COMO The Treasury Perth Review
With international travel being off the cards for the foreseeable future and crossing state boarders more akin to a game of Russian roulette I have recently had to look closer to home for somewhere to celebrate my 10 year wedding anniversary. That being the case I settled on the COMO The Treasury a beautiful 48 room hotel in the centre of Perth home to the wonderful Wildflower restaurant. As both hotel and restaurant constantly win awards for being best of the best it was safe to say that I was quietly confident that my anniversary night out was in safe hands. Pulling up in front of the hotel the first thing you notice is that it is housed in unquestionably the most attractive building in Perth. Beautiful red brick walls, ornate stone balustrades and slate roofs capped in intricate wrought iron filigree - you could be forgiven for thinking yourself in 19th century Europe. Not that there was much time to take in the scenery as in a blink the valet had whisked away our luggage and ushered us into the tasteful reception lounge.
Comfortably settled on a plush couch we were welcomed to the hotel and offered a choice of refreshments, I think there was sparkling water and juice on offer but to be honest I had stopped listening after the word 'champagne'. Now this is how checking into a hotel should be, no lining up and waiting. Apart from Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island I have not come across another hotel in Australia which has adopted this sensible policy. Tragically the Lodge burned down in the 2020 bushfires and is in the process of being rebuilt. If you are interested in what a stay there was like I do have a review of it. Getting back to this review, however, we had arrived earlier than the appointed 2pm check-in but I had been assured that we were very welcome to come at twelve and if the room was ready we could go straight up or as happened they would give us a call as soon as it was. As this provided us with the opportunity to enjoy some rare child-free shopping we were more than happy to head out into Perth's main shopping arcade located on the hotel's doorstep.
Upon our return to reception, Jesse kindly escorted us to our room which was on the third floor towards the back of the building. On a previous visit we had stayed in a City Room at the the front of the hotel overlooking the Supreme Court Gardens. We already liked our new Treasury Balcony Room better though, as it was very conveniently located next to the pool, gym and spa. Walking through the Treasury Building is a soothing journey through softly lit corridors on plush wool carpets. Everywhere you look there are period features to enjoy and you can start to appreciate how the original architecture has been lovingly preserved. As the interior corridors are kept relatively dark they are in stark contrast to the rooms, which are light and airy.
Stepping through the door into our room I immediately felt the cares of the world slip from my shoulders as there was such a wonderful feeling of serenity and restrained elegance. When I had booked the room I was expecting there to be French doors and balcony access, however, as this is a corner room it enjoyed a double aspect and twice as many windows. There were three sets of doors on one side and four sets running down the side into the bathroom, as well as a couple of oval feature windows in the corner. Which as you can see from the pictures bathed the room in natural light.
Jesse took us over to the mini bar and explained that during our stay the contents of the fridge were complimentary, as were three jars containing cashews, lemon biscuits and chocolate covered almonds. I think this is a particularly lovely feature of the COMO, as there is nothing as unenjoyable as being quizzed at checkout as to how much of the mini bar you denuded during your stay, on top of being hit with the bill for accomodation and dining - the proverbial salt in the wound.
The contents of the fridge had a very West Australian make up, with local beers from Margaret River and Fremantle, and Australian made juices and mixers. The focus on Western Australian produce extends beyond the complimentary drinks and snacks, as there were bottles of Hippocampus Gin and Vodka as well as single malt scotch from the Great Southern Distilling Company. The full sized white and red wine was from Vasse Felix in Margaret River, from their Filius range.
COMO The Treasury is also home to some very special boutique artisan shops and it is wonderful to see that their produce makes it into their rooms, specifically honey cake from The Honeycake and Sue Lewis Chocolates. The honey cake is, as the name implies, a cake made predominantly from honey, using a Czech recipe with an Australian twist and it has become a bit of a passion for West Australian foodies. The COMO very kindly provides a couple of pieces to their guests on arrival that sit under a glass cloche. Sue Lewis chocolates are my favourite chocolates; they are hand crafted on site in the State Building and are beyond words good - I cannot recommend their rocky road enough. There are some examples of Sue Lewis chocolate in the mini bar but they will also appear later on at night as part of the turndown service.
