Western Australia places to stay: Best weekends away

Go west, young man - and everyone else! - to find city treasures and hedonistic hideaways.

COMO THE TREASURY

1 Cathedral Ave, Perth; (08) 6168 7888; comohotels.com

THE LOCATION Handily located opposite St George's Cathedral in Perth's central business district, the property also affords views from the rooftop restaurant over Stirling Gardens towards the Swan River.

THE PLACE Adrian Finney of Little Creatures brewery has collaborated with the State Government for this remarkable refit of Perth's 19th-century State Buildings, the centrepiece of which is Como The Treasury. Behind the Victorian-era facade are 48 spacious, high-ceilinged rooms with period cornicing, balconies, three-metre-high windows and bespoke, handcrafted European furniture. You could spend a weekend just hanging out in the bathrooms, which boast travertine stone tiles, heated floors and freestanding bathtubs.

THE EXPERIENCE The State Buildings, comprising three interconnecting heritage structures, now house retail and hospitality outlets in addition to the hotel. But the latter is pretty much a destination in itself. Check out Postal Hall, a grand colonnaded space that was the city's General Post Office, and which includes Post, the Como's osteria. Most of the original building has been preserved, including the hefty, half-metre-thick steel doors of the treasury safe, near what is now the Shambala Spa. There is also a heated indoor pool, and for dining, the rooftop Wildflower restaurant is one of only two places in Australia to serve pearl meat.

DON'T MISS The Treasury Lounge and Bar, with its peerless selection of gins. Ask for the martini trolley – they'll wheel it out and mix the drinks in front of you.

IDEAL FOR The history-loving sophisticate.

FROM $540 a night, including breakfast. Tim Elliott

PARRY BEACH BREAKS 

88 Astartea Glade, Parryville; (08) 9848 1810; parrybeachbreaks.com.au

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Parry Beach Breaks.

Parry Beach Breaks. Photo: Supplied

THE LOCATION Seclusion is the charm of Parry Beach Breaks, a half-hour west of Denmark and an hour from Albany, in Western Australia's Great Southern region. This rugged Southern Ocean coast was the setting for Simon Baker's film adaptation of Tim Winton's novel Breath – enough to make the most hardened city type sigh.

THE PLACE There's simple luxury at play here. The place nails that home-away-from-home vibe with quality homewares and fixtures. Built on a family farm surrounded by national park, the five villas share one incredible quality: that view.

THE EXPERIENCE Waking up stretched out in a king-sized bed with views out to the coast, the weather rolling by in wide-screen, it can be difficult to tear yourself away. Take to the verandah, or stoke the fire in the winter months – switching off is guilt-free.

DON'T MISS Explore the coast from nearby Parry Beach all the way to Albany, discovering deserted beaches, surf breaks and swimming spots. The white sands of Greens Pool are sheltered from the ocean swell by a natural belt of granite boulders. Scramble across the rocks, take a dip or just kick back on the sand.

IDEAL FOR Gathering a group together and going off-grid. With views like this, it'll soon be hitting your Insta-grid.

FROM $150 a night twin share; $40 a night for each extra guest; minimum two-night stay; minimum four nights at Easter; minimum five nights at Christmas. Max Brearley

QT PERTH

133 Murray St, Perth; (08) 9225 8000; qthotelsandresorts.com

The QT Perth is an antidote to a plethora of beige business hotels.

QT Perth. Photo: Supplied

THE LOCATION Injecting new life into the sleepier side of Murray Street, the former cinema is just seconds' walk from Hay Street mall and within minutes of shiny new Elizabeth Quay, the sparkling Swan River and the central train station.

THE PLACE An antidote to Perth's plethora of beige business hotels, QT is playful and sumptuous, full of luxury touches from the ground- floor cafe to the rooftop bar.

THE EXPERIENCE Tempting though it is, don't loiter all day in the luxe lobby – there's much to explore in this hotel. The Santini Bar & Grill serves an Italian-inspired menu by Robert Marchetti and Nic Wood, including breakfasts cooked to order and dinner worth dressing up for. The pretty young things head to the rooftop to sip cocktails at an indoor/outdoor bar with spectacular views to the hills. Rooms are compact, with lashings of art deco-inspired urban opulence. Quality fittings such as local jarrah floorboards and deep baths are enhanced with indulgent touches: velvet cushions, crystal whisky glasses, softly textured rugs. It makes requesting a late check-out very appealing.

DON'T MISS Download the QT Perth Concierge app using the complimentary Wi-Fi and enjoy the hotel's guide to the best of the city.

IDEAL FOR City-breakers with an appreciation for quality and quirk.

FROM $212 a night. Andrea McGinniss

PREMIER MILL HOTEL

Corner of Clive St and Austral Tce, Katanning; (08) 6500 3950; premiermillhotel.com

Premier Mill Hotel.

Premier Mill Hotel. Photo: Supplied

THE LOCATION With the opening of this 22-room property, Katanning has staked its claim as gateway to the Great Southern region, a three-hour drive from Perth.

