Brad Foster headed to Perth recently and was blown away by how busy the WA capital was.

BY BRAD FOSTER

There was a story told on my most recent trip to Perth that illustrates just how popular the WA capital is right now, with hotels and the city generally riding the wave of the mining boom like never before.
Someone knew a couple who had an apartment in the city centre that they wanted to rent out. They had a $400 a week price tag on it and had no luck. An agent told them to increase the price to $600 per week. They did and it was snapped up by a mining company which has had staff in there for more than 18 months now.
Tall tale? Maybe but I doubt it. Wander around any hotel and you quickly come to the conclusion that this is one busy place where money really does seem to be growing on trees. Hotel occupancy rates are in the high 90s – 97 and 98 per cent are not rare occurrences. Try booking a room a week before you want to go and see how challenging it really is.
Crown, which took over Burswood recently, is busy most weekdays and booked out every weekend. Even the $1000 plus suites are reportedly hard to get.
In line with the new ownership, InterContinental Perth Burswood and Holiday Inn Perth Burswood have undergone a full rebrand to Crown Metropol and Crown Promenade. The Crown Metropol Perth is a world-class luxury facility, with fully refurbished floor foyers, guest rooms, suites and lobby areas. The sophisticated ISIKA Spa and ISIKA Fitness recently opened at the property. The day spa is located adjacent to a brand-new Vegas-style resort pool area complete with a VIP private cabana section called “The Enclave.”
The hotel offering is complemented by a premium dining portfolio, including globally renowned restaurant brands such as Neil Perry’s Rockpool Bar & Grill, Nobu Perth, and Modo Mio Cucina Italiana, with Bistro Guillaume to open next month (September 2012), featuring the cuisine of three-star Michelin trained French chef Guillaume Brahimi.
Crown Promenade Perth is described as stylish, affordable and modern, offering a second tier of accommodation at the complex. The hotel features a family friendly restaurant, intimate gym, infinity pool deck and comprehensive in-room service. The property is connected to Burswood Entertainment Complex, with easy access to its 23 restaurants and bars as well as the Burswood Convention Centre and Burswood Casino.
Back in town there are also plenty of accommodation and meetings options including the impressive Duxton Hotel Perth.
For the conference market, the five-star property ticks all the right boxes. The Duxton offers a wide range of meetings facilities and is well positioned to be just a hop, skip and jump from the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre.
The Duxton has nine stylish and functional meeting rooms, with a dedicated function floor on the lower lobby level, as well as the ballroom on the lobby level with natural light overlooking the outdoor pool. All function rooms have a choice of wireless and cabled internet access, except for Duxton 5 and The Boardroom where only wireless is available.
Fine dining is a signature indulgence at the property, with The Grill Restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. The popular gourmet lunch buffet each weekday offers a selection of hot and cold dishes, with individual portions prepared freshly as required. There is also a private dining room adjacent to The Grill Restaurant.

Walk this way

Nice weather and a relatively flat city makes walking for delegates a time and money saver. And, for those seeking something for a group to do in-between meetings who don’t mind pounding the pavement there is a company called Two Feet & a Heartbeat who can take you on a tour of the city, pointing out some lesser-known landmarks and facts.
“Two Feet & a Heartbeat strives to pique the interest of visitors by introducing them to the sights, sounds and tales of the city’s interesting history, culture and heritage in a fun, relaxed and informative way,” the team says.
And, having participated in one in Perth recently, I have to agree.

Visit www.twofeet.com.au to learn more.

Offsite options

With work continuing along the Perth foreshore the city remains one of the best in the country for off-site experiences that are easily accessible. A must do for any group visiting Perth who want to wow their delegates, particularly for a welcome cocktails function or final gala dinner, is an event at Fraser’s Restaurant located in the stunning Kings Park high above the city (but only about five or 10 minutes from the city centre).
The venue offers four distinct areas – the restaurant, a private dining room, the function centre and the State Reception Centre which can accommodate up to 400 delegates for a sit-down dinner.
This venue hosted the CHOGM Leaders’ Retreat in 2011 and it’s no wonder when you see the spectacular views and state-of-the-art facilities it offers.
Another great options for offsite events is the Perth Zoo, again just a short drive from the CBD. Indoors there is room for up to 300 delegates while outdoors, especially at night, the options are seemingly limitless, and well suited for much larger groups. The Main Lawn can accommodate up to 1000 for cocktails or 500 for a sit-down function. Other alternatives include cocktails overlooking the elephant enclosure, the Japanese Garden, and the Rothschild’s Function Room. Mustard Catering, one of Perth’s most established catering companies, has the contract to service groups at the zoo, and they shouldn’t disappoint.
Yet another option is the Western Australian Museum located in the port city of Fremantle. This venue offers first-class meetings facilities and plenty of options for cocktails and dinners.

Add a little sparkle

And when you want to add a little more sparkle to your event then make sure you speak to Paul Cumming, director of Phenomenon. On our “tour of duty” we were privileged to get a behind-the-scenes look at Phenomenon’s brand spanking new warehouse and offices, where we were given a little insight into how the company can take events to a new level with hand-crafted decor and special lighting effects.