COMO might be best known for spa retreats in tropical destinations, but this urban property housed inside Perth’s historic State Buildings is a piece de resistance. It certainly has the awards to prove it. Not one to rest on its laurels, COMO The Treasury has emerged from self-isolation with a little extra sparkle.
Traveller: Lisa Perkovic
Room: Heritage Room
Address: 1 Cathedral Avenue, Perth
Date: July 2020
Best for: Anyone who appreciates immaculately styled yet deliberately understated design, with a soft spot for Corinthian columns.
The Signature factor
From the sparkling wine at check-in (now with an on-the-spot temperature check for extra safety) to a text message from the night manager asking if we’d like the COMO vehicle to pick us up when we’ve set out on foot for dinner and a storm is approaching, there is absolutely nothing understated about the service at this intimate 48-room hotel. The team are discreet and unobtrusive, but their attention to detail is supreme.
COMO’s trademark barely-there aesthetic merges with the breathtaking bones of a 19th-century Victorian building that is an icon of the Perth CBD. High ceilings, arched corridors, dormer windows, balconies with a colonnade of Corinthian columns; the original features do all the talking. The rest is kept white and light, from the walls to the bed frames. The result is a blank canvas where you can hide away from the world, even with the city right on your doorstep.
Official buildings are usually no fun, but COMO has masterfully reimagined the Treasury, Post Office and the Land and Titles offices into the kind of elegant Maison you’d expect to find in London or Paris. Casual elegance is truly an art form, the lobby is art gallery meets lounge room and the comfortable chic theme continues all the way through.
There may only be 48 rooms, but they’re all generously proportioned from the old Treasury offices, with unique shapes, ceiling heights and layouts. Heritage rooms are 60 square metres, with a king-size bed, day bed, balcony overlooking the quiet, peaceful Cathedral Square and a supersized bathroom. The full-size tub is almost a piece of art and deserves to be appreciated. The heated travertine stone floors are decadent and divine.
At 120 square metres, you’d be happy to move into the COMO Suite and never leave. Looking out over the Stirling Gardens and St Georges Terrace, the bedroom, dining room and lounge room are dreamy.
On my plate
The hotel’s showstopper is Wildflower, where Executive Chef Kim Brennan brings Western Australia to you through delicate produce-driven dishes that win award after award. If you can’t get a table here, the bar is still high at Petition Kitchen. Perched down the southern wing of the State Building, the vibe is industrial chic and the dishes are big on punchy flavours. The broccoli and grain salad has had a local following since day one. End the evening with a nightcap in the bottle-shop-meets-wine-bar Petition Wine Bar & Merchant, where you can peruse the very extensive local wine collection on the shelves and grab a bottle for the evening (there’s only a $15 corkage fee for anything you pick up) or ask the very capable bartenders to whip you up something special. Merchant’s bar has just moved into the centre of the space and extended seating out into the main hall of the building, a space shared by newly reimagined Post café, now gearing towards an Italian-inspired menu. Expect both spaces to be filled with well-heeled city workers morning and night.
Highlights from the mini-bar
Winner of many ‘best mini-bar’ awards and well-deserving, the mini-bar is all-inclusive with two local craft beers, a cold-pressed juice, ample still and sparkling water and Fever Tree tonic to keep your thirst quenched. The trio of treats – shortbread, nuts and chocolates – are the icing on the cake. All are replenished daily.
I wish I could take home…
The COMO Shambhala Invigorate bath salts, but alas, it was well worth using them in all in one go in that tub.
Synonymous with COMO is the spa experience, and the COMO Shambhala Urban Retreat deserves its reputation. Beloved by locals and travellers alike, it books out, so schedule your spa session in advance and get ready to bliss out.
Start your day with a signature COMO wellness juice at Post, where breakfast is served for hotel and outside guests – the pastries from local superstar bakers Bread In Common are not to be missed. Take afternoon tea in the Treasury Lounge and Bar, have an aperitif in Merchant, and dinner in Long Chim, Petition Kitchen or Wildflower – you truly never need to leave. The 20-metre indoor lap pool dramatically perched in a glass atrium along one of the wings of the building is certainly worth some time, and the gym is well kitted out with a full set of kinesis machines alongside all the usual offerings.
Perth CBD is literally on your doorstep. Walk down the hill towards Elizabeth Quay and the famed Oyster Bar or a few blocks in the other direction to the likes of Tiffany & Co, Louis Vuitton and Chanel.
Too many to list, the hotel holds many top spots on lists for best hotel restaurant, best city hotel and best design. Notably, Travel + Leisure named COMO The Treasury as the number one Best City Hotel in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific at the World’s Best Awards for 2020.
Rockstars, royalty… you name it and they have stayed here during a trip out west.
Breakfast is served from 6.30am until 10.30am, perfect for business folks but also ideal for leisure travellers who want to linger over a three-course start to the day that’s included with your stay.
An actual metal room key is a novelty, but we’re guessing the heavy leather fob that lets you access the elevators is designed to help keep track of the keys. It’s certainly large enough to warrant leaving with the staff when you leave, but given how many meals you’ll have on site, it feels odd to leave the key at the front desk just for breakfast.
Where to find it
COMO The Treasury can be found on the corner of St Georges Terrace and Barrack Street, it doesn’t get much more central.