The Australian - Wish Magazine - - HOTELS -

New greets old and the re­la­tion­ship proves an in­stant suc­cess. COMO The Trea­sury Perth sits snug within the core of a her­itage precinct but its stream­lined and ef­fort­lessly chic style be­lies the lengthy back story to the West Aus­tralian cap­i­tal’s new­est ho­tel. First clue is in the name. The prop­erty has been wo­ven into the his­toric fab­ric of the State Build­ings, an in­ter­con­nected trio of rather pompous late 19th­cen­tury red brick and Kim­ber­ley stone ed­i­fices that var­i­ously served as Gen­eral Post Of­fice, Land Ti­tles Of­fice and Trea­sury de­part­ments un­til the com­plex was va­cated in 1996.

En­ter de­vel­oper Adrian Fini of Lit­tle Crea­tures brew­ing fame, who spent al­most two decades of bu­reau­cratic ob­fus­ca­tion and hard lob­by­ing with suc­ces­sive state gov­ern­ments to ac­quire and re­pur­pose the build­ings, not just as ac­com­mo­da­tion but a buzzy precinct of retail, restau­rants and bars. The co-ven­ture with COMO for the ho­tel is a great fit; the Sin­ga­pore­based com­pany has a fine rep­u­ta­tion for el­e­gant re­sorts and ur­ban sanc­tu­ar­ies and this is its first Aus­tralian ven­ture, con­sol­i­dat­ing its as­so­ci­a­tion with Syd­ney chef and Thai food guru David Thomp­son, whose Nahm has been a hit at Metropoli­tan by COMO Bangkok (see page 73). In Perth, his Long Chim restau­rant — with edgy dé­cor (cor­ru­gated-iron ceil­ings, fun mu­rals) and Bangkok street food-in­flu­enced fare — is in the base­ment of the State Build­ings.

Kerry Hill, cre­ator of stel­lar prop­er­ties such as The Datai on Malaysia’s Langkawi Is­land and the new Aman Tokyo, is re­spon­si­ble for the pro­ject’s reimag­ined ar­chi­tec­ture and svelte in­te­rior de­sign. The un­der­tak­ing has not only been about restora­tion but giv­ing back, in­clud­ing the re­in­stalling of orig­i­nal dormer win­dows and slate roofs with cop­per trim­mings. It’s hard to imag­ine that the dou­ble-height, gal­leried Postal Hall of the one-time GPO, for ex­am­ple, ever looked as swish as Hill’s scrubbed-up ver­sion, now a vi­sion of traver­tine floor­ing, pris­tine mould­ings and em­bel­lished sky­lights.

Forty-eight gue­strooms and suites cover four floors and come in cat­e­gories such as Her­itage (some have French doors open­ing to bal­conies with scroll-topped col­umns and views of Cathe­dral Square) or Trea­sury with sit­ting ar­eas and Swan River vis­tas. Dé­cor is uni­formly cool, with a pal­ette of pale heath­land greys and greens; sur­faces are un­adorned, tim­ber is limed oak, cus­tom-made beds are dressed in snowy Egyp­tian cot­ton. Elec­tronic blackout and translu­cent Ro­man blinds en­sure com­plete dark­ness or fil­tered light and thought­ful ex­tras in­clude a lap­top-sized safe, all the techno-wiz­ardry imag­in­able, com­pli­men­tary mini bar and Illy coffee ma­chine. Bath­rooms are al­most as big as sleep­ing quar­ters, with twin traver­tine stone basins, mul­ti­ple-head show­ers and heated floors. Guests check into noth­ing as pro­saic as a lobby — wel­come to the “ar­rivals lounge’’.

Toss away that cookie cut­ter. Gue­strooms dif­fer even in win­dow sizes and shapes, with lay­outs dic­tated by the re­quired preser­va­tion of her­itage floor plans. Pro­por­tions are vo­lu­mi­nous (the small­est is 55sqm) and hall­ways are lux­u­ri­ously wide, hark­ing to an era when ladies in hooped ball gowns could surely swish past in pairs and never touch the walls. It is per­haps this un­stint­ing sense of space that most de­fines the ho­tel. Most prop­er­ties of such di­men­sions would hold hun­dreds of cham­bers but here there’s no sense of squash. There is a sooth­ing ab­sence of clut­ter but plenty of con­tem­po­rary con­ceits, such as space-age glass el­e­va­tors and be­spoke fur­ni­ture that looks freshly air­lifted from the best de­sign stu­dios of Mi­lan. Su­san Kurosawa is The Aus­tralian’s travel editor.

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