Stay at any of Melbourne's Art Series hotels and that hoary euphemism, 'Would you like to come up and see my etchings?', takes on a whole new meaning. The Olsen, The Blackman and The Cullen are not only inspired by Australian artists John Olsen, Charles Blackman and Adam Cullen but are filled with their artwork and imbued with their personalities. The hotels are owned by Melbourne property developers and avid art collectors the Deague family and, in 2001, this philanthropic Renaissance clan invited 10 leading Australian artists on a million-dollar painting expedition into the Outback. In return for their patronage, the family gained a collection of 100 works, but it was during campfire conversations with the artists that the vision of the Art Series crystallised, becoming a reality in 2008. 'By surrounding guests and staff with each artist's work, the owners have created a living-with-art experience,' says the hotels' curator, Jane O'Neill. O'Neill conducts art talks and tours for guests while her monthly briefings to staff keep their art knowledge fresh and must-see lists sharp. In addition to the hundreds of museum-quality giclee prints, other features that unite the hotels include chic neutral decor, upholstery stamped with nature's text- ural imprint, compact bathrooms with sleek Italian fittings, kitchens and living zones and enough art books to keep you engrossed for days. The hotels have bicycles and scooters for hire, or you can zoom responsibly around town in a Smart car adorned with the artists' broad brushstrokes. Rising 14 storeys above Melbourne's trendy shopping mecca Chapel Street, The Olsen's 239 guest suites, restaurants, penthouses and day spa are imbued with the refinement and calm serenity of Olsen's delicate interpretations of Australian flora and fauna. His six-metre triptych The Yellow Sun and The Yarra has welcomed guests such as tennis player Venus Williams and singer Michael Buble, who may well have been entranced by the freshness, vitality and subtle use of colour of Australia's most lyrical painter. According to the hotel group, 'the hottest' Art Series experience of all is a night in the John Olsen Penthouse. The group describes the artist as 'Australia's greatest living landscape painter' and the 16th-floor penthouse boasts an eight-seater jacuzzi set on an expansive wraparound balcony, a fully fitted kitchen with optional butler service, two king suites and a large lounge room adorned with original artwork. Opened in August last year, close to the central business district, The Blackman's strikingly dark exterior, decorated with the eponymous artist's hauntingly sombre images, is the precursor to 15 dreamy paintings that hang in the foyer. This is the tip of the iceberg- there's another 777 artworks hanging in the hotel's rooms and public spaces. Formula One driver Michael Schumacher no doubt found Blackman's nostalgic depictions of suburban life in the 1950s evocative when he occupied one of the penthouses. From the terrace, he would not only have enjoyed sweeping bay views but would have overlooked the Australian Grand Prix racing track - surely a competitive advantage? Spread over 18 floors, The Blackman's 207 rooms, suites and two penthouses attract a business clientele. The Cullen, located in Prahran, one of Melbourne's creative hubs, is opposite the city's famous food market. Living up to its slogan 'the art of living fearlessly', the hotel's guests walk a red carpet past a silver steer daubed with Cullen's pithy comments before checking into one of the 115 rooms - if they're lucky, one with an apple-green pod balcony suspended off the austere brick building. Set amid a strip of shops and clubs, The Cullen attracts an eclectic mix of creative types who find the bold lines and vivid colours of the artist's subversive work the perfect backdrop to their brand of cool. The former spray painter's vibrant acrylics on canvas accost you in the foyer, where you can book into the artist's room, 418, and immerse yourself in his latest paintings and musings. Cullen paints so enthusiastically that sometimes paint drips become part of the composition, which, in turn, inspired the metal drip hooks found on the back of all Art Series hotel doors. The boldly hued decor sings thanks to an atrium that splashes interiors with natural light. The three artists view the hotels as an ongoing retrospective of their work, but, according to Olsen, staying in one of the rooms surrounded by yourself is surreal.