Patrick McKendry stays at the Crown Towers in Perth.
My driver from Perth Luxury Tours picked me up from the airport after a seven-and-a-half-hour flight from Auckland and, on hearing I am a New Zealander, set about telling me that he had had Australia cricketer Mitchell Johnson in his nicely appointed Mercedes recently and that Johnson was "filthy" about what had happened to the Black Caps at the recent World Cup (a tie with England in the final decided the home side's way via fine print). I immediately felt in my happy place, still-fresh World Cup sorrow notwithstanding. Just a 20-minute drive from the airport.
Check-in experience : Impressive — the lobby is a grand space, with an enormously high ceiling and the service was prompt and welcoming, as you would expect from a luxury hotel. The receptionist apologised that my room on the 12th floor wasn't quite ready (it was about 3.30pm), but that a similar room with the same outlook was available on the seventh floor. I gladly accepted. I received assistance with my luggage and the nice lady helped explain some of the technology in my room.
Room : Wow. The room — a premier king — was very big, with armchair, couch, writing desk, and a large bed at the end of which was an enormous window framing a beautiful view of downtown Perth, with the Swan River in the foreground. The lights, blinds and curtains were all controlled by the touch of a tablet sitting in a docking station by the bed (hence assistance). There was a large wardrobe, an area for mixing drinks, and an enormous bathroom.
Price : About $430 a night.
What's so good about this place? It's located within walking distance of Optus Stadium, Perth's shiny new sporting complex which the whole city is understandably proud of.
Manchester United recently played Leeds there (Man United stayed at the Crown) and, of course, the All Blacks were soundly beaten there by the Wallabies in the Bledisloe Cup. It's pretty tough to beat the view but the luxurious surroundings include proximity to in-house casino and quality in-house restaurants (Silks, Nobu, Bistro Guillaume and Rockpool) and swimming pools.
And the bad? It's across the river from downtown Perth, which may put some off. But it's only a 45-minute walk to the city along river paths and across a bridge or a relatively quick and cheap 10-minute taxi or Uber ride.
Toiletries : Extensive, and including a razor and shaving cream — helpful as it turned out because my own razor was blunter than Australia's attack at Eden Park in the return Bledisloe — spare toothbrush and toothpaste and other usual bits and pieces.
Food and drink : I had access to the Crystal Club on the 15th floor. You can get entry for a $110pp per night. It's a private lounge that includes business facilities and an open terrace that maximises that incredible view. During my stay I mostly had breakfast here, plus afternoon tea and coffee. It is a large and quiet place — perfect for working, reflection or resting. One afternoon I had a beer in the large bar next the lobby before I went out for dinner in the city. The bar has relatively private seating areas — perfect for a quiet drink. As mentioned, the dining options are extensive and high-end.
Breakfast : One morning I was invited for breakfast at the Epicurean restaurant; a buffet that had every conceivable international breakfast option you could think of, including curries, pizza and chocolate fountains. I helped myself to a modest offering and avoided the fountains but it was all quite a sight.
The bed: Very large and comfortable, with lights and curtain controls at your fingertips.
A room with a view? Oh yes — the changing light across the skyscrapers and river meant it was always interesting.
Bathroom : Very large — with double handbasins, a large bath, separate enclosed shower, and separate enclosed toilet. There was also a large television on the wall at the foot of the bath.
Free Wi-Fi? Yes, included, as it should be these days.
Noise : Very little.
Room service : I ate elsewhere so it wasn't required but the turning down of the bed and addition of two chocolates on the pillow every night was a nice and welcome touch. Free bottled water is also provided daily.
Value for money : It's clearly not cheap and I was fortunate to be hosted but if you want top-end luxury in Western Australia with easy access to downtown Perth and the domestic and international airports, this may be the place for you.
Exercise facilities : Excellent. The gym is very large and on the three or four days I frequented it there were only one or two other people using it. It has all the usual weight machines, free weights and cardio stuff. A plus as far as the cardio machines go are the interactive stationary cycles — you can follow a programme that pits your progress against other, computer-generated, cyclists. It's very cool if you want push yourself.
Contact : crownhotels.com.au/crown-towers-perth/en
Perfect for : Business travellers, conference-goers, high-rollers, families who may want to treat themselves, sports fans.
The bottom line : An amazing hotel experience.