|Head down to the Local Hotel!|
Listed as one of Lonely Planet’s top ten cities in the world 2016, Fremantle in Western Australia, is about 30 minutes from the capital Perth. ‘Freo’ as it is known, is a laid back port city, with a cool Boho vibe, fringed by white sand beaches and the turquoise Indian Ocean.
An up and coming part of the city a short walk away from the buzzing so called ‘cappuccino’ strip in the centre with its coffee bars and restaurants is South Terrace. This is where you will find The Local Hotel – an elegant building typical of the Federation era (think late Victorian for us Brits.) Built in 1897 – which is old by Australian standards – the Local has been given a full make over by owner operator Phil Thompson, and his business partner Ross McPherson. They wanted to create a great neighbourhood hotel, eaterie and watering hole with a warm welcome for the discerning local and visitor alike.
The building has the typical features of this period with sash windows, covered canopies and fancy wrought iron work, which was designed to create shade and promote the free flow of air in this hot dry (usually!) climate.
|Hanging out at the local|
The Local currently has eight rooms which are cool and spacious with robes, TV, wifi, and air conditioning. They aren’t en suite so you do have to potter out to the rather funky bathroom just down the passage way, and there is a large veranda area where you can look out over the Fremantle suburb. When we stayed there it served as a perfect viewing point for a huge electrical storm which began as dry lightening in a huge cumulus cloud, and ended right over the hotel electrifying the room for hours with magnificent lightening and a powerful burst of Australian rain.
|Veranda at the Local|
The staff are super friendly and laid back and the whole place has an easy going and unpretentious vibe. Walls display works of art from local artists. My favourite was a huge stunning mural of elephant heads in one of the bedrooms by Fremantle artist, Anya Brock .
|You’ll never forget staying here!|
The style is utilitarian urban chic, with light bulbs showing the filaments, exposed natural materials. and muted calm hues in the paint work.
The food is hearty and uses all local produce from WA. I had gold band snapper with pureed sweet potato and a side dish of sliced sauteed sprouts, which were delicious.
|Snap up the Snapper!|
There are lots of interesting types of fish to try in WA, fished locally from the vast clean sea, and I also tried Baramundi and Red Emperor while I was here – all were equally tasty. Dessert options included the Piggy Food company’s ice cream sandwiches which sounded amazing, but we were just too stuffed to try one!
There’s a great selection of WA gins in the whisky bar too if that takes your fancy, including Hippocampus, Black Robin and Westwind. Boutique gins made with a variety of botanicals are big everywhere at the moment.
You can stretch out in the comfortable leather chesterfield chairs and just chill out with an interesting tipple. We sampled the Local’s signature cocktail Yacht Rocks which pretty much hit the spot.
If you do venture out this way then the The Local Hotel is a really authentic place to stay in a cool part of a cool city
Another great feature of downtown Freo is the incredible street art which is everywhere here. Vibrant and colourful, any expanse of concrete or the side of a building (even the local hospital) gets a clever make over, and it usually features something that will make you smile.
|Walking with emus|
My favourite is the huge and detailed mural which covers the whole of the giant EastWest design warehouse on South Terrace, which sells furniture and all things for your Ozzie interior and garden,
imported from places like Bali. The mural has taken years to finish, as it has so much detail and completely wraps the enormous building.
|EastWest is best|
The artwork is really a story in itself about the building and the place, and radiates a happy upbeat brightness, and a sense of humour, typical of fabulous Freo. I was particularly taken with a small tableau of some teeny tiny aliens firing ray guns at a guinea fowl.
The revenge of the quokka poster is pretty cool too. Fremantle is an up and coming place with more sunshine than any other Australian city. It is also an ideal destination to escape the depths of a grey English winter. I can personally vouch for that!