Words by Sophie Cottrell || Photos by April Ku - @coffeewithme
The smell of the house made ginger tea served for us as we sit down to chat, fits right in with our perfectly still surrounds. Bar staff are quietly preparing for the lunch service and we sit down with, who should be, one of the proudest General Managers in the world, Anneke Brown. As we begin our conversation, you can see from the smile on her face and the sparkle in her eye that she loves where she works and she wants everyone to experience it the way that she does.
COMO The Treasury Hotel is nestled along the side of the Treasury Building in Perth City. Within these walls house four restaurants, four bars and an array of local stores. The moment you walk in the front, postal hall entrance, you step into this peaceful, manicured building that draws your attention to its historical features and incredible design.
The vision started over 20 years ago, when Adrian Fini decided to put forth his perspective on how to bring this neglected building to life. The Treasury building, at this stage, was closed off to the public and became a forgotten part of history within the city. There were many different tender proposals put forward including office and hospitality spaces. Most of the hospitality spaces were proposed that the entire building be the hotel, 150+ plus rooms which were beautifully restored, but small, just like the original offices.
Adrian’s proposal was different. He only had about 50 rooms in his plans and a completely different use of the ground space. Most proposals had the lobby as the postal hall, exclusive yet a very grand entrance. Adrian’s desire was to create the postal hall, the centre of the building, to be an absolute public space. He wanted everyone to walk into that space and feel some sort of ownership over the building and the inclusivity of it. The arrivals lounge was placed along the side of the building which made it even more exclusive and private.
It took over 6 years for the submission process and with the $110million invested this building will be around for at least 100 years to come. In December 2012 ground was broken on the restoration and by October 2015 the doors were opened to what is now called “The State Buildings”. The restoration process was in close relationship with the Heritage Council to ensure that every segment of the process was in keeping with the history of the building and the evidence of that is everywhere you look. 95% of the original structure remains, archways, windows and shutters. The tiles on the roof were replaced back to the original slate tile that were handpicked by Adrian in Wales at the same quarry the original slate roof tile was from.
It was very clear from the beginning that they kept the history of the building not only in it’s originality and design, but ensured that the the colour palette, material and soft furnishings were dictated by Western Australia. There are always fresh native flowers, WA produce, and local designers and businesses. Everything from the cups designed by Eucalypt Homewares, soaps, mattresses and the curated fine art are all local celebrations of the beauty that is found in this state. It is not named the State Buildings for no reason. Everything that they do is ensured that it is localised as much as possible.
The Wildflower restaurant, named after the beauty found in Western Australia’s 12,000 unique wildflowers, is found on the upper level of the building evokes a sense of calm when you enter the room, it feels exclusive yet at the same time as though you have walked into a part of the world that you belong. The menu is designed and created by Executive Chef Jed Gerrard and is a seasonal menu focusing on bringing together the freshest produce sourced by Jed himself.
Your stay at the hotel is a hosted experience, ensuring that you feel at home, yet leaving enough mystery that you can explore the space upon arrival. The crux of the hotel’s vision is the experience itself. “Experiential travel is nothing new, we are not writing a new story, but it hasn’t necessarily been done well in this city. In everything we decide to do, questions arise such as “Is that an experience? Does that tell a story? Is that something that will impact someone when they leave.”” Anneke explained.
Luxury has become subjective to each individual and has morphed and changed over time. One thing we do know is that space equals luxury. The Como Treasury has some of the most spacious, luxurious rooms you will ever walk into. The rich fabrics, local wood, soft furnishings, all of it brings our senses to life. To make things feel more like home, everything is included in the hotel during your stay. There are snacks in the private bar, in room refreshments in your mini bar, breakfast is served at Post and all you have to worry about when staying there is whether or not you will buy the up big at Teassential.
Watching the way people interact with this building is something unique that we have never seen before. Seeing Adrian’s dream of giving the building back to the people is noticeable on every level and we are so proud to be living in the city that thinks and hosts this way.
The future of Western Australia is very exciting.
For the dreamer - For the adventurer