Jesse completed our walk through and let us know that our bags had already been delivered. Something I greatly appreciated, as luggage chasing is one of the tasks my wife assigns to me when we travel. After inviting us to call down to reception if we had any requests, Jesse handed me our key and departed. Yes, an actual key, not a plastic card but a metal key attached to a large leather fob. On one side of the fob the leather is embossed the room number and on the other the longitude and latitude of Perth, which I, as someone who lives and breaths maps, thought was brilliant. The bumpy bit is where the clever electric thingy is which tells the lift which floors you can access. Normally I would not spend a paragraph of a review waxing lyrical about a key but I thought in this day and age of everything being done by tapping your phone that this was a lovely nod to a simpler way of doing things using quality materials. If you are wondering what the picture of the fish is, it is print from a local WA artist Philippa Nikulinsky from the Cape Arid art collection and on the other side is a hand written note welcoming us back to the hotel - I am considering putting it in a frame as a memento of the anniversary.
The hotels website claims that a Treasury Balcony Room is 70 square meters but I got the distinct impression that this room was substantially larger; the bathroom alone was the size of some hotel rooms I have stayed in. Pride of place in front of the French doors is a generous sized bath that comfortably fits two. Bath time is further enhanced by a generous supply of bath salts that leave flower petals floating on the surface. On the wall is a heated towel rail, something I am determined to have fitted to my own bathroom before I die as there is nothing worse than stepping out of a shower feeling all clean only to dry off with a damp towel. The shower had a huge rain head shower and the water pressure was excellent.
The bathroom also doubled as storage for bags and clothes, which I thought was an ingenious use of space, as I find it frustrating when moving around the main living area of a hotel room to be surrounded by luggage piled on racks or stashed in corners, it messes with my OCD. There was also another large full length cupboard in the hallway leading back into the room, so it is safe to say that if you like to travel with the kitchen sink and like to unpack all your clothes for a stay then this is the room for you.
The bathroom as you can see blends perfectly with the decor of the main living area, with its light beach cabinetry and cream marble, but the highlight for me was the floor. I loved the floor, it reminded me of the inside of a bee hive, maybe it was just the honey cake that inspired me. The hexagonal mosaic and the slight variation in colour were beautiful and, when lit, positively glowed with warmth. But if actual warmth is what you wanted from the floor then that too was just a flick of a switch away, as it is fitted with underfloor heating. However, being the middle of summer I was more interested in the air-conditioning and that, I am happy to report, was superb. Huge outlets ran the entire way round both bedroom and bathroom, set to 19 degrees my wife was very soon telling me to turn it off, I compromised on 21.
The bath being situated just in front of two sets of large French windows does require that there be some means of blocking out the view of visitors to the Perth Library next door. This brings me on to probably my favourite feature of the room apart from possibly the bed. That is the automatic sheer and block out blinds. At a push of a button all seven block out curtains in the bedroom drop as one. Now, I have been in many rooms where the blinds and curtains close by themselves but this uniform precision of movement is just brilliant to behold. There is another set of buttons in the bathroom which control the two in there.
As I may have insinuated the bed was, now I am searching for a word which is better than amazing. It was without doubt the best bed I have ever slept in, I am really fussy about my bed, I buy the best thing that Sealy has to offer and change my Dunlopillos yearly, but this was so much better than my bed at home - it was like floating on air. It beat out the bed at the Four Seasons in Sydney which had previously been my favourite. At the foot of the marvellous bed sits an impressive 55 inch Samsung LED TV with a decent selection of on demand movies, standard terrestrial TV stations and a smattering of FOXTEL channels. As we were only staying one night TV was not of much interest on this visit. If we were staying longer, however, and had wanted to enjoy a quiet night in curled up in front of something on Netflix then that also would not have been a problem, as conveniently located on that black square underneath the TV in the middle of the cabinet is a connection hub with an input for an HDMI cable. So as long as you have something that can stream your favourite content and has an HDMI output you are all set at the COMO.
What I did want, however, was some music to listen to. Initially I looked around and nothing jumped out at me to be a Bluetooth speaker that I could connect my phone to, which is what I normally look to do. That was until I realised that the retro looking clock radio was in fact cleverer than its looks belied, the fact that it also said Bluetooth on the front should have been a giveaway. In the end it proved ridiculously easy: turn the mode dial to BT and instantly an option to pair with Tivoli Radio popped up on my phone. Job done. The little box produced a very good sound for its size that filled the room nicely.
