And somehow we love that others don’t know it yet. But the arts, culture, culinary, music and sport scenes are truly world class. We’d put Melbourne head to head with many higher profile cities. And we believe The Standard may play a role in people around the world realising it. Although I’m not positive that’s a good thing. Flying under the radar screen has its benefits.