Once a Knight

Worst of Perth could never be complete without the Red Castle Hotel in Belmont Rivervale. Add a mini castle to the top of an extremely ugly brick hotel and you end up with a brick hotel with a bit of castle on top. One of the advertised features is that it is only 3.7km from Belmont Forum Shopping Centre. Ideally placed to stroll back from the Casino and hang yourself in the shower cubicle after losing your shirt. There were hearses parked in the carpark (true). The website is pretty bad too. I actually have a lot of affection for the place. I used to love seeing it when driving past when we were kids. It was something you looked out for, like the lights on the Swan Brewery. Although ugly, I hope it never gets demolished.


About AHC McDonald

Comedian, artist, photographer and critic. From 2007 to 2017 ran the culture and satire site The Worst of Perth
This entry was posted in worst architecture, worst pub/hotel/design, worst website. Bookmark the permalink.

125 Responses to Once a Knight

  1. golden1 says:

    It’s not red either.


  2. yasmin bordello says:

    great photo lazyaussie, the building looks strangely dignified. i’m impressed with the multiple level diving platforms too – there’s the Quick Exit Top Floor option or the lower floor alternatives for less committed (or more masochistic) patrons.n


  3. Sorry to correct you LA it’s not in Bel Monde. It’s picturesquely situated at the end of Castle Way opposite the Rivervale pub in Lathlain and of course that’s not to forget fine dining at
    King Arthur’s Table. The hearses , no doubt , are the ” Bring out your dead” aspect of the business.


  4. Cimbali says:

    Hey LA I remember being quite intrigued by the red castle when we were kids wasn’t it redder and castle- ier back then or was that a different building?


  5. Rolly says:

    Isn’t the red brick “castle” bit a reclaimed part of the old Perth Barracks that was demolished (except for the gateway which remains at the Western end of St. Geo.’s Tce.) to make way for the freeway?


  6. Good question Rolly but I think if any architect made such a botch of integrating an old artifact with the new they’d be hung, drawn and quartered. In short I don’t know the history of the building but it’s very definitely all built at the same time, around the late 50’s to early 60’s.


  7. lazyaussie says:

    Is it really part of the old Barracks? Interesting if it was!


  8. PatB says:

    Yes but it does have a revolving restaurant, which is always a plus point in tasteless 1970s commercial architecture IMHO.


  9. lazyaussie says:

    PatB. I had heard that. Is it still there?


  10. PatB says:

    To be honest I don’t know. It was 10 years ago when I was there for a works Christmas do. Food and service were surprisingly good but it was still hopelessly tacky. I don’t remember the view being that good at any point of rotation, but at least it meant that noone had to sit next to the kitchen or toilet doors for more than a few minutes.


  11. PatB says:

    Absolutley love the site by the way.


  12. lazyaussie says:

    #5 Rolly. I don’t think it is remnants of the barracks arch. The style of the Barracks arch is different.


  13. Liam Coffey says:

    I’m wondering when people in Perth are going to stop ‘renovating’ 19th century pubs by knocking down interior walls, polishing the floorboards, providing rickety chrome furniture and insisting upon natural fucking light. It’s a pub for Christ’s sake, not a waiting room for a 1980s Peppermint Grove nightmare. Go to Melbourne and have a look at the Carringbush, the Retreat, the Terminus or the Standard, take some notes, and for God’s sake grow up.


  14. River Ralphie says:

    They used to do a buffet dinner there back in the 80’s when I was a small child. It was a thrill to go to the Castle and the food was fantastic back then. I thought it looked great back then… but I also used to wear a hypercolour T-Shirt in the 80’s.


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  16. Elad says:

    the function room downstairs def. does not rotate but it does have the stickiest carpets in all the land, stinks like a century or two’s worth of badly kegged beer and have a urine/feceas (sp?) kinda of feel to the air…


  17. BenDog says:

    the red castle hotel should be herritage listed!
    have you seen the rooms?
    they are so amazingly retro!

    the place should be made into a museum for the wall paper alone!

    i should post some of my photos from the party i had there, so i can prove to you how awesome this place is.

    its a jewel in the crown of perth and should be on the “best of perth” list.

    except for its horrid garden.

    the place even has a revolving restaurant!!!

    its so kitch it hurts!


  18. rhubarb says:

    14 River Ralphie said
    “They used to do a buffet dinner there back in the 80’s when I was a small child. It was a thrill to go to the Castle and the food was fantastic back then. ”

    It was, for sure. And not a cheap and nasty either – it had won awards and such for the dining experience.


