For me, waking up last Saturday was magic. I felt as though I was part of two well-known stories. First off I knew I had been incredibly fortunate to be invited to quite a prestigious event, so in that regard it was sort of like I was Charlie in that Chocolate Factory tale and had my own golden ticket. On the other hand, since I had this golden ticket, I felt compelled to put my best foot forward, in a pair of heels and a pretty frock! So I figured that element was almost Cinderella-esque! I wasn’t so sure about the whole ‘home by Midnight’ aspect, but I digress…
With my food blogger hat on I’d managed to score an invite to the highly anticipated Social Media Sleepover – #socmedsleepover – at the Terrace Hotel. And what was the event all about you might wonder?… “More than just a gathering to experience our beautiful hotel, the #SocMedSleepover is a game of Cluedo played out in real time. There are 15 guests in this murder mystery and it’s up to you to figure out whodunnit“
It sounded like a stack of fun and meant myself and 14 other lucky folks were invited to the Terrace for a night of mystery and intrigue…… unsure whether we would in fact survive the night! As if on cue, as I drove in on that fateful night, the skies darkened and the perfect Spring weather we’d been enjoying in the West, swung to dark skies and stormy clouds – perfect for the night’s festivities.
I’d wandered past the Terrace Hotel during its construction process and was so looking forward to the chance to peruse the finished product. It was worth the wait. As I wandered into the reception I was greeted by lovely, friendly staff members who took my bags and showed me through to the bar where the #socmedsleepover crew was gathering.
It always feels a bit funny to introduce yourself to someone with your actual name and to then have to follow up with your blog or Twitter handle. I suppose though, such is life when you’ve only ever really chatted to these folks on Twitter! You could clearly feel the excitement within the room as we enjoyed a welcome drink and took in the splendour of the decor. Polished wooden floorboards throughout and some very impressive light fixtures, with chandeliers clearly the order of the day. While our initial course of canapés was slated to be served in the salon, given the weather we instead adjourned to the private dining room. It was a really lovely room, had a warmth to it and showed off some more of the eclectic and somewhat racy collection of art that had been gathered for the Terrace’s walls.
We started the evening with Terrace Hotel marketing guru, Meg Coffey, explaining the order of proceedings before we did a quick loop around the table and learnt a little about each of the guests. Yes, it was a varied bunch of folks, but clearly our common appreciation for all things social media had brought us together and we were looking forward to some fun and frivolity ahead. We heard the Twitter love story of @lu_lu and @richardgiles (precious!), learnt about the glam @kitta’s photo skills, the fashion know how of resident youngster @blondesuburbia and made the offical introduction of well known Perth Twitterati – @tweetperth, @ryannorthover, @supercujo and the fellow that thought the whole idea up @freocookster. I was also so looking forward to the lovely lady behind the blog, @thebumpiestpath, and as I discovered throughout the evening, she was a delight to speak with. Then there was @brock_walter, previously of broadcasting fame and recently on to new adventures in the property space and representing both WA and Australia wide tourism councils – @atecwa and @jessedee. Finally @deadplayground was the last guest to be announced after launching a determined Twitter campaign. As the token foodie, I was looking forward to sampling some of the food and I didn’t have to wait long as three different canapés were shared around the table.
First accusation! @deadplayground and @ryannorthover in Reception with the iPad Charger
Up first was a divine hors d’oeuvre of polenta, goat’s cheese mousse and red onion. It was a perfect starter and a wonderful combination of flavours. The mild saltiness from the cheese matched well with the sweetness from the onion. Amazing. I am fairly confident I could have knocked off the whole plate.
But soon enough the next one arrived – precious wontons full of confit duck. I’m a big wonton fan, but team it with duck! Forget about it, I knew it was going to be a favourite and it so was. A tasty morsel with its flavoursome filling in a light crispy shell.
The final canapé was a nod to seafood – a king prawn with a fresh salsa on a tortilla crisp. The prawns were sweet and plump and I thought the refreshing salsa was a good pairing, along with the textural crunch from the corn chip.
I was impressed with the range of canapés we’d been given, on some beautiful crockery and as our attention turned to mains I was torn! We were given a choice of two – Slow cooked Linley Valley pork belly, apple and sage crumble, confit potatoes and cider jus or Amelia Park lamb assiete – roast rack, slow cooked shoulder, shepherd’s pie, spinach, roast garlic, white white jus. I knew I would likely love both, but I swayed towards the pork belly. Around the table, there seemed to be a fairly even split of selections from guests, with one opting for the vegetarian choice (Fricassee of heirloom vegetables and puy lentils, butternut pumpin, goat’s cheese cigars).
