On that longed-for day when I unexpectedly inherit a lavish tropical retreat from a long-forgotten relative, my first command to my assembled army of servants will be to ensure that my swimming pool is always be heated to 30 degrees.
This, I have discovered, is the perfect water temperature for days when the mercury soars towards the 40 degree mark: cool enough to refresh you, but warm enough not to send shivers through your body when plunge in.
This piece of important information I learn at Crown Towers Perth, where they have nailed exactly the right water temperature for their expansive lagoon-style pool.
That is not the only thing they have nailed at Perth’s newest luxury hotel, as I discover during my stay just prior to the official opening.Crown Towers Perth needs to get it right.
The latest addition to Crown’s Perth complex, which already includes the Crown Metropol and Crown Promenade hotels, took two years to build, at a cost of $650 million. “It’s the most expensive hotel ever constructed in Australia,” executive general manager Andrew Cairns tells me.
The 500 room hotel is designed to attract a high-spending clientele, and to offer a level of luxury that outdoes the complex’s existing five-star hotel, Crown Metropol.
Its intentions are clear from the moment you step into the lobby, which rejoices in seven metre high ceilings and an elongated reception desk which unfurls in front of a wall-mounted sculpture by West Australian artist Ian Dowling consisting of 6000 separate ceramic pieces.
The scale may be dramatic, but there’s remarkably little in the way of bling.
Compared with Crown Metropol’s slightly flashy, Versace-style glamour, Crown Towers aligns more with Bottega Veneta’s discreet, handcrafted elegance.
The travertine stone and marble, neutral tones and textured textiles throw into relief the many design details courtesy of an all-star design team including Bates Smart, Michael Fiebrich and Blainey North.
Some of these are subtle, such as the unusual “woven” lobby ceilings. Others are more eye-catching, such as the spectacular chandeliers made with ball chains that shimmer like glittering beads.
The ceiling had to be specially reinforced to support these pieces, designed by Adam Hoets and Bates Smart architects, made with 20,000 metres of ball chain and weighing three tons.
The chandeliers are not the only feature to attract my attention. While virtually every fitting and piece of furniture in the hotel has been custom designed, it’s the lighting that intrigues me most: the black sculptural forms floating high above the lift lobby, the tiered orbital lights lining the corridors, the hand-blown glass pendants hovering beside the bed.
The rooms themselves, boasting panoramic views of the Perth skyline, are generously sized. The Premier King Room covers 49 square metres; my Executive Club Suite is an impressive 82 square metres.
It has separate living and sleeping areas and comes with access to the Crystal Club level, an elegant retreat where breakfast and pre-dinner drinks are served.
This sort of luxury does not come cheap. Rates start at $1,600 for a premier king room and spiral up to $2,337 for the suites (although the hotel’s opening specials offer some real bargains – see Trip Notes).
At these rates, you expect every aspect of the experience to be flawless. Remarkably, Crown Towers delivers.
From the lush bathrobes – made with a microfibre lining that sends the indulgence factor sky-high – to the top-notch service, it is hard to find anything to fault.
One thing worth noting is that the Crown complex is located 15 minutes drive away from the city centre. However, there are plenty of on-site entertainment options.
Crown Towers’ multi-tiered swimming pool is designed for lounging, and staff are always on hand to top up your iced water, which is flavoured with strawberry and mint one day, orange and lemon the next.
Equally tempting is the sprawling 1300 square metre spa, with no fewer than 13 treatment rooms.
During my stay, the finishing touches are still being put on the hammam-style steam room, but the excellent hot stone massage gets two thumbs up, as do the oversized massage beds, each one a generous 92cm wide.
The hotel’s signature restaurant also still under construction – even the identity of the chef remains under wraps at time of print – but there are plenty of dining options to choose from, including the poolside Enclave (try the bento boxes or the quinoa salad) and Epicurean, with an utterly dazzling array of desserts.
Other restaurants within the Crown complex include Nobu, Bistro Guillaume and Rockpool Bar & Grill.
One area that is fully functioning is the ground floor bar, The Waiting Room.
While the airy “front room” is an inviting daytime space, its armchairs featuring playful camel and bird prints, the bar area offers a moody night-time space, complete with sumptuous blue velvet sofas.
There are some real delights in store for cocktail fans. If you lean towards light and fruity flavours, try the lychee martini pepped up with a dash of rosewater. Prefer something darker? The Tippling, made with cacao-infused Rittenhouse Rye, PX sherry, Averna amaro and verjuice, is a smoky, sexy drink.
What really knocks my socks off, however, is the ice cubes, which possess a clarity I’ve never seen before.
When I make enquiries, I’m told that the bar uses a filtering process to remove all the impurities from the water before freezing it.
I make a mental note. When I inherit that tropical retreat, we’re going to have to invest in one of these filtering machines.