  19. red castle says:

    this took me back
    my family were involved briefly with the running of the bar/wine cellar, function room and restaurant (i think when it was winning awards late seventies/early eighties) – anyway i remember the best new years eve ever when we were little – there was a huge mickey mouse face painted on the bottom of the pool, and an “oriental” garden, complete with little ‘grottos’ and lanterns shaped like temples – and yes the revolving restaurant, guarded by knights in shining armor. my sister and i and our three best friends swam, had food from the function bought to our rooms and watched raiders of the lost ark about 15 times on the motel channel – before watching the fireworks go off over the various racetracks and events around that patch….i was a huge snob (even as a kid) and thought the area dismal but that night it was a haven, a private play ground perfect for kids to run amuck. The following year we were at the parmelia – dad got a new job and we got the penthouse – but i don’t really know if it was as much fun as the red castle.
    good memories……

    i live in london now but these kinds of memories stick – i loved the fact perth had so many twee, naff, kitsch places – i used to find them funny and exciting when i discovered them – but alas i was in a minority.

    i dont miss perth but i do miss those strange little spots though: eats hamburger bar at cottesloe, raffles hotel sign/building, a vague memory of some neon signs on the swan near the brewery, miss maudes, the flower clock in kings park, that christmas tree approaching south perth, some weird fifties style hamburger drive in (not through) on mounts bay road that was open 24 hours that all the cabbies would use….

    ah well.


  20. Excellent. The area is still terrible, even though there were grand talks recently about the gateway to the city and renewing the whole precinct. Probably not happening now like everything else shelved by Lib government and credit crisis. The flower clock has been featured here a while ago. I should have done Miss Mauds by now shouldn’t I?
    If you see any good international worsts, send them in RC. Weekend Worstoff often has international worsts featured.


  21. Snuff says:

    Good post, red castle. As a fellow expat, I agree that it’s Perth’s strange little spots which conjure an abiding affection.

    What’s also particularly interesting in your post is how many of the places you’ve mentioned have featured in these Worst pages.

    Here’s the Eats in Cott, which also features some discussion of Bernie’s, (the weird fifties style hamburger drive in (not through) on Mounts Bay Road).

    I’m not sure about the Raffles, but there’s definitely been discussion of the Brewery lights, and I think the Xmas tree approaching South Perth. Was it at The Old Mill ? I can’t recall which posts the discussions occurred in, but here are the Brewery lights again.

    … And there was this great sculpture featured from the carpark behind Miss Maud’s, so I reckon that counts.

    Fine Weekend Worstoff 41, by the way, TLA.

    Avagoodweegend … what’s left of it.


  22. Georgie says:

    Hey you guys. I LOVE this place so leave it alone. When I come to Perth I have the ‘Queen’s’ room. Its spacious, got a view of the city, the bed is to die for, by far the most comfortable bed that I have ever slept in and most importantly, the people that run it have always gone out of their way to make me feel welcome. Its not like the liittle tiny dumps you pay a couple of hundred bucks for elsewhere. Yes its old, but hey, so what. If you want to see a concert or go to the casino its just a short walk. My wish is that somebody will buy it and restore it to its original beauty. I remember that the Red Castle used to be THE place in Perth to stay. In my book, IT STILL IS.


  23. Jane says:

    I dig the Red Castle, though I’ve never been there.

    I’m told that back in the day the revolving restaurant used to revolve past a pond from which an arm holding a sword aloft would periodically arise. No idea if this is true.

    It’s all of a piece with London Court I suppose. Have you covered that?


  24. Lyn says:

    This place is amazing, its like walking back into the past. AC/DC stayed here and it even appeared in either there filmclip or their movie, not sure which


  25. Adrian says:

    I only returned to Perth late last year after 24 years “OVER EAST” (grrrr…what is it with Perth people and fucking “over east?? the country doesn’t end at Ceduna, as much as Twit-ite Perthites would dearly love to believe) and OVER SEAS.

    But whenever I alight from my superb Qantas flight with its inflight service (love playing topple the pyramid on the toilet) I know I’ve arrived back in the “City that Never Wakes” as soon as I clap eyes on ye olde Red Castle.


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  29. The Legend 101 says:

    Lets count all the stairs.


  30. Sue Deacon says:

    1999, stayed there …. loved the room ________ swam there …. loved the pool and setting ______ ate at the revolving restaurant ….. great food and service. Often mention the place to others as the best (although not up to date) motel i have ever stayed in. Hope it gets a good make over and remains open for a very long time.


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  32. memock says:

    *Gulp* I just booked a night there for next month. $100 – score! Seriously though…. what have I got myself in for?

    Is this the carpark that I always seem to hear about on the news when someone gets murdered?


  33. lissabobissa says:

    My Grandad was involved with the Red Castle in the 70’s and the 80’s. The gardens and the resturant were famous back in the day. Mum and Dad had their wedding night there. If I win lotto Id like to bring the Midcentury Modern design glory back and make use of the great location. It could be bloody awesome! does anyone know if the resturant is still in business??


    • Grant Carlson says:

      Is your Grandad Rod T.? If so please pass along my very beast to him from Grant, the Canadian who worked with Franco, Carl, etc.



      • Rondy says:

        No Grant, bit before your time! His name was Sydney John Leach and he got burnt there on 25 January 1920. He died about 1980 in his 90’s. It’s a shame you didn’t experience the real brewery!


