A MODERN UPDATE has transformed an old FREMANTLE watering hole into a CHIC RESORT that’s value for money, finds FLEUR BAINGER.
EAST FREMANTLE IS a true local’s secret. More poised than its hippie sister suburb, its boutiques and cafes charm with ornate plasterwork, historic stone and, inside, covetable finds. The newly renovated Tradewinds Hotel is one of few accommodations to back onto this characterful neighbourhood. Facing the Swan River, it sits high on the hill and drinks in views that sweep from Fremantle’s shipping cranes to the waterway and a truck-frequented bridge that connects freight with port. The pub that fills the circa-1890s front of the hotel is a popular spot. The Prendiville family, who own the Tradewinds, are making a habit of upcycling once-proud venues with a wallop of white paint and a decorator who favours the Hamptons. The 83 hotel rooms, all 20th century and with outdoor entry, still have a faint whiff of hotel-motel about them, but overall the two-year overhaul is bright, breezy and purposefully trendy. The upgrade cost $7 million but it seems reception signs were forgotten; toting my rollerbag around the venue, none of the passing staff stop to offer assistance. Finding the back-of-house desk, I greet the receptionist, rather than the other way around. Interaction is minimal so I’m swiftly en route to my four-star room. It’s city-chic and spacious, easily fitting both queen and single, a piped navy couch, a long office desk and a ceiling frame that modernises the four-poster bed look. No luggage rack, though. A faux concrete wall leads to a surprise kitchenette, unmentioned in the room descriptor, and a pod machine. A petite bathroom carefully slots in the essentials – no bath. Value is decent: my ‘superior’ digs cost $9 more than the cheapest option and faces a fenced pool with circular lounges. It’s a blessing and a curse. The clickety-clack of high heels start at daybreak, ricocheting off the pool’s extended wet area. I dine in-house. It’s order-at-the-bar, expensive but tasty pub grub. For breakfast, calls to reception for room service go unanswered; I try the kitchen instead. After delivery, the attendant leaves my door open behind her. There’s a lot that’s good about this place. The fashionable rooftop terrace, while fairly bare, grants a peaceful escape and sunset views. There’s a bus stop out front, delivering you to Fremantle’s heart in under 10 minutes. Rates are comparable or better than surrounding properties. Polish up the service and invest in some soundproofing and they might just have something special here.
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Hang out at the central pool area; The hotel’s heritage pub frontage; Your in-room cocktail cart; Indulge in the River Suite’s tub; Rooms are city-chic and spacious.