The Royal Hotel
The Royal Hotel was built during the gold rush in 1882, providing accomodation for early rail travellers. Its grand Victorian-style architecture mirrored the prosperity the state was enjoying at the time. Sadly, the building slipped into obscurity with everyone from hairdressers to backpackers taking residency in the space. After purchasing the site in mid-2018, new owner John Parker fastidiously set about restoring the hotel to its former glory. Thirteen million dollars later, the Royal Hotel feels new again.
Between its two storeys, the hotel can accommodate 725, with the impressive first-floor balcony able to hold 200 guests. Parker and co have sweated plenty of the details. Leadlight windows throughout the space have been meticulously restored, as have original features, including wooden doorways, the balustrade on the grand staircase and timber floorboards. The solid-oak bars are as impressive as the drinks being served across them (plenty of small-scale WA beers and wines, predominantly). Louvred glass and framed archival photos of the hotel adorn the ground-floor saloon.
Among the things guests might discover: an intimate private dining room and bar upstairs, a trilliards table (a mash-up of billiards and noughts-and-crosses), and – perhaps most surprisingly – a soon-to-open karaoke room.
Chef Chase Weber’s menu is all about modernised pub classics: think roasted cornbread with maple buttercream; panko-crusted yellowtail whiting; Japanese-style fried chicken; and elevated sandwiches. Food is available throughout the venue, although Weber and sous chef Shane Middleto. (formerly of Santini) are preparing to open the hotel’s dedicated restaurant in January.