        • Grant Carlson says:

          Sorry to hear that Rondy, but thanks for your response. It was truly a pleasure to work there with some very fine people and remember it well after many years.
          All the best,


          • RubyRuby says:

            Just wondering – are all parties here talking about the same grandfather fella?

            This truly is the worst dating site ever.


  34. memock says:

    Oh my goodness! That was one of the most interesting hotels I have ever had the ‘pleasure’ of ‘sleeping’ in! What a hoot! I will blog about it soon and soon you a link. Amazing (with a capital A)!!!


  35. Grant Carlson says:

    I worked at the Red Castle as a waiter in the 1970’s and indeed there was a knights arm hourly raising the Sword of the Excalibur, I suppose, from an adjacent pond. The food was terrific, second to none at the time, and with a fantastic wine list. We also did some tabeside cooking.

    The staff included John Lee, the chef, Franco the headwaiter, Todd Tregerthen, manager, Carl Craig, Daryl, Roy and many others who made it an excellent place to work, and all of us had a great deal of pride in our jobs. It played a substantial role in Perth’s dining history and while it’s easy to make snide comments now, it really was wonderful in its day. I even served Margaret Court there.

    Anyone knowing of these fine people please give them my regards from Canada.

    Cheers to all,

    Grant Carlson


  36. Grant Carlson says:

    That was great, Snuff, and instantly recognizable. Apart from the actors!
    Thanks so much for your thoughtfulness.


  37. Black Knight says:

    Most disguisting place I’ve ever stayed @


  38. Rondy says:

    The original Red Castle Brewery was opened 100 years ago this month and my grandfather Sidney John Leach was the brewer there. He live at the brewery for many years with his family until moving into a great old house at the top of Cornwall St. He continued working at the brewery until retirement and I remember playing there as a child and pretending the bottle labels were money. Now of course they are worth a LOT of money! Sidney was cleaning a vat one day when someone lit a match which caused the vat to explode. He had to crawl back through the vat (and flames) and obviously was severely burnt. He spent many months in hospital then had a further year of home nursing. My nana assisted him with his dressings and nursed him through those long painful months. He recovered with very little scarring and was left with very soft smooth skin!
    The brewery produced some very special beers over the years and was a direct rival to the Swan Brewery who eventually bought out their “rivals”.
    So those people who think the Red Castle Brewery site is ugly etc should be appreciative of the special and unique history it has in Perth.


  39. nev il-pinto says:

    i can’t believe there has been 64 comments about the red castle with only one reference to ‘murder’ and no reference to the number of overdoses & drug deals that have occurred there through the years?


  40. memock says:

    Here is a report I just typed up with photos of my recent stay at this interesting place!


  41. memock says:

    Well I put my review up on Trip Advisor and just noticed now that management took the time to reply to it. I take my hat off to them for saying something and I wish them all the best with their new venture.

    This is what they wrote: “We are so sorry that you had a horrible experience at the Red Castle Motor Inn. We have just taken over the hotel in early July and we would never have placed you in that room in your photos. We are now trading as The Red Castle Hotel with a new number and a fresh new attitude. We have plans to refurbish all rooms in the multistory section of the hotel. All rooms will be injected with a contemporary yet 1960’s inspired feel. We hope that if you return to Perth, you will look us up again and be pleasantly suprised by what you see.”

    A 1960’s inspired theme? Mmmmmmm…….


  42. Paracleet says:

    Is currently on fire.


  43. janezee says:

    In breaking news, Red Castle on fire.


  44. Snuff says:

    As TLA mentions, for all its worst credentials, it’s hard not to love this place. Maybe they should do a Barracks Arch with it; demolish it and leave just the castle. Great comment from shane here, and good luck with your refund, Janice … “Sorry, it was only a FIRE TERROR.”


  45. janezee says:

    Drove past on the way home. It looks ok. Nothing structural.

    There’s also this new excellent filthy giant inflatable clown leering over Gt Eastern Hwy hanging over what I’m guessing is the western boundary of the hotel carpark, advertising Ashton’s circus. All looks fantastic with the partially burned hotel behind it, hard for me to stop and get a pic tho.


  46. janezee says:

    There must be pictures. Mine was deflated this morning, not sure if someone killed it or if the clowns sleep at night.


  47. Anonymous says:

    Back to the subject, the Red Castle does anyone remember in one of the back to the future movies a casino/hotel called ‘Biffs’ ? Well a bit of new mission brown paint ,some orange shagpile & presto perth could have a 5 star tack-o-rama multi story motel in the air fabulous !


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  49. Mark says:

    I used to work there where lucky punters used to hang out. With Franco managing the joint and a few other Italians like Gavin, you would have thought it was run by the mafia. I remember Abe Safron once dining there. He was very polite.


    • Grant Carlson says:

      Was that in the early to mid seventies? I worked there as well during that time and had a helluva lot of fun. Any idea what happened to Franco? -Grant Carlson


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