An independent spirit is the key theme at the Alex, Perth’s latest boutique hotel.
A beacon of contemporary design has emerged among the eclectic mix of gritty bars, ethnic restaurants and cultural institutions that comprises Perth’s Northbridge. Long the haunt of rambunctious late-night revellers, the inner-city precinct is undergoing a renaissance, and the Alex Hotel is its latest standard-bearer.
Housed within a new six-storey building by award-winning architect Michael Patroni, the hotel is flanked by the CBD, Perth Cultural Centre and always-bustling William Street. Seventy-four bedrooms are tucked into its tight footprint. The lobby, mezzanine and rooftop deck are dedicated communal areas, while the top floor includes a private meeting room for up to 20 people. Minibars have been taken out of rooms and replaced with an honour-based kitchen concept on the mezzanine, while a Robert Simeoni-designed restaurant associated with the hotel is accessed via the laneway behind.
Its owners, a group of five Perth businessmen, believe the hotel’s location and European ‘townhouse’-style of hospitality give it an edge over competitors. “We wanted a hotel with personality and culture, with an equal focus between bedrooms and living spaces; a hotel like a home,” says Miles Hull, co-owner and general manager. “We looked to Arent & Pyke because they deal in contemporary, relaxed homes.”
“Our brief was to think of Alex as a personality — an old uncle you like to visit. It needed a sense of an individual who had lived in the space,” says Sarah-Jane Pyke, who worked on the interiors with business partner Juliette Arent and associate Dominique Brammah.
To achieve a timeless look and soften the industrial-style interior, Arent & Pyke collaborated with New Zealand design team Douglas and Bec on furniture and accessories. The resulting pieces sit alongside an eclectic mix of design classics ranging from Mattiazzi ‘Branca’ stools to Thonet ‘No. 811 Hoffmann’ cane chairs and classic Fermob ‘Bistro’ chairs. Ambient lighting, including designs by Le Corbusier and Ladies & Gentlemen, is hung throughout the hotel, while in the rooms, luxurious Bemboka blankets contrast with stark white Beltrami linen.
“We wanted elements to feel so classic you couldn’t place them,” says Pyke. “Is