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A BOUTIQUE HOTEL IN THE COUNTRY

Katanning is a small town south east of Perth known for little more than its agricultural history, which is why it might come as a surprise to learn that a boutique hotel has recently opened there.

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Opened in 2018, the Premier Mill Hotel is housed in a 128-year-old flourmill, which has been beautifully restored under the watchful eye of spaceagency architects.

After hearing more about the project and the numerous accolades it received in the recent WA Architecture Awards, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to book a quick weekend getaway with a friend.

Rolling hills blanketed with vivid yellow canola and sheep grazing in paddocks set the scene for the drive down – the countryside is stunning, particularly at this time of year.

Arriving at the quaint town, the Premier Mill Hotel is a shining beacon in the historic centre. The former flourmill was built by Katanning’s founding father, Frederick Piesse, in 1891 and has a commanding presence.

A proud meeting place for locals, the cosy bar and café were buzzing when we arrived. We found ourselves a spot at the bar and settled in for the evening in the warm and welcoming space.

Heading up to our room, the moody light enhances the retained heritage character of the building, which has been carefully balanced with clever modern design.

The height of the room is arresting, with linen curtains flowing from ceiling to floor. Corrugated iron, raw wood and exposed bricks come together to create a warm yet very sophisticated feel when merged with contemporary elements.

For book lovers, there is a ‘nook’ in the corridor with a good selection of reads which you can take down to the foyer and enjoy in front of the fireplace. Pure bliss – it almost feels as though you’ve been welcomed into someone’s home.

While it would certainly be easy to just park up at the hotel all day, the region is waiting to be explored. Katanning has some incredible Federation architecture, including Kobeelya House, another of Piesse’s buildings (his extravagant home at the time).

Also adding to the town’s unique culture and history is the remarkable multicultural community, including Malay, Afghan and Chinese populations and the local Indigenous Noongar people. A number of events are held throughout the year celebrating the food, art, music and culture that makes Katanning so special.

If you’d like to travel further afield, the hotel has cleverly created a compendium with a series of day trips to explore the region. Whether you’re interested in local wine makers, historic buildings or a climb in the Stirling Ranges, they have you covered.

After a day of exploring, it’s nice to return to the hotel and enjoy all of its delightful comforts – including the Aesop products, which certainly deserve a special mention. While unexpected, the Premier Mill Hotel provides the perfect base to explore this historic town and picturesque region, shining a light on a lesser-known part of Western Australia.

For more information visit, premiermillhotel.com

Word: Sarah Langley

Imagery: Sarah Langley & Claire McGowan