17/10/2017 - 14:57

Hospitality a key ingredient at new InterContinental

17/10/2017 - 14:57

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Smart design, new hospitality offerings, and local business partnerships are core ingredients of the InterContinental Perth City Centre hotel’s strategy to position itself for long-term success in the CBD.

Woods Bagot’s design blends local artwork and materials with the luxury hotel brand. Photos: Attila Csaszar

Smart design, new hospitality offerings, and local business partnerships are core ingredients of the InterContinental Perth City Centre hotel’s strategy to position itself for long-term success in the CBD.  

The luxury hotel brand opened on the corner of Hay and King streets on Sunday after two years of refurbishment works to the 16-storey building, built as an office block in the 1970s and converted into the Rydges Hotel in the 1990s.

The open terrace on level one. 

The revamp was headed by design firm Woods Bagot, led by associate principal Eva Sue, with the new hotel offering 240 guest rooms, several studios and business suites, as well as an array of new dining venues.

“It was about creating an open space for a wider audience to enjoy,” Ms Sue told Business News.

“We wanted to complement the neighbourhood as well as develop an intimate guest experience with a residential feel, like you were stepping into your own luxury home off the streets of a busy city.

“To add to that homely feel, our stylist spent three days choosing all the books within the gallery business suites.

“And all the artwork is original, specifically curated for the hotel by Linton & Kay Galleries, mostly by local artists across Western Australia or within Australia.”

A gallery business suite.

A sculpture suspended in the lobby consisting of 76 glass-blown leaves created by Margaret River-based artisan Gerry Reilly is just one of over 680 locally commissioned artworks displayed throughout the hotel’s public spaces and private rooms. 

Ms Sue said a carved tree trunk made from WA sheoak was another standout piece. In addition to the artwork, the use of natural timbers and stones throughout helped blend the global luxury brand with a local touch, she said.

One of the more than 300 artworks curated by Linton & Kay Galleries.

“We worked with a lot of spatial constraints within a small building footprint, keeping the walls and curved windows,” Ms Sue said.

“The Rydges had one restaurant; now the building has three, as well as business lounges and the InterContinental Club on the top floor and a basement kitchen.

“And we also opened up the areas on level one to create a large and open seamless area and extended some of the terraces as well.

“We activated the ground floor with outward-facing restaurants; you don’t have to go through the front door of the hotel to enter them.

“We wanted it to become a welcoming and inviting place, not just for the guests but also for the locals.”  

The InterContinental Club on the rooftop level. 

InterContinental Perth City Centre general manager Adam McDonald said that, when the business started to position the property, a key focus was placed on developing its hospitality offerings – its hole-in-the-wall cafe called Graffiti, the Heno & Rey tapas bar, and the refined woodfire-grill restaurant, Ascua.

The new woodfire-grill restaurant Ascua.

“Our bars and restaurants will be the place to be,” Mr McDonald told Business News

“We went through the process of pricing our restaurants against competitors and they weren’t hotel restaurants, they were the likes of Print Hall, Ku De Ta and the bars in Shafto Lane.

“And we looked at the recruitment of our people; we targeted restaurant and bar staff for those venues.

“We wanted to make sure we were appealing to Perth people, to make them want to dine with us.

“We see ourselves really adding to the precinct and helping to activate the Perth CBD, and that’s also been about building partnerships.”

A private booth at Ascua.

The hotel has already partnered with the WA Opera to offer pre-show meals, and will collaborate with Kings Street neighbour and high-end retailer Kailis Australian Pearls.

“That all helps to tie into our local brand offering; we want our guests to have a unique Perth experience,” Mr McDonald said.

“Occupancy is still in the high 70s and 80s (per cent) in Perth this year; I think the challenge for some other hotels is that they’ve dropped their rates to try and drive more business.

“Bookings have been really encouraging and to me that lends itself to the intercontinental brand; we have 5,500 hotels and 100 million reward members who know what InterContinental stands for, we’re the largest and oldest luxury hotel brand in the world.”

One of the 240 guest rooms on offer. 

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