Having a 6 o'clock reservation at Wildflower we decided that it would be best to have a light lunch, so after a protracted negotiation over the in-room dining menu we finally settled on a selection of cold Italian meats, a cheese board and some fresh buffalo mozzarella on toast. To drink I had bought along a bottle of bubbles from home which had been chilling in the bar fridge but was still a little warm, so a quick call to reception and along came a large ice bucket.
There was a lot to like about room service, firstly it was quick, a major tick, and secondly the attention to detail which had been apparent in every aspect of our stay so far continued in spades. When I phoned for ice reception specifically wanted to know if this was for chilling a bottle, as if so they would provide an ice bucket and when I went to get glasses from the mini bar they were actual crystal champagne glasses. Most hotels I find if they do provide wine glasses in the room, give you small wine glasses with fat lips, as if to say if you are not drinking our booze then you don't get the good stuff. Secondly, the food was delicious; I did not take an after shot of lunch but I can assure you that not a morsel was left.
After lunch we headed for a dip in the pool, which at the COMO is quite the experience. The hotel has a glass extension on the 4th floor which at the front houses the Wildflower restaurant and towards the back the pool and gym. Stepping out onto the pool deck is reminiscent of being up on the rooftops in Mary Poppins, minus the soot. Through the massive two story glass windows there is a wonderful view of the COMO's stunning heritage roof, that bears a striking resemblance to that of a Parisian chateau. Being in essence a large glass box it is possible to imagine that the pool area could get quite hot on a 40 degree day, but once again clever technology comes to the rescue as the glass window panes would automatically open and close to control the temperature.
The pool is at least a good 20 meters and the temperature is kept somewhere in the high 20s, sorry I did not bring a tape measure or thermometer so I can guesstimate at best. What I can tell you is that if you want some proper exercise it is more than long enough for laps, but if you just want to float and enjoy the relaxing spa music and take in the incredible scenery then it is warm enough that you do not feel the need to swim to stay warm.
After a visit to the steam room, which was located just off of the pool deck, bottled water and chilled towels from the fridge were greatly appreciated. As you would expect there are plenty of white fluffy towels on hand but what I found to be a really thoughtful feature that went beyond what I would normally expect from a hotel or resort was the provision of bath robes and slippers. The pool area is unattended, with the only advice being that the pool is not suitable for diving and an invitation to call reception if you need anything.
Up a wooden flight of stairs from the pool deck is the gym, a light filled air-conditioned suite of rooms that enjoy an even better outlook over the Perth cityscape. There are treadmills, bikes, rowing machines as well as balls, matts and mirrors. Now, I have been in hotel gyms that have spectacular views, the Sofitel in Darling Harbour Sydney being one of my favourites, but this one was up there. Whilst being surrounded by glass tower blocks and the ever present State Building skyline, there was an overwhelming sense of space and light.
The equipment was all state of the art, top of the range, and needless to say immaculately clean. It was an absolute pleasure to visit the gym, take a smart phone with you and you can stream whatever content you like to the cardio machines as they have built in near field communication. On the two occasions that I visited I had both the pool and gym entirely to myself, which felt extremely decadent.
Speaking of decadent, if you are looking for a bit of pampering then there is the Shambhala Spa. The in house spa blends western and eastern treatments, offering massages and facials. I have not tried the spa myself but my wife has and she reports that it was a wonderful experience. The closest I have gotten to the spa apart from walking through it on the way to get to our room is the shampoo, conditioner and body wash which they provide in the bathroom, all of which smell amazing.
If however the thought of exercise on holiday is not for you then there is always the library which is well stocked with books for adults and children. And if you happen to be extremely unlucky and visit Perth on one of its rare rainy days then there is also a selection of board games with which to pass the time. Well having whiled away a very pleasant afternoon exploring the hotel and enjoying the ammenities we headed back to our room get ready for the main even of the visit - dinner at Wildflower.
Dressed and pressed, we made our way up to Wildflower for our 6:00 dinner reservation. On arrival we were wished a very happy anniversary and shown to a window table with stunning views out over Elizabeth Quay and the Swan River. For dinner we opted for the six-course tasting menu with matched wines. On our last visit, which had been a baby-moon, my wife had very much enjoyed the native Australian non-alcoholic beverage pairing but was unsurprisingly looking forward to experiencing the real thing.
To address the elephant in the room at the outset, dinner at Wildflower is not cheap, $165 per person for the meal and $125 per person for the Sommelier's matched wines. But like so much in life, you judge an experience on value, was it worth the amount you paid? And I can honestly say, yes, yes dinner at Wildflower is well worth it. The quality of the ingredients, the creativity and presentation of the natively inspired menu and the service all go together to make dinner at Wildflower an unforgettable experience. There is a sense of theatre to the night that raises Wildflower above your standard fine dining experience.
