There are two ways of looking at hotels. Sometimes they’re just a bed for the night when we’re away from home, but sometimes they are sanctuaries, retreats, indulgences — a manufactured and manicured little universe. Somewhere to withdraw to. Somewhere to be someone else.
At their best, the buildings are architectural masterpieces containing beautiful and coherently curated objets d’art, relevant to the place in which they stand.
And at this point, I naturally end up at the door of The Ritz-Carlton Perth hotel in Elizabeth Quay.
For The Ritz-Carlton Perth’s personable face is fashioned from 10,000 pieces of Kimberley sandstone. The concierge desk is built from ancient WA timber. The lobby is reminiscent of a North West gorge — a two-storey canyon, with all that hand-picked stone and waterfalls of chandeliers.
This “WA energy” is carried evenly throughout the building. It is not just a facade, but part of the fabric of The Ritz-Carlton Perth. A bespoke carpet looks like an aerial view of the outback landscape. WA artworks are of local materials.
But that’s just the building. Hotels are somewhere to be looked after. And we have to look for a hotel’s heart, to the people that bring it to life. And the staff of this prestigious five-star luxury brand have been tested. The hotel opened in November, and they have since lived through what history will surely show to be the most bizarre and difficult months in the history of hospitality.
Back in business, the welcome is warm, the team well trained, but personable and human (there’s always that danger of highly trained staff stepping too far into the scripted).
The Ritz-Carlton Perth has the sense of the internationalism that many of us crave and enjoy in our usual travelling. It’s a reminder of other aspects of our selves — the freshness we find in the wider world.
And, just at the moment, it is an antidote for our restricted roving. In our current world, it offers an instant shift from the everyday into the “other world” many of us enter through international travel.
ROOMS & AMENITIES
The Ritz-Carlton Perth has 205 rooms, including 19 suites, and a world-class spa offering vitality pools and bespoke treatments.
Of the six room types, the “entry level” is the beautifully designed and decorated Deluxe King room — 50sqm with river and city views, a seating area with a table and chairs or chaise, and a big bathroom with a standalone bath (apparently very “Instagrammable” but I’ll spare you that).
Suites like the Elizabeth Quay (river view) or Langley Park (park view), give just over 100sqm, have floor-to-ceiling windows, a separate living room, and a sizeable bathroom with that standalone bath, and also a rainforest shower.
Select rooms and suites have “Juliet balconies”.
The hotel’s heated outdoor infinity pool overlooks Elizabeth Quay.
I’ll be up-front (as I always am with you) — I was upgraded to the 277sqm Ritz-Carlton Suite on the 18th floor. (Yeah, I know. Spoilt brat.) I wander round the huge living room, separate dining room with kitchenette, private study, massive bedroom with dressing rooms, and an extraordinary, full marble bathroom. It has floor-to-ceiling windows throughout and a big balcony.
WA outside, and WA within.
After settling into the suite, we stroll out into the dusk and see the city in a slightly new light, as visitors.
In Hearth lounge, we sit with a pre-dinner drink and a view of the city now lit.
And then we move into Hearth restaurant — the domain of executive chef Jed Gerrard.
Again, there’s that view over Elizabeth Quay to the city, and once again a bigger presence of WA. For Hearth’s menu is a catalogue of innovative cuisine drawing on the State’s ingredients and flavours.
From the $95 set menu, diners may choose barbecued Abrolhos octopus, Mottainai lamb raised near Lancelin, dry-aged Wagin duck, WA line-caught fish and local artisan cheeses.
A stand-out was the twice cooked farm egg (boiled then deep fried), with charred leak cream, smoked Cambray manchego (cheese) and soft herbs.
Each is touched in some way by the heat of an open fire. The hearth.
Dinner is currently served from Thursday to Saturday, from 6pm to 10.30pm.
We are replete and retreat to that suite.
I step out on to the balcony into a night filled with Perth’s city lights.
Stephen Scourfield was a guest of The Ritz-Carlton Perth. They have not seen or approved this story.