Como The Treasury, Perth

Posted in Projects on 22 February, 2016

Making its debut into the Australian market, COMO Hotels’ reputation for crafting personalised luxury precedes itself with the opening of COMO The Treasury. Hamish Kilburn writes…

According to Singapore-based Australian architect Kerry Hill, “luxury hotel guests require a calm, peaceful, well organised and welcoming hotel experience. This also needs to be more residential and private in nature.”

Light, airy spaces offer understated luxury in a classic-heritage building. COMO Hotels makes its mark on the capital city of Western Australia, Perth, with a fashionable entry on Cathedral Square. Hill led the design project. He says, “It has been a clear intention since the beginning of the project to respectfully and sensitively restore and reuse the highly significant and historic building to welcome a new luxury hotel in Perth’s Central Business District.”

Although the building sat unused for 20 years, the property has had a colourful past spanning over 140 years. Since opening in 1885, it has served as the town hall, post office, land titles office, as well as a treasury.

Hill has provided an excellent example on how to breathe new life into a heritage property, while keeping its legacy very much a large part of its charm and attraction. A remarkable 95 per cent of the original building has been meticulously returned to its 19th-century origins. Hill and his team have given a fine-looking building a new home. “Layers of internal additions and finishes were removed to reveal original work, the impressive Victorian roofs were restored with original slate, and original fenestration and the building fabric was either restored or renewed,” he explains.

Large glass doors welcome guests into a spacious chamber where natural light is met by high ceilings. To me, entering the lobby resembles walking into a prestigious museum. “It retains its existing, beautifully restored wide jarrah floor boards.” Hill explains, “Here, a more lively energised atmosphere was warranted for the interiors.” In the public areas, dove-grey and deep-cream walls provide a warm atmosphere that is complimented superbly with elusive-linear lights along with soft upward-facing spots that emphasise the majestic pillars around the room. Hill says, “Controlling the harsh daylight was important. Artificial lighting was designed to enhance certain building features and to provide a variety of lighting moods.”


COMO’s familiar emphasis on unobtrusive luxury is marked with custom-made ‘Grand Posture’ king-size beds and handcrafted bespoke furniture. The windows combine both contemporary and innate architecture with circular and rectangular frames, which filter natural light into the open and comfortable regions of each room. Modest beige wood is featured heavily in the 48 elegant rooms and suites. Wooden headboards and side tables blend with the oatmeal-coloured carpets and create a natural environment that is also a familiar one. On the upper-floor suites, small spotlights indirectly illuminate striking white-wooden beams, creating a new dimension to the minimalist interior design that has been imagined.

In the ensuite bathrooms, German-designed Kaldewei Duo freestanding bathtubs provide a relaxing element to guests’ experiences. Twin vanities and travertine stone tiles with heated floors add refinement to the personal areas of each guestroom.

Dining in: Up high or down low

Recent properties that have opened around the world suggest heavily that dining in fine places is just as much about the architectural space that surrounds the F&B areas as well as the quality of the food that is offered. COMO The Treasury offers a supreme rooftop-dining experience in the shape of Wildflower Restaurant. Unmatched views that span across Swan River endorse the award-winning menu that showcases contemporary cuisine with the best of West Australian produce.

For guests that would prefer to keep their feet closer to the ground, Post is a convivial spot that serves modern Australian dishes with a French influence. It is located in the original franking room and has a capacity of approximately 50-60 guests. The fresh and simple space leads through an adjoining room to the postal hall itself, which is accessible to the public. It becomes a connection between the hotel’s ground floor bars and restaurants and St Georges Terrace through to the office Tower Plaza behind.

Finished in rich tones of dark wood and travertine with softly lit bronze-gold ceilings, a dramatic spa sits in the building’s basement.

The hotel offers modest luxury in all pockets of the building. Careful design by Kerry Hill Architects has ensured that the building’s legacy is appropriately referenced throughout. Hill concludes, “This led to a design approach where the majority of the existing spaces within the building were retained, either as guestrooms within former offices, or in the larger public halls and rooms in the lower floor. These efforts resulted in an approach to the design of the COMO The Treasury, which took into consideration the changing needs of discerning hotel guests in city hotels of similar calibre, and which also addressed the position the development would ultimately take in the City of Perth.” And it has done so in style!

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