THE PLACE Michael Patroni of award-winning Fremantle architectural firm Spaceagency has maintained essential industrial elements of the 1891 flour mill around which the town was built but which fell into dereliction in the 1980s. In this striking revamp, the original iron boiler rises through the building's atrium, mechanical workings whirring overhead.

THE EXPERIENCE Small details haven't been forgotten, from B&O speakers to Aesop products. Among a variety of room types, Silo rooms – formed from the original wooden silo, some featuring private courtyards – offer the X-factor. When you're ready to explore, thoughtfully written guides will push you into the region.

DON'T MISS The basement, where the Cordial Bar serves an extensive list of local drops, including wine and beer.

IDEAL FOR A first stop on a Great Southern road trip. 

FROM $265 a night. Max Brearley

INTERCONTINENTAL PERTH CITY CENTRE

815 Hay Street, Perth; (08) 9486 5700; perth.intercontinental.com

InterContinental Perth City Centre.

InterContinental Perth City Centre. Photo: Dion Robeson

THE LOCATION In the heart of Perth's city centre, just a block from Hay Street Mall.

THE PLACE A former Rydges, the 240-room hotel reopened as an Intercontinental in October 2017 after an extensive revamp. It's a leading light in the reimagining of Perth's hotel stock and major changes include the addition of a sculptural lobby staircase and a club lounge on the top floor.

THE EXPERIENCE The quality and service are everything you'd expect for a five-star hotel. Executive Studio rooms are not huge but there's ample storage space in the glass-doored wardrobe (an idea which also ensures you don't leave anything behind) and the bathroom is compact but comfortable. On the ground floor, Heno and Rey is a casual tapas bar, and there's coffee at Graffitti. But the flagship restaurant, the Ascua Spanish Grill, is contributing to the renaissance of Perth's fine-dining scene.

DON'T MISS Rottnest Island. The 90-minute ferry journey from the city can be off-putting for some, but there's now a seaplane which departs from South Perth, not far from the hotel, and takes just 15 minutes.

IDEAL FOR Travellers who want the best of Perth on their doorstep.

FROM $234 a night. Craig Platt

ALEX HOTEL

50 James Street, Northbridge; (08) 6430 4000; alexhotel.com.au

In the evening hit the coast for a mandatory Indian Ocean sunset.

Alex Hotel. Photo: Supplied

THE LOCATION Northbridge is often described as Perth's cultural hub; a busy area packed with cute cafes, laneway bars and great food. It's also where the Fringe Festival takes place every summer.

THE PLACE You wouldn't think it from the outside, but there are 74 rooms here. Admittedly, most are pretty small, but that's in keeping with the no-fuss, low-key aesthetic.

THE EXPERIENCE Here, you're encouraged to think of yourself not as a guest but a friend. This sounds cheesy but it actually works, thanks to award-winning residential interior designers Arent & Pyke and the cleverly executed shared living areas. These include the Espresso Bar in the lobby, and the Mezzanine Lounge, a home-inspired space stocked with magazines, coffee-table books, contemporary art and luxuriously deep couches. (It feels like hanging out in a mate's living room, if your mate had excellent taste.)

DON'T MISS There's plenty of amazing food in Northbridge, but one of the best places in town is the hotel's own restaurant, Shadow Wine Bar and Dining Room, on the ground floor. It offers excellent contemporary European dishes – try the crumbed veal cotoletta – as well as baking a kick-arse muffin that's complimentary throughout the day at the hotel's breakfast bar.

FROM $235 a night. Tim Elliott

PREMALAYA

1701 Wildwood Road, Yallingup; (08) 9756 6460; premalaya.com.au

Premalaya in Yallingup.

Premalaya. Photo: Supplied

THE LOCATION Off Caves Road, one of WA's best scenic drives, Premalaya is 30 minutes from Margaret River township and 10 minutes from Dunsborough. 

THE PLACE Surrounded by bush, the spacious two-bedroom, two-bathroom chalets have private decks, open-plan living and dining areas and fully equipped kitchens, ideal in an area renowned for food and wine. There are also communal barbecues and a large deck with open fire for socialising. The studio hosts yoga and wellness classes.

THE EXPERIENCE There's a laid-back vibe at this family property, in tune with the area's status as a surfing mecca – you're just minutes from several uncrowded beaches. If Premalaya's emphasis on wellness gives you a taste for culinary hedonism, you're surrounded by some of WA's top restaurants.

DON'T MISS Breakfast at Lamont's on Smiths Beach is a treat. Or grab lunch at nearby Barnyard 1978, where you can also pick up honey and other products made on site. At the end of the day, hit Canal Rocks for a mandatory Indian Ocean sunset.

IDEAL FOR Recharging the soul. 

FROM $212 a night. Max Brearley
​Looking for escapes further afield? We have you covered: VIC, NSW/ACT, QLD, TASSA, NT

To read more from Good Weekend magazine, visit our page at The Sydney Morning Herald or The Age.

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