Hotel Review: Tribe Perth reflects the modern traveller with smart, tech-savvy design

Described as an “edited hotel experience”, Tribe is an interesting entry into the ever-growing scene of boutique, pared accommodation which seems to view the traditional weight of hospitality as excessive and unnecessary. The curation for Australia’s newest hotel brand has tapped into various design influences to maintain a unique sense of style in a city that isn’t largely known for it’s risk-taking, compensating the lack of amenities with a “less is more” approach. It’s obviously been formulated after much research into the modern, younger traveller and what they value most.

Through that lens, Tribe is a success; a strong and beautifully crafted gift to West Perth that injects a smooth dose of character without overwhelming the area. This isn’t a hotel at all designed to overwhelm; to present a dizzying amount of options to keep you tied down. Rather, this is a hotel that encourages travellers to head on out into Perth’s underrated culture and come back knowing they have somewhere ultra-modern and comfortable to spend the night. It’s simple, without being overly stingy.

The ornate lobby is a world of inspiration. Image: Rhiannon Taylor

Melbourne-based Idle Architecture Studio was brought in to sculpt this impressive building, using prefabricated shipping container modules, and not at all hiding that fact; take the structure in as a whole and you can clearly see the design inspiration, a stacked effect that is unlike any other building in the city, largely defined by each room’s eye-catching wall-sized windows which are similar in style to Europe’s CitizenM Hotels.

Photo: Rhiannon Taylor

Award-winning interior designer Travis Walton and art director Marsha Golemac have then populated the inside of the hotel, their work most valuable with the spacious, segmented lobby and the ergonomically planned guest rooms – of which there are 126.

The lobby is busy but endearing, ornate with an obvious focus on facilitating the hotel’s social life. This is a property which doesn’t have a pool, spa or gym, but makes up for that by presenting a common space that guests will actually want to spend some time in. A big communal table is surrounded by sleek design furniture of varying shades, splashing an entire spectrum of colour all across the lobby to contrast with the relatively plain reception desk, strewn with in-touch tech like charging stations and guest iMacs. There’s even a small, narrow outdoor area for those who want to spend time working while bathed in Perth’s sunshine.

Photo: Rhiannon Taylor

The best part is a cafe, Tribe Foods, out the back which doesn’t feel like a tacked-on convenience store, rather falling in line with the hipster aesthetic, blending with the lobby and maintaining the modern look with a large marble island table, on which the breakfast spread is laid each morning (more on that later).

The use of Tom Dixon statement, spotlight-style lighting fixtures makes half of the lobby feel like you’ve stumbled across a small designers studio in Europe, but the worldliness is anchored by a nice collection of contemporary works from Australian artists. Daily newspapers are found shelved on one side of Tribe Food’s island table, leading up to a counter where trained barristers serve up coffee that’s actually good (it’s from locals Mano a Mano), alongside a good selections of local beers/wines and even some cocktails. The other side of the island is filled with well-lit displays of snacks and drinks, the latter of which is of particular interest with numerous healthy choices and organic brands.

An incredible and fresh breakfast spread. Photo: Rhiannon Taylor

Breakfast each day is a fantastic spread of freshly made sustainable and seasonal options served under the discerning eye of local chef Tobie Puttock (Fifteen Restaurant). Considerable effort has been put into this offering, a welcome move away from the typical buffet breakfast with fresh cheeses, charcuterie, chia puddings, artisan breads, freshly made fried eggs, and enormous croissants. Most importantly, it’s offered all-day, which is unusual for hotels of any range. At night, the cafe becomes a bar to further facilitate guests’ social life and also welcome some of the locals into the fold.

The guest rooms are compact but efficient. As mentioned above, they are ergonomically planned with integrated storage solutions and a smart aesthetic, relying heavily on the view. The large, floor-to-ceiling windows are most valuable whether you’re facing the nearby Kings Park or West Perth’s skyline, pulling in the surrounds and natural light. Unfortunately this means the heat as well, so guests may want to make use of the thick blackout blinds on hotter days.

The queen-sized beds are topped with silky premium linens and bespoke cotton throws, though Tribe’s signature mattress, while firm and supportive, isn’t quite as soft as it should be. The bed sits on a custom-designed base that is cleverly angled so guests can store their luggage underneath, a necessary function given the room’s size. A simple work desk and chair is tucked into a corner by the modest mini-bar, above which one will find complimentary Nespresso pods and T2 teas. Aside from that there is a surprising lack of detail in the room; an ornate mirror by the entrance and a golden statue of a hand by the bed is about as much as as one can expect, rather placing the focus on smart and simple as opposed to the flamboyant lobby.

A wall-fixed 40″ TV positioned directly opposite the bed features Foxtel and free movies, while to the bed’s left is the relatively spacious bathroom, preceded by an shockingly heavy glass door. Again, space has been used wisely, giving guests a large open rain shower, toilet and stylish basin with fantastic (and aromatic) Kevin Murphy products available.

Connectivity is no after-thought. Tech-savvy guests have been well-catered to throughout the hotel, and in the room they’ve got 2 USB and 2 standard sockets by the bed along with controls for all the room’s lighting including the neat reading lights, which are mini-versions of the statement spotlights found in the lobby.

Tribe could have easily trimmed too much off the traditional hotel experience, but smart curation has resulted in a very welcome entry into the Australian market. Not only is this the country’s first integrated modular designed hotel, but it’s a sharp reflection of the modern traveller’s sensibility. Claims of affordability may be betrayed by high average nightly prices but if you’ve got the dosh for a short-stay at Tribe then it’s a great alternative to the higher-end hotels which have been popping up over Perth as of late.

Average nightly rates at Tribe Perth start from $149 (inclusive of breakfast).

Tribe Perth

Address: 4 Walker Ave, West Perth WA 6005
Contact: +61 8 9267 4878

Feature image: Rhiannon Taylor.


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy Editor of the AU review and a freelance travel writer. You can reach him on Instagram by following @chrisdsingh.

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