With a spate of new hotel openings in Perth lately, visitors have never had more choice. So what sets this property apart from its competitors? Apart from the fact it is only the second five-star hotel to open in Perth in recent years (the other is the boutique Como The Treasury), the hotel's most obvious advantage is its location in the heart of the city. The Intercontinental sits just one block from Hay Street Mall and across the road from His Majesty's Theatre; also nearby are some of Perth's intriguing laneways, as well as the King Street shopping strip.
From the moment your taxi pulls up in front of the hotel's elegant pleated facade, the Intercontinental impresses. Doormen pull open the oversized doors with a smile; the lobby feels sophisticated but welcoming, with its sandstone walls and timber finishes. The hotel has commissioned 300 paintings and sculptures by local artists; several of these are on display in the lobby and also in the inviting Loft Lounge on the first floor, where the outdoor terrace is a great spot for a drink.
This site formerly housed the Rydges Hotel, and while the new owners have poured money into its refurbishment, they have kept the rooms the same size, which is smaller than you might expect of an Intercontinental. The entry-level rooms are just 27 square metres; a couple travelling together will want to opt for one of the higher room categories, which are slightly more spacious. Clever design maximises the space in every room; the only design fail is the luggage shelf in the cupboard, which barely fits one piece of cabin baggage. However, the rooms look terrific, utilising a limited palette of metal-inspired shades – think bronze and old gold – mixed with soft tones of olive and taupe. A range of finishes add visual interest through details such as the textured wallpaper and the pewter-coloured leather bedhead.
Both hotel restaurants channel a Spanish vibe. Heno & Rey serves up tapas plates in an al fresco setting; the menu includes a good selection of charcuteries, ceviches and seafood tartare, while the heritage tomato salad is a must-order. The neighbouring Asuelo restaurant – meaning "ember" in Spanish – delivers all its meals off the Spanish barbacoa grill, from half-chickens to a tender beef rump cup served with mushrooms and baby capsicums. Asuelo is also where breakfast is served, a generous buffet with an egg station. An even better breakfast is available to guests staying on the Intercontinental Club floors. They get access to the Club Lounge, an airy space on the top floor where the a la carte breakfast features a range of cooked-to-order meals, from French toast to a three-egg omelette, all delivered to your table.
Whether you are in town for business or leisure, you will enjoy the convenience of the location. The new Elizabeth Quay precinct is just a few blocks away, and even the bars and restaurants of Northbridge are within walking distance for anyone moderately fit.
As long as you don't mind the smaller room size, this superbly located, high-service hotel is likely to win your heart.
815 Hay St, Perth. From $208.80 for a standard room. Phone (08) 9486 5700, ihg.com
Superb service at every level.
The rooms are surprisingly small.
Ute Junker travelled courtesy of Hotel Intercontinental Perth City Centre and Tourism WA.