Pan Pacific Perth – Setting the pace.
Less than six years since it opened, Pan Pacific Perth is setting a hot pace in the city's highly competitive five-star hotel market with a new arrival experience and a sleek refurbished lobby – plus a new executive chef who's determined to take the property's restaurants to a new level.
John Newton reports.
The multi award-winning 486-room hotel, which took over from Sheraton in late 2010, is located just a short walk to the Swan River and the city's CBD – ideal for business and leisure travellers alike.
It claims its new arrivals experience is like no other, with guests being greeted on arrival by a 'Pacific Ambassador', who's on hand to help with their smooth arrival and departure. This includes helping with bags, assisting with check-in or directing guests as they arrive.
A Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts initiative, the ambassadors are an extension of the concierge team that can offer advice on the Perth hotel's facilities and local attractions - or simply point out where to get the best coffee in the city.
According to Craig Bond, area general manager, Oceania, at Pan Pacific Hotels Group, the newly created role of Pacific Ambassador emphasises the importance of creating a welcoming connection to guests from the moment they arrive at the hotel.
“Whether you are travelling for business or leisure, a warm welcome sets the tone for your stay and a friendly goodbye will leave a lasting impression and entice you back,” he said.
The hotel's personal connection is continued through to the check-in process, with the introduction of check-in pods that allow front desk staff to be more interactive and have improved communication with guests. This allows for a more efficient check-in and out during peak times. Additionally, the concierge pod is now more centrally located and easily accessible for guests – adding to the ease and convenience of the arrival and departure experience by providing unobstructed views of reception and the concierge desk immediately upon entry.
The new-look lobby – designed by the same award-winning company that was responsible for the multi-million dollar Premier Rooms and Suites upgrade unveiled last year – brings together the sophistication of contemporary Asia and the Pacific region with the rugged textures and vastness of the West Australian landscape - creating a distinct sense of place. More than 120 rooms and eight suites were completely re-modelled.
Additional enhancements to the lobby include a new business centre, fully equipped with the latest computers, printing facilities conference table for business meeting and lounges for informal coffee meetings. The hotel says it understands the importance of staying connected while travelling – and guests can now enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the lobby.
Pan Pacific Perth's 2474 square metres of conference facilities offers what the hotel claims is the most comprehensive meetings and events space in the city's CBD.
Located on level 5, 'Meetings on Five' has seven executive boardrooms and state-of-the-art audio visual facilities and accommodates 8-36 people for boardroom meetings – or 40-100 theatre-style.
For larger events, organisers can choose between the 600 square-metre Golden Ballroom, or the pillar-less Grand River Ballroom, which can cater for up to 700 people theatre-style – and has sweeping views over the Swan River.
Business and leisure guests alike have complimentary access to the 24-hour Fitness Centre with its dedicated steam room, and also an outdoor swimming pool.
Meanwhile, new executive chef, Paul Gaspa, has set his sights on raising the bar at the hotel's all-day restaurant – Montereys – which offers a seasonal buffet, specialising in Australian seafood and local produce, or a la carte options. And Gaspa is also responsible for the 120-seat Origins Restaurant which, for now, is used for weddings and events - as well as a sumptuous high tea on weekends, together with the hotel's 24-hour in-room dining, Club Lounge and its banqueting facilities.
Gaspa, who has had 15 years’ experience in some of the top hotel kitchens in Australia and overseas, including a stint at the luxurious Burj Al Arab property in Dubai, where he met his Japanese wife who was working there as a pastry chef.
Gaspa's first impression of Pan Pacific Perth's kitchen was that it was lacking in spirit and needed a “new spark”. He plans to streamline menus and gain the respect of the hotel's other chefs and kitchen staff by being hands-on. “A lot of chefs spend more time in the office and not enough in the kitchen. I'll always be there to lend a hand with the cooking,” he added.