For transiting visitors, Aloft Perth over-delivers, but its eastern suburbs location won’t work for exploratory travellers, says Fleur Bainger.
There’s an armchair in the lobby nicknamed Kim Kardashian. Once sighted, no one needs to ask why.
It’s voluptuous in a cartoon-like, plus-size massage chair kind of way, with firm curves accentuated by stripy rouge upholstery. A calling card at Aloft Perth’s entry, it signals to guests this may be a 19-storey, 224-room hotel, but that doesn’t mean it’s typically mainstream.
Aloft is Marriott International’s youthful, misfit brand and this is its first Australian venture. The glassy skyscraper looms over the Great Eastern Highway, a six-lane arterial that could be invasive were it not for thick, soundproof windows.
There’s a lot Kimmie K would like here: the illuminated hoops hovering over the circular reception island like frisbees frozen in motion; the surprisingly spacious rooms, bucking the trend of matchboxes, and communal zones; the cannily mixed cocktails in the W XYZ bar.
There’s even a big-kid play area to keep Kanye occupied, kitted out with table tennis and foosball, and a huge flat screen TV. The free, no-password-required wi-fi would be handy for her Instagramming, with the keycard elevator access assuring security.
But would she opt to stay in suburban Rivervale? Not a chance. The Swan River may meander by but the locale has a light industrial vibe punctuated by 1980s high-rise apartments.
I like the digs. Wall windows flood my 33-square-metre room with light and grant views of planes landing and the waterway curling. After dark, a 55-inch television entertains and my bed, while dressed with stock-standard linen, is firm and comfy.
Yet I’d only tip Aloft to visiting friends if they were catching an AFL match at nearby Perth Stadium (set to open in March 2018) or flying in late before taking off early (Perth’s airport terminals lie 10 kilometres away).
The city may only be a 12-minute drive from here, but if they were in Perth to witness its dazzling beaches, eat out at its hottest new venues and bar hop while breathing in its revitalised inner core, I’d say stay in the thick of it – the room rates are comparable.
If it meets your needs, Aloft’s a fantastic choice, but its better located, boutique-style competition might just win out until the neighbourhood catches up with its cool.
Details: Aloft, Perth
Aloft, 27 Rowe Avenue, Rivervale, WA
Verdict: A big new hotel with modern, youthful flourishes and a good in-house restaurant. Surrounded by little you’d want to walk to, it fits snugly into the transiting, overnight-stay category.
We rated: The spacious room and huge, glazed windows granting 180-degree elevated views across aspects of Perth, plus the bubbly service.
We’d change: What the near-airport location offers to short-stay travellers will not serve pedestrian-oriented visitors wanting the city on their doorstep.
Notes: We opted for a ‘breezy’ room with river views and scored a $209 winter special, which included a cocktail at the bar, buffet breakfast and a leisurely 12 noon check-out.