August 17 2011
When you’ve just flown across the world to land in what seems suspiciously like an end-of-the-world city, Perth (albeit nurturing a population of 1.5m), it’s a relief to enter a comfort zone with panache. I find that as the years roll by, jet lag increasingly takes its toll, and my suffering is ten times worse when I find myself in a hermetically sealed, air-conditioned hotel.
So when I checked in at the Richardson and was spirited to an upper floor, I was more than delighted to amble across a spacious room, swing back the curtains and find a large balcony – in fact you could almost call it a terrace. It was oriented south-west, looking across the rooftops of the CBD (Central Business District), so that in the distance I could see Kings Park, Perth’s pride and joy. Not only was this Australia’s first public park (and, yes, without an apostrophe), but it is also substantially larger than New York’s Central Park. The next day I walked there, between the manicured lawns, the scarlet bottlebrush, the feathery casuarinas and the wild bushland, and was inebriated by the aroma of the lemon-scented gums.
But back on my balcony on day one, it was late afternoon and the light was fading. An hour or so ahead lay a gourmet dinner at the hotel’s glam Opus restaurant (first picture), but now, with the heat diminishing and my energy flagging, all I wanted was a cool drink on my balcony. So, raiding the fridge, I grabbed a Cape Mentelle sauvignon blanc semillon (from Margaret River, just down the coast) and headed outside to inhale the air of Western Australia. And with glass in hand, I was soon saluting the descent of the fiery sun behind the gum trees of Kings Park, jet lag forgotten.
Around £620 for two staying in an executive room with two degustation menus, including wines, at Opus restaurant.