Design Hotels | Vol. 008 / by MBBD

Case Studies


Alex Hotel
Perth, WA

Located just a short walk from central Perth, Northbridge is a vibrant, buzzing neighbourhood brimming with cafés, restaurants, bars, shops, nightlife, and festivals.  It is the city’s cultural and design centre, boasting the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art as well as a number of smaller galleries and artist studios.  So it is unsurprising that this mecca for local creatives is now home to the city’s latest and most stylish design hotel, The Alex.

At The Alex, every aspect of the traditional hotel experience has been re-imagined to offer guests a more personal, relaxing, and enjoyable stay.  This is first demonstrated at the reception desk.  The arrangement is egalitarian whereby staff and guests occupy the same side of the desk.  This informality at check-in is a fitting introduction to The Alex’s guiding mission of creating a home away from home with shared facilities and communal living space. 


Rather than following the traditional mould of locating communal spaces on the ground floor adjacent reception, The Alex has moved them upstairs as extensions of the guest rooms.  The largest of these communal living areas is located on the first floor mezzanine.  This multifunctional space hosts the locally sourced continental breakfast, a comfy lounge room filled with an assortment of books and magazines, as well as seating arrangements catering for productive work and informal meetings.


The mezzanine is also home to the Honour Bar, one of The Alex’s boldest departures from the traditional hotel offering.  As the name suggests the bar is unstaffed, with guests trusted to record what they have taken.  The bar is stocked with a selection of local craft beer, wine, and spirits, which can be taken and enjoyed in any of the communal spaces, none better being the roof top terrace that boasts spectacular views of the bustling neighbourhood and city skyline beyond. 

The hotel interiors are eclectic, colourful, warm, and comforting.  In keeping this the overarching concept of the ‘Hotel as Home’ the furnishings have a sense of intimacy, connectedness and domesticity. 

The hotel’s restaurant, Shadow Wine Bar, is a dramatically lit industrial-chic dining room inspired by the long-gone but fondly remembered European restaurants of Northbridge.

Following the contemporary trend in hotel food and beverage offerings, the restaurant shows no obvious signs of a relationship with the adjacent hotel, that is, if you aren’t staying upstairs and privy to the secret entrance from the lobby or the ability to order dishes direct to your room.  The restaurant is the is the brain child of a number of the heavyweights behind Perth’s Little Creatures – who incidentally also own the hotel – so the food and beverage offerings are first class, attracting eager crowds on any given night. 

With so much on offer you could be forgiven for spending your time at the hotel holed up in a comfy corner with a glass of pinot and a good read.  When you are ready to get out and go exploring the hotel has you covered.  Parked right outside reception are a selection of complimentary bicycles to help guests get around town in style.  With a lock, helmet and map included all that’s left for guests to decide is their destination.

Alex Hotel, Perth
Alex Hotel, Perth