After a recent spate of openings, you have to wonder if Perth has room for another five-star hotel. It doesn't take long to realise, however, that the Westin has several things going in its favour. The first is its convenient location in East Perth, just a short walk to Hay Street Mall. The second is a determination to deviate from the classic corporate vibe, as evidenced by the 22-metre-high mural by street artist Rone that graces the outside of the building.
Hotel lobbies can be grand or welcoming. The Westin's somehow manages to be both. It has the soaring ceilings, but its dimensions have an inviting feel. As with the rest of the hotel, large amounts of natural light pour through huge windows, while the neutral colour palette lets the natural textures of wood, marble and leather shine. Displayed throughout the hotel, including above the beds, are 2000 pieces of Australian art. (Look for Christian Fletcher's striking aerial photographs of Western Australian landscapes, which at first glance appear to be abstract paintings.) You will find a book on the artworks in your room. The hotel also has a tranquil wellness level featuring a gym, an outdoor pool and a spa run by Perth outfit Bodhi J.
I have been assigned a Club Suite, the entry-level suite. Sprawling across 105 square metres, it is bigger than the top suites in some other hotels. The lounge and dining areas are well separated from the bedroom, perfect for those times when one of you wants to sleep while the other feels like working or watching TV. The bed is equipped with pillows of three different densities, allowing you to choose the one that works for you. Other nice touches include blinds that rise when you enter the room, and not one but two mini-bars. One is stocked with drinks, the other left empty in case you want to fill it with some of your favourite beverages. Note that it is not just the suites that are oversized; the entry-level rooms start at an impressive 42 square metres.
There are no generic hotel restaurants here. Instead, the Westin has brought in one of Melbourne's best chefs, Guy Grossi, of Grossi Florentino, to devise the menus at Garum, an inviting eatery that serves both breakfast and dinner. Garum boasts one of the most unusual breakfast buffets I've encountered. In addition to standards such as granola and toast, diners can choose from a range of Italian favourites including both savouries (tomato frittata, black rice and fennel salad) and sweet (bombolini, cannoli). The freshly-baked focaccias are a highlight. Dinner is even better. Try the honey-spiced quail and the tuna crudo with beetroot, or the ox tail with sultanas, pine nuts and chocolate. If you're still hungry after all that, the hotel also offers a superb high tea in The Haven lounge.
The Westin is part of the new Hibernian Place development, which includes a number of other appealing venues. Pick of the bunch is Hadiqa, with a lively rooftop bar and a Moroccan-inspired menu that caters to both carnivores and vegetarians alike (the salads of cauliflower, green couscous and beetroot are particularly good.)
Big-brand service and boutique style make this hotel a winning addition to Perth's hotel scene.
80 Hay St, Perth. Deluxe rooms from $239 and Club suites from $585 a night. Ph (08) 6559 1888, westinperth.com
Lots to love, including oversized rooms, fine dining and amazing art.
Not getting to enjoy the outdoor pool because of the rain.
Ute Junker was a guest of The Westin Perth.