"Eastern staters", as Western Australian are still liable to refer to anyone beyond the outskirts of Kalgoorlie, may be familiar with the quirkily appealing QT brand of hotels and resorts that in recent years have popped up across Australasia with this Perth branch its newest manifestation.
This 184-room designer hotel, which opened last year, is positioned slap-bang in the middle of the CBD, adjacent to the Hay and Murray street malls. It's a short walk to St Georges Terrace, the West Australian capital's lengthy main drag running parallel to the Swan River, and, in the opposite direction, a small and seedy stretch of sex-shops. Up the street from QT Perth is Cathedral Square, named after the imposing all-brick St George's Cathedral, consecrated in 1888. The precinct is home to the city's newest and most prestigious addresses, the beautifully-restored heritage 140-year-old State Buildings, a triumvirate of pretty piles now housing an array of upscale restaurants, bars, cafes and boutiques.
Each of the glamour puss QT hotel branches commendably strives to reflect its location with the design and colour scheme of the Perth property seeking to represent WA's rich mining and industry history. It makes for a rather dark palette, at odds with Perth's famously sunny disposition. However, the deep purple and green (or aubergine and emerald, if you don't mind) tones do add some refreshing sassiness absent from the city's heretofore moribund hotel scene stalled by WA's last mining boom. To add to the spacious and inviting nature of the lobby there's an always appreciated fully-fledged cafe for those who wish to eschew the buffet breakfast upstairs or who simply want to relax over a coffee.
Even after emerging from the lifts on your floor, as you head to your room, there's a hint of what's to come. Each guestroom door is fashioned from WA's solid jarrah timber, along with the external and internal flooring, and with the hotel still relatively new the scent from the polished wood is pleasingly palpable. Inside, the dark-coloured furnishings and timber floorings are complemented by velvet fabrics, stone bathrooms, bold wallpapering and statement bedheads, some even featuring flocks of native black cockatoos.
Unlike elsewhere in the world, in-house hotel restaurants in Australia have rarely succeeded in attracting a faithful, non-staying clientele. But the owners of QT, to their credit, in their partnership with Robert Marchetti, have done exceptionally well in creating eateries with appeal to both in-house guests as well as revenue-generating outsiders. QT Perth's Mediterranean-inspired Santini Bar & Grill, a case in point, has been jumping since the hotel opened last year and soon after was awarded the title of Perth's best new restaurant.
Or stepping up, to be precise, as you'll no doubt want to catch a hotel lift to the rooftop terrace and bar, replete with Swan River glimpses, that's become hugely popular with young Perthites since its opening. Once you come back down to earth, beeline it up the street to the aforementioned State Buildings, a collection of 19th century buildings where you'll find some of Perth's restaurants such as the slick and inviting Petition, which aims to showcase WA's local and seasonal produce and admirably succeeds.
The intelligently and carefully-conceived QT Perth is exactly what the Fremantle Doctor ordered for an up-and-coming city striving to forge a new post mining-boom identity.
Four-and-a-half out of five
The sumptuous in-house Santini restaurant is shaping as one of Australia's best hotel eateries.
The queues and crowds for the popular rooftop bar near the ground floor lifts can be a bit tedious for house guests to negotiate.
Anthony Dennis visited as a guest of Tourism Western Australia and QT Perth.