In the heart of Perth on Hay Street, just one block from the Hay Street Mall and next door to Her Majesty's Theatre. It doesn't get much more central than this, with the CBD on your doorstep and the nightlife district of Northbridge about 10 minutes' walk north. The newly developed Elizabeth Quay is about 10 minutes in the other direction.
On the site of the former Rydges, the hotel reopened as an Intercontinental in October 2017 after an extensive revamp. Major changes, aside from complete redesigns of the rooms, included the addition of a lobby staircase, new meeting spaces and the establishment of a club lounge on the top floor for guests staying in the Executive Club rooms.
The 240-room hotel features art from 13 local artists, with original works throughout. A clever floor design means no room is adjacent to the lifts – the rooms are reached through four short corridors in each corner of the landing, which increases privacy while decreasing noise.
There's a large gym. The white exterior of the hotel offers curved windows that bring to mind cruise ship portholes, reportedly due to the building's former history as the offices for a cruise line.
I'm in an Executive Studio room, a corner spot that is marginally larger than standard. There's a king-size bed, chaise lounge, small table and chair with ample storage space in the glass-doored wardrobe (always a good idea to ensure you don't leave anything behind).
The bathroom is compact but comfortable enough, with opaque glass separating the shower and toilet from the basin area. Toiletries are from Agraria and high quality.
The windows offer great views over the city and of the lions on the parapets of the adjacent theatre. The large windows make the room bright but thick curtains black things out at night.
There are several dining options on site. The Loft bar on the lobby mezzanine is aimed at hotel guests and offers snacks and light meals, while Graffiti, a hole-in-the-wall takeaway coffee shop at street level is popular with the morning work crowd.
Heno and Rey is a casual tapas bar, but the flagship restaurant is the Ascua Spanish Grill. Its open kitchen and wood fired grill let you watch as the specialities – steak and seafood – are being prepared. Seared scallops, charred sweet corn and buttermilk fried cauliflower are all excellent, but unfortunately my steak comes well-done rather than the medium rare I've requested. Ascua also serves the hotel breakfast buffet, featuring smoked, flame-grilled bacon and mushrooms, which is excellent. See ascua.com.au
Rottnest Island is a must do for visitors to Perth, but the two-hour ferry journey (which can get rough) can be off-putting for some. Fortunately, there's now a fast alternative way to get there via seaplane, which departs from South Perth and takes just 15 minutes.
Once there, you can explore the beautiful beaches, coves and bays, taking the bus or renting a bicycle to get around. Getting a selfie with the ultra-cute quokkas has become a right of passage for visitors, but the small marsupials can prove hard to capture since they show little interest in tourists (though they also show no fear of them). From $395 per person. See swanriverseaplanes.com.au
The Intercontinental brings a level of luxury to Perth's city centre that aims for stylishness over opulence and it achieves its aims well.
Rooms at the Intercontinental Perth start from from $234 a night. See https://www.perth.intercontinental.com
You'd be hard pressed to find a better location to base yourself in Perth.
The rooms are not as large as they could be for this level of accommodation.
The writer travelled as a guest of Tourism Western Australia.