When my plate was presented I was in no way disappointed. Two larger pieces of pork belly were served, along with a dainty fondant potato and an elegant tower of apple with a crumbly top. Pork and apple – long time friends :) The pork belly was cooked to perfection, with a crispy top, along with melt in your mouth pork and the fat well rendered to its indulgent best. Teamed with some of the sweet apple it was hard not to be impressed. I was. It was a lovely meal.
Next to me @BlondeSuburbia raved about her Lamb dish. I sampled some of the lamb and it really was delicious. Everyone seemed very happy with the delicious fare, carefully crafted by Terrace Hotel head chef Shannon Wilson.
Around the table, dishes of New potatoes, paprika and rosemary butter and also Rocket and parmesan salads were distributed, to help with people’s quest to achieve 2 fruit and 5 veg daily :)
Second accusation! @perthmunchkin and @supercujo in the Guest Salon the Foxtel IQ Remote
With our meals completed the intrigue for the evening started as people were bumped off one by one! As the accusations started to fly, we shifted locations into the wine tasting room, where some cheese platters were presented and a few more folks were knocked off. I do enjoy a good cheese plate and these plates were put together well – something hard, something creamy, something blue – divine!
*With thanks to @ryannorthover for this lovely cheese photo below
We were also lucky at this point that Chef Shannon came to say hello and I’m sure I gushed on about how much I had enjoyed the meal.
Third accusation - @tweetperth and @kitta and @thebumpiestpath in McAlpine Dining Room with the Glass Vase
Now when the clock struck 9.40pm we knew we were scheduled to take a 10 minute break up to our rooms to change into our PJs if we so desired, before heading into the Premier or should I call it the @Freocookster suite for our dessert. This was our first opportunity to check out the rooms we had drawn – the stunning Heritage Suite 3 - and I’ll admit that as I walked into mine, smiling as I noted that my suitcase had been deposited inside, I was well impressed.
A stunning four poster bed with a mountain of pillows looked very appealing.
As I wandered further in there was a flat screen TV adorning the wall, along with the high tech Foxtel IQ remote at the ready.
Each room has its own iPad (I know – how cool) and it was kind of tempting to just lock myself in my room and play with all these fancy toys!
This was even more tempting after I saw the bathroom – oh the bath was giant and looked so inviting!
Every element of the room was so plush!
Each with its own Nespresso machine and a very well stocked mini bar.
Clearly this hotel would be perfectly suited to a special occasion mini break, where you know you that every element of the room has been carefully considered. Having said that, for any discerning business traveller, the rooms are also well fitted with technological features. It’s got those two markets well covered.
As tempted as I was to stay and enjoy my lovely room, I donned my jim jams and slippers (a bit of a treat after sporting heels for a few hours) and skipped my way to @Freocookster’s room. Wow, it was stunning. The size of it was so indulgent and as with everywhere else in the hotel, attention to detail ensured that it was polished perfection. An alluring array of desserts was placed along the suite’s dining table – Rose pannacotta, Turkish delight, straberry granita, pistachio fairy floss, along with Trio of house made ice creams, not to forget Baileys 3 way – cheesecake, milkshake and icecream and finally White chocolate and passionfruit tart, black olive caramel, coconut caramel, mango chilli icecream - we were a spoilt bunch.
*With thanks to @blondesuburbia for the use of these beautiful dessert photos
*And thanks to @thebumpiestpath for the lovely close of photo of the pannacotta and for showing off her fancy nails :)
As we stood in the room, a few more guests were eliminated and folks on Twitter started to make their three guesses.
Fourth accustation – @richardgiles & @lu_lu & @freocookster in the Freocookster Suite with the Clock
Now with thanks to Forest Hill wines for their important contribution to the night, there was much fun had by all in attendance.
I wandered back to my room later in the evening and fell into a deep sleep in the supremely comfortable bed, wrapped in the soft sheets and surrounded by all those pillows.
Breakfast was being served at 8.30am, so I wandered downstairs and into the sunshine to join the other guests.
Coffee was my first order of business and with that ordered I started checking out the menu options.
More traditional choices, such as eggs and bacon were contrasted against Asian alternatives such as Chicken congee and Mee goreng. Everyone was going to be happy. I only ended up having toast for breakfast, but looking around the table, I thought Blonde Suburbia’s Eggs Florentine (Also available with Parma Ham or Royal) looked like a winner.
During breakfast the final accusations were made and the killer revealed!
Final accusation – @blondesuburbia & @jessedee & @brock_walter in the Elevator with the HDMI Cable
I would never have suspected the friendly @actewa in the Wine Vault with the Chandelier.
It had been an incredible night, where I’d been fortunate enough to meet some really lovely new people. My thanks to the Terrace Hotel team for my golden ticket and for wining and dining us all in such style.