Nestled between the big city lights of Perth and fashionable Subiaco, lies the Sage Hotel and adjoining Julio’s Italian Restaurant. This landmark building is a combination of contemporary design meets heritage charm – with a bit of whimsy in between for a quintessential Perth Staycation.
When the Sage Hotel opened in 2016 on the original site of the 1930’s Grafton Flats, for decades Julio’s Italian Restaurant had set the scene for many notorious meals and meetings. In fact, it wouldn’t be hard to picture Tony Soprano devouring a plate of spaghetti alongside former guests Gina Rinehart, Lady Gaga and Michael Bublĕ.
Built-in the Federation Queen Anne style in 1902, if only the walls at Julio’s could talk. It was once owned by the renowned clothier James Walsh, who was the founder of Walsh’s Menswear housed in the Walsh’s building, which still proudly stands on the corner of the Hay Street Mall and William Street. Although the menswear chain is long gone, Walsh’s sense of grandeur lives on through the restored balustrade, open fireplaces, timber flooring, stain-glass, sash windows and ornate balcony.
What I appreciate about the décor is the integration of modern touches with exposed brickwork, whitewashed walls and structural overhead beams seamlessly flowing into the modern lobby of the Sage Hotel. I loved the nostalgic photos of Fremantle and Perth by local photographer Claire Martin displayed throughout the hotel and restaurant too.
Featuring 101 standard, superior and deluxe guest rooms, the view from our room was an ever-changing vista over the city all the way to the Perth Hills. As the sun slowly sunk, blue sky gently morphed into gold and eventually into a twinkling skyline. A million-dollar view without the exorbitant price tag.
With rates starting at $149 you’d be hard pushed to find better value for money in Perth, especially with Your Stay, Your Way, where you choose a free add-on to customise your own package, including free parking, a bottle of wine and breakfast or a $20 donation to the Telethon Kids Institute. There are also discounted rates for longer stays perfect for business travellers. You can also rest assured of your safety with their Safe With Us hygiene and safety programme. Apart from the staggering view, my other favourite part of the room was the divine bed with a DreamWeave Sleep System mattress.
From here you have the city, Leederville, Subiaco and Northbridge almost on your doorstep and Kings Park is a short walk away. Not that you need to go any further than Julio’s for an outstanding meal. Rustic wooden tables softened with cloth napkins and flickering candlelight set the tone for romance – or a party judging by the long tables adorned with fresh-cut flowers.
Executive Chef Alan Johnson’s menu is traditionally Italian with a modern flair. The handmade veal Agnolotti was served al dente in a rich sauce of mushroom, ricotta and truffle butter with a crunch pine nuts and a touch of vinegar to cut through the cream. I only wished I had ordered bread to sop up all that sauciness.
The Costata rib eye was well seasoned and served on the bone with gremolata, rocket and rosemary potatoes – which may have taken a dip in my sauce. Many local and Italian favourites are featured on the wine menu including the 2018 Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2019 Ad Hoc Cruel Mistress Pinot Noir, which also complement the generous cheese platter.
Even if you’re not staying at the Sage Hotel, all are welcome at any time, including for breakfast where you can indulge in hearty favourites such as Baked Eggs Italian Style or House Made Granola infused with coconut, almonds, berries and yoghurt.
If you can’t tear yourself away from the view or that heavenly bed, you can be truly decadent and have food brought to you. Julio’s Venue Manager Nancy Priolo shares, “Guests can order fantastic meals off the in-room dining menu straight from the restaurant. The freshly made pizzas are always a hit with our in-house guests. So is the fantastic pasta and of course the desserts – everyone orders something from the dessert menu.”
We mightn’t be able to travel far for a while yet, but after a Staycation at the Sage Hotel and Julio’s you might fall in love with our city all over again. For more Western Australian travel tips please contact [email protected] for a copy of Australia’s Extra.Ordinary. West.