Alex Hotel, Perth, Western Australia
Playful, hip and cutting-edge: Perth’s newest hotels offer an experience designed to suit modern travellers – and it’s deliciously un-hotel-like.
By Fleur Bainger
Published: 18 August, 2017
Perth is undergoing a dramatic reinvention. The population is rising and the waterfront precinct has been redeveloped into a landmark new destination. The flow of inner-city foot traffic is shifting, thanks to a new Aboriginal-themed pedestrian precinct. And Perth’s accommodation scene has reached critical mass. With 20 new or redeveloped hotels opening since 2012, and nearly as many in the pipeline, the local hotel scene is as fiercely competitive as it’s ever been (hello, attractive room rates) and it’s flourishing with big ideas. Check into one of these new hotspots and expect everything from funky communal zones and complimentary retro bikes, to the most expensive Australian hotel ever built and the stay currently ranked the second-best in the world. And we haven’t even mentioned the late checkout times!
THE BOUTIQUE STAY WITH AN HONOUR BAR
Perched at the foot of edgy William Street in Northbridge, a strip lined with small fashion labels and smaller bars, the Alex Hotel is arguably the best-located haven in the city. Created by the founders of local microbrewery Little Creatures (the small, wildly successful craft beer brand that disrupted the Australian brewing industry), Alex is a boutique, industrial-chic stay that’s similarly impacting the local industry. Rooms are deliberately petite – Alex wants you to use its communal areas as places to socialise, relax and treat like home – and an honour-system bar entrusts you to help yourself to a curated wine fridge and nibbles (which you’ll pay for later, at the extremely civilised noon checkout time). In between, you can sip your vino on the hotel rooftop, borrow a free bike to spin around town, wander the Perth Cultural Centre (it’s literally at the hotel doorstep), enjoy the hotel’s adjacent wine bar and bistro or just chill in the designer-look communal zones (the love seats are dreamy).
THE HOTEL WITH NO RULES
Tribe Perth doesn’t see the point in having things no-one wants. So it’s done away with overpriced items in the mini bars, room service and a concierge. The hotel offers a multi-purpose cafe/bar eatery, curated local travel guides and compact, slickly designed rooms in bright, playful colours. Walk into reception and you’ll see the hotel’s irresistible hangout zone – an airy space filled with pop-culture hardbacks, neon lights, a velvet chesterfield and fluffy armchairs – where you can take a seat at the astutely stocked, barista-manned bar and enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner. Whimsical staff “uniforms” are designer-created and, like Alex, Tribe offers free bikes for urban adventuring. Positioned in the corporate hub of West Perth, it’s a five-minute Uber to the city’s heart.
THE WORLD’S SECOND-BEST HOTEL
When a place is named the world’s second-best hotel, and it’s in one of the globe’s most isolated capital cities, ears prick up. Centrally located Como The Treasury surpasses expectations, from its restored heritage bones to its elegant yet understated, bone-hued interiors. The 140-year-old beauty is crowned by Perth’s best fine-dining restaurant, Wildflower, which defines its menu with native Australian ingredients. While concierge services and luggage carting are part of the luxe experience, the hotel is also atypical, with a thoughtfully stocked, entirely complimentary mini bar, a range of boundary-pushing eateries in adjacent wings, a svelte small bar in the basement and a yoga studio out front.
The VIP-style sleep over
The all-inclusive approach is also on offer 10 minutes away by car in the suburb of Burswood. At AUD$650 million, Crown Towers is the most expensive hotel ever built in Australia – and the investment is clear from the moment you walk into its magnificent lobby with its seven-metre (23-foot) high, woven-design ceilings. Its buffet restaurant, Epicurean, hosts the largest chocolate fountain in the Southern Hemisphere and its outdoor lagoon-style pool is constantly set to 30 degrees Celsius. The tower contains 500 rooms, the smallest measuring 47 square metres (506 square feet), and the hotel only opened at the end of last year. Thanks to the glut of new hotels being rolled out across the city, room prices are also the most affordable they’re likely to be (in fact, rates have fallen by around 16 per cent over the past five years) – so there’s your excuse to book!
THE HOTEL FOR PET LOVERS
Aloft Hotel pampers pooches so much that its signature Springs Kitchen restaurant maintains both a pet terrace and tailor-made restaurant menu for guests’ furry friends – unconventional in a city where many hotels are not pet-friendly at all. The rest of the 224-room hotel is similarly offbeat, with humans cared for via “social spaces” on the ground floor: there’s table tennis, foosball (tabletop soccer), an armada of couches around the TV and a heated, resort-style outdoor pool. Aloft is conveniently locared halfway between Perth’s airport terminals and the city centre, about five kilometres (three miles) in either direction. Unlike Alex and Tribe, Aloft’s suites are lavishly sized, each of the slick, ensuited rooms has ample floor space and many have fantastic views over the Swan River. While there’s little to walk to, next door a local coffee roaster and a sushi restaurant with an iPad ordering system enhance the offering – and the city is only 10 or so minutes away by taxi. It’s also only minutes from the new Perth Stadium (set to open in March 2018), ideal for catching an Australian Football League game or an arena-standard music concert.
MORE TO COME OUT OF THE BOX
Perth’s hotel revolution isn’t over. There are up to 15 new hotels in the wings, including Western Australia’s first QT hotel and a Ritz-Carlton. The soonest to open will be the InterContinental Perth City Centre, combining a collection of WA art with locally roasted coffee, demonstration kitchens and a raw bar making the most of the state’s sublime seafood.
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