The 19th Century heritage listed State Buildings have played an important role in the West Australian capital city’s history over the past 140 years, previously serving as the Lands, Titles and Treasury departments, Immigration offices, and the office of the Premier and Cabinet amongst others.
“Initial planning studies with the conservation architects lead to the decision to retain all the original government office rooms, and pair them via interconnecting doorways so that each pair would comprise a bedroom and a bathroom,” explains architect Kerry Hill.
The result sees 48 modern rooms spread over the hotel’s four floors, with each one unique in size and appearance.
Bathed in natural light and clothed in creamy whites and the grey-greens and bronzes seen in West Australian native foliage, all rooms offer views of either Perth’s cityscape, The Treasury courtyard, Cathedral Square, Stirling Gardens, St Georges Terrace or the Swan River.
The re-installation of dormer windows and Victorian roofs with copper trimmings contributed to the project returning an impressive 95 percent of the buildings to their 19th-century origins.
“We went to the original quarry in Wales to obtain the slate for the roof, and we recycled all of the timber that we had to pull up,” says FJM Property director Adrian Fini.
Finished in rich tones of dark wood and travertine and softly lit bronze ceilings, COMO Shambhala Urban Escape is open to hotel guests and Perth residents looking for a wellness sanctuary. A full selection of massages and purifying body detoxifications is offered in four treatment rooms, with a range of COMO’s own products and more by Western Australian skincare company Sodashi.
The gym, with state-of-the-art equipment, and a 20-metre indoor pool enjoy uninterrupted views of surrounding CBD buildings through louvered glass walls, making for a spectacular view both day and night.
A steel-framed glass box with views over the city from the fourth floor terrace was crane lifted on to the hotel and is now home to the popular Wildflower restaurant. Seating 80 guests in the dining room and another 30 in the bar and outside terrace, Executive Chef Jed Gerrard serves contemporary European dishes revolving around the indigenous ethos of six seasons.
“From day one our desire was to make sure that the building was permeable for everybody,” says Adrian. “When we tendered for it we said that every door that exists on the building would be open to the public.
Post, a modern Australian bistro with a French influence, spills out through an adjoining room into the original postal hall that’s paved in three tones of travertine.
Additional venues contributing to the overall social experience on the ground-floor include The Treasury Lounge and Bar; Petition Kitchen, Petition Beer Corner, and Petition Wine Bar & Merchant; late-night lounge bar, Halford; and David Thompson’s Long Chim Thai restaurant.
West Australian artists including David Brazier, Philippa and Alex Nikulinsky, Brendan van Hek and Flynn Talbot have works displayed throughout, offering international guests a glimpse of the state’s impressive local talent.
When it came to determining what independent stores would reside in the hotel, it all came down to showcasing unique West Australians and their individual offerings.
Between the basement and the ground floor, hotel guests and the general public will find Aurelio Costarella’s flagship store, a chocolatier, a coffee shop that incorporates a 135-year-old crank wheel that was salvaged from the State Buildings, a boutique dessert shop, and a natural skincare store amongst many others.
Read the full story in Indesign issue 65.
Kerry Hill Architects
COMO The Treasury
Photography: Martin Morrell