Five-star Intercontinental Hotel in Perth’s CBD

Five-star Intercontinental Hotel in Perth’s CBD

After a $70 million refurbishment, the Intercontinental Hotel opened its doors on October 15. A major fit-out upgraded the hotel to five-star status, featuring exciting new eateries and bars.

The hotel, on the corner of Hay and King streets in the centre of Perth’s high-end premium brand shopping precinct, was formerly the Rydges Hotel until September 2015.

Aside from the boutique 48-room COMO The Treasury, the 240-room InterContinental is Perth’s first new five-star CBD hotel for decades. Featuring 16 hotel levels and a penthouse, its ground floor bars and restaurants will be open day and night, with a focus on WA produce.

More than 300 pieces of locally commissioned art and a careful selection of locally-sourced natural timbers and stone materials were incorporated into the design of the new hotel so that it would “speak of the beach, bush and minerals of WA”.

The Project Brief

Mario Sequeira, Director of Hospitality Total Services (HTS), hospitality management and design consultants, worked with Caterlink on this major refurbishment:

‘The building was originally built as offices; in the 1980s Rydges took over and converted it to a four-star hotel. It was taken over by UNIR Australia, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based UNIR Group, who announced in December 2014 it would redevelop Rydges Perth. A major overhaul of services would be required ̶ from plumbing to waste management to exhaust systems.’

Caterlink assisted HTS in providing extensive value management for the project as it was over the client’s budget. It took almost two years to get the costing and details right with the help of some key partners and a massive effort from the Caterlink and HTS teams.

Mario: ‘The lead architect met with stakeholders and briefed them on outcomes they wanted to achieve. The aim was to appeal not just to national and international guests staying at the hotel, but to local clientele. Restaurants and bars in hotels in Perth had been failing and the Intercontinental wanted to turn this trend around. HTS went away and designed for specific outlets, with design and intent to cater for a variety of clientele. Beyond kitchen and bar design, HTS also arranged the liquor licensing transfer and extended trading permits.’

The Fit-out Process

Built Construction did an excellent job in fitting out a production kitchen in the basement, two show kitchens, a wood fired grill, two bars and a coffee shop on the ground floor, bars and a kitchen on level one and the executive lounge on level 16.

Mario: ‘The centrepiece of the ground floor show kitchen is a large Mareno monoblock cooking bank from Italy and a custom 180-degree natural fuel firepit for cooking steaks behind a custom glass viewing screen. We carefully designed the commissary kitchen, which supplies food to satellite kitchens in the hotel, to be as efficient and economical as possible to keep production costs down.’

New Restaurants, Bars and Lounges

Ascua Spanish Grill seeks to replicate the South American backstreet feel. Aptly named after the Spanish word for ember, its menu is designed around the rustic wood-fired grill, paired with sommelier-selected wines and a salt menu to match the meat.

Heno & Rey Tapas Bar (translating to Hay & King) is a reinterpreted tapas bar, and the place to sample fresh locally-caught seafood from the raw bar, enjoy a plate of charcuterie or graze on more generous Spanish-inspired dishes accompanied with a glass or two of the finest West Australian wines.

Graffiti, a coffee window and gourmet-to-go foodie haven.

The Executive lounge on the 16th floor caters for corporate functions.

The Loft lobby bar where High Tea can be partaken, features a bespoke display unit designed to resemble a jewellery box.

Design Challenges

Mario: ‘The original building had been purposed as offices, so there were a number of design challenges. The basement was not very high: industrial standards need height to accommodate the ducting and sewerage lines required to pump waste water from the basement to the ground floor. Careful design made this possible. Ascua Spanish Grill’s live fuel (wood/charcoal) firepit needed specialised exhaust systems to incorporate fire suppression; fitting appropriate ducting sizes became extremely challenging.’

Special Equipment Installed

Installing Ascua Spanish Grill’s live fuel firepit was a difficult but rewarding challenge.

A number of custom fridge and commercial freezer units were installed, with most of them running on a glycol refrigeration system which is more energy efficient to run and maintain than typical refrigeration gas.

Heno & Rey Tapas Bar features a raw bar: a custom-built cold display station with taps and ice facilities built into the unit for slicing fish and shucking oysters.

Working with Caterlink

Mario: ‘With all the challenges we had onsite, Caterlink would call and say there was a problem but they would also offer solutions. Paul McClean, Caterlink’s project manager, would consider all the options and was very proactive in problem solving.’