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Feb 14, 2017
It’s the most expensive hotel ever created in Australia. So what is a stay here like? By Emma Mulholland.
Just try not to look impressed as you enter the Bates Smart-designed lobby at Perth’s recently opened Crown Towers, with its seven-metre-high ceilings and vast, 6000-piece Ian Dowling ceramic sculpture. Then there are the Taj Mahal-inspired chandeliers, which sway with the breeze, each one weighing three tonnes.
Walking in, it feels like you’re entering some kind of sacred space – so much so, people tend to talk in hushed tones.
Every detail has been considered: the handrails in the lifts that are covered in woven leather, the staff uniforms created by Perth-born designer Kym Ellery, even the custom scent that wafts through the air vents.
The sheer scale of the place is almost breathtaking. As are the spacious rooms, the vision of Texas-born, Singapore-based interior architect Michael Fiebrich of Michael Fiebrich Design. The brief for this property was, as Fiebrich describes it, “Bold, masculine interiors… with unmistakable moments of grandeur.”
The 500-room hotel joins two others – Crown’s Metropol and Promenade – and the casino on the banks of the Swan River in Burswood. A $645-million build, it’s the most expensive hotel ever created in Australia. The good news for travellers is that basic rooms – which in the scheme of things, are anything but – start at $338 per night. It’s not cheap, but it is good value.
So what do you get for $645 million? For a start, lagoon pools and a resort-style pool area comprising 8000 square metres (the equivalent to almost half the Melbourne Cricket Ground oval); an ultra-luxe Blainey North-designed spa that’s the size of a boutique hotel, offering exclusive La Prairie treatments and a Roman-bath inspired steam room; and the Chairman’s Villa, a $25,000-per-night suite designed for stars and high-rollers, with a massage room, office, gym and baby grand. And there’s more…
It may not be the Chairman’s Villa but splash out on a Premier Club Suite for a breakfast nook, lounge room and walk-in closet, plus a separate bedroom and access to the Crystal Club lounge, with complimentary drinks and canapés.
Each room’s hushed grey palette and classic furnishings are designed to frame the view rather than detract from it. In the best suites, that view takes in the Swan River and Perth’s twinkling skyline.
Chances are, you’ll end up hanging out in the bathroom, where there’s a floor-to-ceiling glass wall, TV, rain shower and a stunning vanity with his-and-hers basins. Again, nothing has been overlooked: the circular motif above the ergonomically designed bath is thought to be good feng shui, while the toiletries collection includes things you may actually need (hair elastics! Toothpaste!).
If you want to eat in town, you’ll need a taxi (it’s a 10-minute trip). Alternatively, the Crown precinct houses Neil Perry’s Rockpool Bar & Grill, Bistro Guillaume, high-end Chinese restaurant Silks and lauded Japanese joint Nobu – all just a 10-minute walk from Towers.
And don’t forget your runners: the 3.4-kilometre path by the river is a favourite among locals. Keep your eyes out for the black swans that give the river its name.
Technically speaking, Crown Tower’s much-hyped Epicurean is a buffet restaurant. But calling it that doesn’t do justice to the beautifully styled, meticulously prepared produce: the seafood, sushi, tandoori oven and carvery selection is a far cry from the bain-marie hotel offerings of yore.
And if the chocolate fountain – thought to be the largest of its kind in the world – doesn’t make you feel like a kid in a lolly shop, the dessert drawers will. Exquisite treats are housed in a glass cabinet – you simply pull out the drawers and pick your poison.
There’s no shortage of pools – even the day spa has its own “vitality pool”, with jets to soothe tired muscles pre-treatment. But for shameless indulgence, book a cabana at The Enclave, an exclusive pool area. Each one of the cabanas is equipped with a lounge and day beds, a sound system, minibar, TV and ceiling fan, plus you get access to the private 25-metre pool and a host to ensure the drinks keep flowing.