The person sitting next to you on the plane has it all wrong. Thanks to the combination of a buoyant, resources-driven economy, a new generation of blue-sky thinkers and good old-fashioned hard graft, Perth circa 2016 is home to enough creative energy and creature comforts to sustain a very, very
Where does one begin his or her exploration of the West Australian capital? The recently opened Crown Towers is the perfect introduction to the new Perth. Constructed over three years at a cost of $645 million, Crown Towers Perth adheres to the more-is-more mantra of its sister property in Melbourne. The meticulously-designed hotel is home to 500 rooms and plenty of luxe flourishes, from the Blainey North-designed Crown Spa to the commanding restaurant, Epicurean and stylish cocktail bar, TWR. While guest rooms and suites boast plenty of perfect vistas, some of the best views can be found on the Crystal Club terrace. This private 15 floor lounge showcases unimpeded views of the resort, overlooking the Swan River and Perth city skyline.
Yet as good as Perth looks and photographs from a height, it's best experienced up-close and at ground level. Courtesy of the city's centralised population, most of the action in Perth has traditionally centred in and around the CBD: great news for travellers hoping to cram as much as possible into their day. King Street remains the mecca of luxury shopping with Prada, Georg Jensen and Gucci among the brands with a presence here. The Art Gallery of Western Australia remains the jewel in the Perth Cultural Centre's crown, not least because earlier this year, it introduced the world to its contemporary bistro, Arthouse. Open for weekday lunch and brunch as well as dinner on weekends, Arthouse is as notable for its clean, Scandi-style aesthetics as it is its menu of cosmopolitan winners: think grilled red curry spatchcock and polenta teamed with spanner crab and shellfish oil.
Premier King room at Crown Towers Perth.
The vibrant, inner-city precinct of Northbridge, meanwhile, manages to combine the city's characterful past with its exciting future. Here, Mediterranean institutions like Kakulas Brothers and The Re Store operate alongside bold new ventures like Chicho Gelato - a new-wave gelataria with a reputation for pristine ingredients and exciting chef collaborations - and No Mafia, a wine bar that looks to Italy's southern vales for its menu and inspiration. William Street, the suburb's main artery, is a hotbed of activity. At the Horseshoe Bridge end of the street is Young Love Mess Hall, a buzzy bar-slash-diner in a former Malaysian restaurant that serves deconstructed banh mi platters alongside native plum ice-cream. At the top of William Street closer to the Vietnamese food enclave of Brisbane Street is Meat Candy, a fresh-faced diner that draws influence from both the southern American food canon (great Nashville-style spicy fried chicken!) as it does the Australian milk bars of the '60s (reeded glass and cream-coloured walls!).
Outside of the city centre, Perth's western fringes offer the richest pickings to visitors. At Fuyu, journeyman chef David Coomer (you might remember him from Perth favourites such as Pata Negra and Star Anise) has returned to his Asian roots. Fuyu is an elegant restaurant that proves there's still a market for refined, grown-up dining. At Subiaco's Lulu Le Delizia, Joel Valvasori-Pereza is picking up where he left off at Lalla Rookh and focussing on the robust flavours of Italy's north. If you're wondering where to find some of Perth's best pasta, look no further than our man's smoked garganelli and squid ink bigotti.
Naturally, no visit to Perth is complete without a trip to the beach. On the way to the coast, make time to drop into Claremont to refuel at Billie H where young gun chef Alia Glorie holds court (hello devilled kidneys). One piece of advice: do your shopping at the boutiques at nearby Claremont Quarter before asking to see the wine list. Drinking too deeply of proprietor Dan Goodsell's cellar has been known to have a dangerous effect on purse strings.
This article is presented by Crown Towers Perth