Onboard The Raft: First-look preview from Perth’s hottest new venue

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Bonnie RaynorThe West Australian
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VideoWATCH: From the amazing views of the city to the impressive decor, here's a first-look on board Perth's hottest new venue.

Gather your mates, this is the place you’ll likely want to spend your entire summer.

We’ve all read about The Raft and seen exciting preview snippets, but how does it actually stack up when you’re onboard? Will it live up to the hype?

Last night I found out, and let’s just say I was far from disappointed.

Invited on a private, almost dress rehearsal event ahead of its maiden voyage, there was nothing unrehearsed from start to finish.

MORE: THE RAFT SET FOR MAIDEN VOYAGE

Departing from the Barrack Street Jetty, the private tender to the raft took little more than five minutes and we were greeted with a drink as we stepped foot onto the platform - big tick.

Brother-sister duo Dan and Katie Chrystal have spent five years bringing this project to life, so it comes as no surprise they’ve gone the extra mile with all finishing touches.

From rows of modern round windows to bring a bit of love to the non-city side view, to sandy stone bench tops and beautiful oversized greenery, Instagrammers will be in overdrive once they see the incredible decor.

Picture: The view from on board The Raft, including the tender that ferries passengers to the main platform.
Camera IconPicture: The view from on board The Raft, including the tender that ferries passengers to the main platform.
Picture: The view out of The Raft’s west-side window.
Camera IconPicture: The view out of The Raft’s west-side window.

Now to the really important stuff: The on-board catering is provided by Heyder & Shears and you bet I had more than one serving of the mac and cheese with no shame at all.

Fish tacos, prawn and scallop dumplings and duck san choy bau were just a few of the other delicious offerings.

And unsurprisingly, the cocktails weren’t bad either.

Picture: Cocktails galore on board The Raft.
Camera IconPicture: Cocktails galore on board The Raft.
Picture: The Raft held an exclusive private event last night ahead of their official maiden voyage.
Camera IconPicture: The Raft held an exclusive private event last night ahead of their official maiden voyage.

The Raft was inspired by Sydney’s ‘The Island’ which boasts premium events with European beach culture vibes.

I lived in Sydney for two years and the reputation around the harbour-based vessel was that it was pretty up-market and only for those who boasted big Instagram followings.

While The Raft has classy touches and will no doubt attract an A-List crowd, it’s been created by a hard-working, Perth born-and-bred family who’ve worked tirelessly to personalise the experience.

The Raft was inspired by Sydney’s ‘The Island’ which boasts premium events with European beach culture vibes.
Camera IconThe Raft was inspired by Sydney’s ‘The Island’ which boasts premium events with European beach culture vibes. Credit: Michael Wilson/The West Australian
Picture: The Raft in its new permanent home on the Swan River.
Camera IconPicture: The Raft in its new permanent home on the Swan River.

One example of that is the time they’ve put in to recruiting the right personnel.

The friendly staff accommodated my sister’s vegetarian dietary requirements without her even asking, after noticing she was turning down any food with meat.

Everyone onboard was incredible and it added hugely to the enjoyable, polished experience.

The tender vessel chugged back and forth across the Swan River and regardless of it returned with smaller or larger groups, the bar staff had the exact amount of drinks ready for the incoming passengers.

That might seem minor, but it was just another small showing of the behind-the-scenes effort, with the tender captain communicating to the Raft bar staff how many people were en route.

The family-operated touch and welcoming vibe makes the venue a lot more attractive than the exclusivity of The Island, in my opinion.

Picture: The view from on board The Raft.
Camera IconPicture: The view from on board The Raft.

When The Raft opens up for Sunday sessions, I’ll be lining up for my ticket to join in.

Pristine views of our beautiful city, both under lights and as the sunset ricochets off the skyscrapers, with impeccable style, a live DJ and delicious food and drink offerings.

I don’t think any of that will ever get old. It’s a big yes from me.

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