fluffy towes

Carmen Jenner is a travel, food, and lifestyle writer, wanna-be photographer and the founder of Fluffy Towel. She specialises in travel memoirs, destination pieces, hotel reviews, guidebook contributor, travel advice, restaurant reviews, family travel, and copywriting.


where in the
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Perth, Australia

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Win a night at an ibis hotel near you

filed08 Aug 2014 from

You can now experience how great it is to stay at an ibis hotel and explore the city! ibis hotels Australia is giving away one night’s accommodation at an ibis hotel in/nearest to your home city in Australia. Head to the ibis Facebook page here and tell us in 25 words or less, what is the best activity to do near the Ibis hotel in/nearest to your home city. Comment on the status of this blog post and the best entry will win. Entries close 21st August 2014. Conditions apply.


***Congratulations Petria Ladgrove you’re the winner! Petria’s winning recommendations were to do the following in Adelaide:

Central markets for cheese,

then a river cruise please,

A shopping mall run,

then the zoo’s a whole lot of fun!


hotel exteriorAfter staying at ibis Hotels all over the world, I’ve noticed a common theme: they’re inexpensive, efficient and well-located. The ibis in Perth’s West End on Murray Street certainly is no exception and has the added bonus of offering its guests a high quota of sunshine; ensuring it’s a pleasure to be within easy walking distance to the all the action. When planning for a city stay the fancy extras often come at an inflated price but that’s not to say the ibis scrimps. Each of the 192 guest rooms are tastefully furnished and feature the “Sweet Bed by ibis” range with honeycombe mattresses, cocooning linens and fluffy pillows. The best night’s sleep I’ve had in ages and without even leaving the bed I can watch a pay-movie, surf the web, order room service or even an in-room massage. The rooms also have an electronic key system, voicemail and message alerts, a safety deposit box, an iron and ironing board, good quality bathroom products, a hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities and the bar fridge was stocked with two complimentary bottles of water. You’d be amazed how many high-end hotels don’t get these things right and it’s the small touches that sets the ibis apart.


Sweet Beds, indeed

The reception is manned around the clock, a comforting notion after hitting the town, and there’s an ATM conveniently located in the lobby, a valet service and parking around the corner which costs $20 per night; if you’ve ever paid for parking in the city you’ll appreciate the value of this.


Rubix Bar

Catering to a mixed clientele, guests of the ibis Perth range between FIFO (fly-in fly-out) workers, families, tourists and business travellers. The web corner and self-serve business centre in the lobby was always busy and there are meeting facilities also available. The breakfast buffet offers all the usual tasty morsels, including an espresso machine; a necessity to any caffeine addict’s morning. The restaurant has special offers throughout the year like two courses for $30 but given the most expensive item on the menu is a 350gm scotch fillet for $32 the Murray St Grill offers excellent value for money. To the beats of acoustic music Thursday and Sunday nights and DJ mixes on Friday and Saturday nights next door, the Rubix Bar has a different line-up each week and is the only bar of its kind within the ibis chain in Australia. With a snack and a bevvy by your side, it’s the perfect spot to ponder on your awaiting urban adventures. Perth is neatly laid out in a grid system and in the lobby you can pick up a copy of a map with CAT (Central Area Transit) routes, although most places can be reached on foot. For high street fashion head to the Murray Street and Hay Street malls, and while on Hay Street take a detour down the charming London Court. Built in 1937 during the gold boom in the tudor-style, the open-topped arcade with a miniature clock enacting a knight and dragon battle to the tune of Big Ben, runs all the way to St George’s Terrace and nowadays houses jewellery, souvenir, beauty and fashion shops.

his majesty's

His Majesty’s is Australia’s only running Edwardian theatre

Cultural events run year round (see Perth City) and the Perth Winter Arts Season 2014 runs until the end of August (see some of my reviews on the blog). Events are held at nearby venues like His Majesty’s Theatre on Hay St, and the Perth Cultural Centre (across the railway line on William Street in Northbridge) housing the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA) and the Art Gallery of Western Australia. Join an Urban Art Walk with Form Gallery across the road from the ibis which takes you through the city and Northbridge.

See if you find Bob Dylan?

Don’t miss Richard Avedon’s exhibition at the Art Gallery of Western Australia

There’s a hive of construction happening along the railway line as the Perth City Link Project, which is the sinking of the railway line, will reconnect the city centre with Northbridge for the first in time over 100 years. Northbridge is home to Perth’s Chinatown and while the dragon arches are on Roe Street, this is only the beginning as William Street and many of the streets running adjacent are lined with shops, galleries and Asian cuisine, including the newly opened Darlings Super Club on Lake Street serving dumplings and sake until 3.00am. Also on Lake Street is the just opened Northbridge Brewing Co offering all day grazing to accompany the boutique beer menu. La Cholita dishes out some of the best Mexican cuisine in town washed down with an extensive tequila menu. On Newcastle Street The Old Crow serves soul food, including incredible blackened brussel sprouts; if only mum had cooked them this way.

dim sum street

Yum cha anyone?