The first course of the evening was a raw shark bay scallop served with Geraldton wax, cucumber and sesame. It is said that you "eat with your eyes" and the team at Wildflower must truly believe this as the presentation of each and every course was a work of art. The sharpness of the flavour of the raw scallop was beautifully counterbalanced by the creaminess of the white wine that accompanied this course.
The second course was roasted Manjimup marron with brown butter heirloom carrot miso. You definitely know that you are in Western Australia when you are served marron and this one was perfectly cooked and beautifully presented. The sommelier in this instance had reversed the paring of the first course so as to counteract the creaminess of the miso.
The third course was south-west lamb saddle served with smoked eggplant, and peppermint gum yoghurt. I really do not feel qualified to adequately explain in mere words just how delicious this was so I will let the picture do the talking but it is safe to say that it tasted just as good as it looked.
With the sun setting we moved onto our fourth course which was dry-aged Wagin duck with native lime, golden witlof and apricot. The duck was cooked to perfection, with the fat beautifully rendered. If at this stage you believe that I memorised the menu, I must come clean and admit to having taken picture to assist with my recollection of the night. In fact as every course was presented by a different waiter or waitress who explained in detail the construction of each dish, I do not believe that anyone could remember every element of the menu.
There were two desert courses, the first was a triple-cream ice cream with native hibiscus and white balsamic. Now I must confess I have an extreme soft spot for ice cream, which is probably why I forgot to take a picture of this course. So the above picture is of the last course of the evening, which was a native basil & passionfruit coconut marshmallow and lemon aspen. My over riding memory of this dish was of eating fresh mountain air; it was so light and refreshing it was the perfect way to end the evening.
The decor of the restaurant is light and modern, picked out in greens and silvers. The artwork on the walls is Australian inspired, depicting wide open skies and soaring gum trees. The service throughout the night was impeccable. The staff conveyed a real love and pride for the food, and the pace at which the meal was served was just right; enough time to savour each course without ever being left wondering when the next would arrive.
Dinner being all over by 9:30 we headed back to our room to enjoy a quiet nightcap on the balcony before falling into the world's most incredibly comfortable bed. Skip forward many hours and it was once again time to think of something to eat. Breakfast at the COMO is served in the POST Osteria and Bar.
Breakfast was included with the room, and I have often found that when a hotel does this you end up with a self service buffet with some questionable scrambled eggs. BUT (and this is a big BUT) not at the COMO Treasury. POST puts on a truly exceptional breakfast, so much so you might not be able to find room for dinner. Having been shown to a table we are initially served with seasonal fruit and a freshly squeezed COMO Shambhala juice of the day.
Barista-made coffee turned up shortly, the coffee is excellent, strong enough to have a kick but in no way bitter, richly flavoured and served at just the right temperature. Before moving to Australia I was not nearly so fussy about coffee, Nescafe Gold Blend was about as fancy as I could imagine coffee ever getting.
A basket of pastries was the next item to hit the table, wrapped in a crisp white table cloth were a freshly baked croissant, chocolate croissant and sweet muffin. It was only now that I grasped that the fruit and pastries were just side dishes and there was a whole a la carte breakfast menu to choose from. There are lemon and blueberry pancakes, covered in maple syrup and served with vanilla mascarpone and omelettes with roast tomatoes and salsa verde to choose from. But being unadventurous I opted for the the Baldivis free range scrambled eggs on toasted sourdough, with sides of sausages and avocado.
Breakfast at POST is a great way to start the day, the restaurant is peaceful and the service quick and friendly. The cooked food was mouthwateringly delicious and the fresh fruit was sweet and ripe. My only advice would be to go down early so that you can give this wonderful breakfast the time it deserves to enjoy.
Having packed our bags and done the mandatory final check of the room we headed down to reception to make our exit. With the efficiency and warmth that we had come to expect throughout our stay checkout was executed seamlessly. Stepping out into the bright Perth sunshine our car was waiting with the luggage already stowed and all that was left was to be offered some water to take with us on the road. It is just left to say that If you are looking to take a staycation at somewhere which exudes elegance and charm coupled with unsurpassed service then COMO The Treasury Perth is the one to for you.
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