While visiting Perth, Australia I had a chance to stay at the Hougoumont Hotel in Fremantle just a short train ride from Perth. Named after the last ship to bring convicts to Australia, the Hougoumont is a combination of sea-worthy use of space and luxury. I feel safe in saying that the hotel offers far more than that original ship!
First, do not call it Fremantle. It’s Freo. Second, if you are just getting off of a long flight, check in quickly and hit the cappuccino strip or any number of local pubs and breweries – depending on what you need to accomplish that day. The hotel is just that, a hotel. But, they can hook you up with a local gym, a personal trainer, restaurants that will accept a hotel tab and even local bike rentals. If you need to leave town, the train station is a close walk.
The rooms in the hotel are small, but, if you’re like me, that’s a plus. I always feel silly when I travel and end up in a room with a living room and all kinds of space, when all I need or want to do is sleep and maybe send a few emails! If you’re a picky sleeper, you can request a hard or soft mattress when you make reservations. You can even get personalized pillows based on whether you are a back, side or stomach-sleeper. All the rooms have good wifi and flat-screen televisions. One minor downside is the bathroom doors don’t lock. They also don’t offer a ton of privacy. This wasn’t an issue for me because I was traveling alone. Depending on your comfort level with your travel partner this may be an issue. However, there are easy ways around this – the lobby provides a very comfortable hang out space with computers and tons of natural light for you to escape to if your bunk mate wants some bathroom privacy. My favorite part by far was the shower. It offers you two different showerheads including a rain head as well as luxury, yummy smelling bath products.
Each night, there is a free wine and snack reception. I loved being able to meet other guests and unwind. If you’re a so inclined, you have the option of pre-stocking your hotel mini-bar with all of your favorites. Each room also has free water, tea and coffee, which is a nice treat in the morning to be able to make a coffee while getting ready to start the day.
I loved the quiet, welcoming Hougoumont. The staff was incredibly helpful and friendly. They always had a friendly hello for me as I came in the building and a small chitchat when I was heading out for the day. If you’re a traveler looking for more facilities than a hotel, have no fear, the Hougoumont is working on “Stage Two.” In the near future the hotel will feature its own restaurant/bar, pool and an additional 65 rooms. Not a bad legacy for an old convict ship, is it?