Mantra on Murray, Perth, Australia

I was back in Perth for the week and after my last stay at the lack lustre Duxton and previously the site of the world’s most expensive beer, the Sheraton Four Points, I decided to give another hotel on our Perth list a try. Of this year’s shortened list I chose the Mantra on Murray.

First impressions – the location is decent with many bars and restaurants close by and a 15 minutes walk to the office, but the impressions of the hotel itself once you get inside were not stellar.  It was very easy to tell this wasn’t a classy hotel. The reception desk office area oddly had two rather larger industrial air conditioners jury rigged in the middle office area – looked very dodgy. In hindsight I know why there were there. More on that later!

Checkin was efficient and I was on my way to my room in less that 5 minutes.

Up in the lift to the 4th floor and the lift doors open to heat that would not have been out of place in a blast furnace. It was uncomfortably hot and no wonder they resorted to the portable air conditioners in the reception area.

Initial impressions of the room were that it was ok. On the largish side with  two seater couch & coffee table, desk, double bed and a small galley kitchen.

Two downsides that quickly became apparent

  1. the room just wasn’t clean enough
    • The bed side table wasn’t cleaned and had rings from whatever was placed there from the previous occupant
    • Massive smudge, that looked like a handprint, on the window
    • Carpet needed a much better vacuum
    • The previous occupant’s hair was still on the tiles in the shower YUCK!!!!
  2. the air conditioning unit (one of those reverse cycle contraptions) that was mounted under the window was the most complicated thing I’ve ever tried to set. In the end pretty much all I could do was set it to be always on at the lowest temperature. But that said it had a mind of it’s own and started to turn on and off randomly later on in my stay.

The bed was ok but the pillows were cheap and nasty and I needed to use 3 to get any support. My sleep was ok but fitful throughout the week.

On the plus side the shower, despite being an in the bath type and the extra human hairs :), had excellent water pressure and temperature. Made it very easy to wake up in the shower.

Checkout efficiency was similar to the checkin and was completed in 5 minutes and I was on my way to the airport without a hassle. Notably the hotel staff didn’t ask if I enjoyed my stay – maybe they get too many negative comments.

All in all, the Mantra on Murray would be a decent 2.5 or 3 star hotel… but I’ve already booked the Four Points for my next trip 🙂

Duxton, Perth, Australia

I’d stayed at the Duxton once before, probably about 5 years or so ago. After that stay I vowed never to stay there again as I did not leave with a good impression of the place. It was dated and dirty.

Fast forward 5 years and after a couple of colleagues said that place had been done up I thought I’d give it another try.

You can’t fault the location, next to the Concert Hall on St Georges Terrace near where it becomes Adelaide Terrace. Its a very nice setting.

The hotel had definitely been done up a little since I was there last time, but the way to tell the age, and the quality of the refurbishment, of a hotel is to look at the bathroom. You can’t put lipstick on a pig and be happy with the result, nor can you do up a hotel room without a major renovation (think pull it out and rebuild) of the bathroom. Unfortunately, that’s what they’ve done at the Duxton as the bathroom was there in its dated glory. Old taps, old shower and shower curtain and dated vanity. Very disappointing.

I was only in Perth for 26 hours so I didn’t have a chance to use any of the facilities of the hotel and I don’t think I will on my next trip either as I’ll be staying somewhere else. The Sheraton Four Points, even with the extortionary beer prices, is still probably a better appointed hotel in the rooms.

World’s most expensive beer – a new candidate

I’d previously thought that I’d found the world’s most expensive local beer in Singapore but my recent visit to Perth had me dumbstruck!

I was staying at the Four Points by Sheraton and decided to have a beer in the hotel bar on the Wednesday evening. Now this hotel is by no means 5 star but its comfortable and this is Perth!

So, down I trundle to the bar for a pint of local Pale Ale… and when I heard the price I thought I’d misheard and had to ask again… but no, I’d heard right the first time, $18, yes, that’s a one and an eight together. EIGHTEEN, $2 less than $20 for one pint of beer!

Now I know that all hotels put a humungous markup on everything they sell, but this would have been an $8 pint anywhere else in Australia and I can’t work out how they could justify an extra $10 on top.

Only saving grace is that they do specials on some nights like a pint of beer and a pie for $12, and Starwood Preferred Guests get a half price drink but that’s not enough to justify the price gouging if you don’t get those specials.

This is one of the reasons I’ll be looking to stay in another hotel next time.

Four Points by Sheraton, Perth, Australia

It’d been 6 months since I was in Perth and decided to try a new hotel that was close to the office.

Some of my colleagues had stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton in Perth before and had spoken highly of it, and I’d also stayed at the Sydney Four Points, so I was looking forward to a couple of mights in a decent hotel.

The Four Points is on Wellington Street opposite Perth Arena.

First thing you recognise after you get to your room is that this is a old hotel that’s been done up. Don’t get me wrong the rooms were quite well appointed, nice TV and good bathroom area, but sometimes odd. For example, the shower was HUGE, but the toilet area felt cramped.

A couple of things that annoyed me were

  • The hotel compendium said that we had both wired and wireless internet access. I normally take an Apple Airport Express with me. I plug that into the ethernet cable and then have a local wifi access port for my laptops, tablets and phones… but do you think I could find this illusive ether cable? Nope, had to resort to using the hotel wifi.
  • Which brings me to my second point. The hotel wifi was very erratic. They were running 2 slightly different SSIDs and each of them would fade in and out every so often. On more that one occasion when my internet stalled I had to manually switch over to the other SSID to get internet access back up and running.
  • On check-in I was asked whether I wanted a copy of the Western Australian newspaper each morning to which I said yes, but I never saw my newspaper.
  • Lastly, the mini bar fridge was completely empty. Not even water or those mini long life milks. Luckily I knew there was a convenience store just down the road so I could get provisions.

But credit where credit is due, the front desk staff were very good (apart from no newspaper!) and they’re doing bits of the hotel up. One of the lifts had been refurbed and was very modern, one was being serviced and was out of action, while the third lift was still in all its original 1980s wooden panelled glory.

Check in and check out were efficient and there was no credit card surcharge when I settled up using my AMEX.

All that said, I will probably try another hotel next time.

Ibis, Perth, Australia

Anyone else find it incredibly hard to get a hotel in Perth even if you try to book 2 or 3 weeks in advance?

Being a Gold member of Accor’s Le Club I’ve been trying to stay at their stable of hotels of late so I can collect more points.

In Perth we’re able to stay at the Ibis hotel on Murray St.

Murray Street is a mix of cafes, bars and nightclubs. It can get a bit hairy at night (I saw drugs openly being dealt across the road from one of the nightclubs one evening) but is fine and well frequented during the day.

The hotel is reasonable despite is low cost character. No room service or laundry (though you can DIY).

Rooms are clean but cramped and some of the services seem to have been put in the most random of places in the room. For example, in the room I stayed in last time the cable for the internet connection had to me stretched all the way across the room from between the beds to the desk! Why not simply put the internet connection in each room at the desk?

One thing I did notice is that the beds are extremely comfortable. I guess when you can charge upwards of $250++ for a basic room then the least you can do for your lodgers is make sure that the beds are new and comfortable.

The breakfast buffet is reasonable for its cost and has a good basic selection of hot and cold options and a magnificant coffee machine!

The attached bar, Rubix, is probably more expensive for a beer and food than surrounding bars, but you can pop the bill on your room tab so its convenient.

All round its a reasonable hotel for what it costs and I’ve been able to get a room most times that I’ve tried.

Its a quick walk from the hotel to most places in the Perth CBD and the staff are quite good.