The Laneway's more-ish Earl Grey Mandarin sour topped with mandarin foam

The Laneway’s Earl Grey Mandarin Sour

Heading back to the CBD, fine diners shouldn’t miss Brookfield Place on St George’s Terrace teeming with bars and restaurants, including one of Perth’s sleekiest The Print Hall for obscene degustations and a wine book spanning over 146 pages which thankfully comes with a sommelier. One block away from the ibis and down an innocuous laneway off Murray Street, try the Laneway Lounge for its tapas menu designed by celebrity chef Danny Russo, soul music, vintage chic interior designed by co-owner Shuen Kuan and renowned for its innovative drinks list created by cocktail consultant Grant Collins. Down another laneway off Hay Street The Stables Bar was once a landmark residence and stables of prominent businessman Jonathon Butterworth in 1894 and now it offers all day nibbles and more substantial dinner offerings, like the 3kg braised lamb shoulder on the bone (presumably to be shared), and fun cocktails like Captain America (Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Orgeat, Lime Juice and grated nutmeg) and an extensive wine list which includes many local favourites. Swan down the swanky King Street, known for its exclusive designer shops and whiskey bar Varnish on King which serves a seasonal menu; the twice cooked short ribs with treacle will line your ribs with sweet memories of Perth. still dreaming   Prices: Pay $109 and stay Friday, Saturday or Sunday night and receive 2 tickets to the Richard Avedon exhibition, breakfast for two and 2.00pm late checkout. Conditions apply. Also enjoy the “Paint it Red” campaign where guests will receive a voucher for 15% of their accommodation bill to be used for beverages at the hotel bar/or restaurant for rooms booked by 30 September. Prices start from $107 per night and conditions apply. I was a guest of the Ibis Perth Hotel, 334 Murray St, Perth, +61 9322 2844, www.accorhotels.com Socialise: Use #ibislocalfun to join in the ibis fun Australia wide Awards: ibis Perth was awarded the AHA (Australian Hotel Association) Hospitality sponsored award for “Best Mid Range Accommodation” at the 2014 AHA WA Accommodation Industry Awards held on 12th August. Well deserved too!

Heading to Brisbane? Check out my review of the ibis Brisbane on Turbot St

Perth Winter Arts Season 2014

filed06 Jun 2014 from

The Perth Winter Arts Season is upon us again. Where has half the year gone already? As the town settles into winter and the locals’ endless complaints of the crisp mornings are usually accompanied by powder blue skies which hardly threaten to interrupt our endless pursuit of warmth, there is a bit of light on the cultural horizon.

Perth Winter Arts Season

The Black Swan Theatre Company’s production of Dust runs 29 June – 13 July

This June I don’t know whether to laugh, …

A Saucy Little Secret

filed14 Aug 2013 from

Saucy Little Secret

Its 1920. The mood is as slinky as a satin gown and the air reeks of scandal.

Undressing Ellington’s audience with her eyes, Ma Rainey (billed as The Mother of the Blues and played by Di Shaw, co-founder of the Deck Chair Theatre) makes a bee-line for the damsels before her. No-one in a skirt is safe and there’s no question her tastes favour the fairer sex, as do the rest of the characters from A Saucy Little Secret.

While …

Perth International Burlesque Festival 2013

filed12 Jul 2013 from

Jacqueline Furey opens the show in a blaze of waist length strawberry locks and ends with little more than red feather fans

Jacqueline Furey opens the show in a blaze of waist length strawberry locks and ends with little more than red feather fans

I was lucky enough to be invited by Show Me Perth to the opening party of the Perth International Burlesque Festival 2013 and here’s what I had to say about it:

The crowd ducks as blonde bombshell Banbury Cross sprays her adoring fans with champagne. Holding the bottle above her, she drizzles the remaining nectar over her body …

Womanly wiles heat up Perth’s winter nights

filed23 May 2013 from

Saucy Little Secret

Lashes will be in a flutter at the Perth International Burlesque Festival as tassels tease and waists are so tightly cinched that breasts have no choice but to heave. Just as those dangerous curves are barely restrained, audiences will also be bursting with glee at The Spiral with Judith Lucy and her comrade Denise Scott.

Those juices will continue to flow with the 16th Spanish Film Festival with the ultimate femme fatale Catherine Deneuve in Tristina. Or indulge …