COMO THE TREASURY
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.