Hobart’s New Agenda

History and luxury combine at Hobart’s impressive The Tasman.

By Terry Christodoulou 01/07/2022

Naming a new flagship hotel after the state is a bold move. It’s a statement of ownership, a refined embodiment of its place. And it’s where we arrive—excitedly—to explore Hobart’s The Tasman.

A Marriott Luxury Collection hotel, the first of its kind in Australia, the rather expansive 152-room newcomer is built from what was Australia’s first private hospital, a historic sandstone structure that oozes the warm, wintry appeal so firmly etched into the southern state.

While we’re certain those porous walls hold many stories, the updated architecture (by Sydney firm FJMT, with interiors by Joseph Pang) offers a new choose-your-own-adventure narrative.

The hotel can be easily dissected into three distinct time periods: Heritage, representative of the bones of the hotel; Art Deco, pointing to Hobart’s early 20th-century heyday; Pavilion, providing the type of modern decadence aligned to luxury experiences.

We land in the Heritage wing and a spacious room that opens to an exposed sandstone wall—a recurring motif throughout the hotel—with luxuriantly thick carpets underfoot and a wardrobe space bigger than most metro apartments.

Vast swathes of calacatta marble announce the bathroom, which comes stocked with Grown Alchemist toiletries and (Italian label) Frette bathrobes and towels. Of the extravagant suites on offer, the Aurora Presidential is a 108-square-metre, one-bedroom effort that makes use of the building’s shape with an oversized terrace built for private entertaining that, due to its arrow shape, points towards Sullivans Cove.

Marble aplenty in the Heritage suite.

Elsewhere the St David’s Park Suite, found in the Heritage building, pushes old-world luxury, warmth and character, and is undoubtedly the jewel in this newly built crown. Here, neck-craning ceilings combine with custom joinery, fireplace and what might be the largest wardrobe seen in a hotel room this side of the Caribbean. However, one peek into the bathroom and you realise the handcrafted blackwood timber bath is the true showstopper.

Those playing along may have sensed a strong intention from the designers to, where possible, highlight Tasmania and its intensified sense of locality and skilled artisans. It’s a desire that runs as far as the soaps, in this case working with local brand Beauty and the Bees for two years to create the perfect sap—a Tasmanian dairy cream and leatherwood honey cleansing bar.

In addition, local brands such as Hartz water, Storm + India tea and even Lark Distillery feature, the latter creating an exclusive The Tasman blend of whisky.

The links between locality and history is something that—through proximity to the harbour and its surrounds—The Tasman does seamlessly. Here, you’re but a five-minute meander from Hobart’s famous Salamanca Markets and nearby eateries and bars such as The Den, a trendy, subterranean-style bar. Or one can mosey into town to visit Hobart’s thriving dining scene and acclaimed local haunts such as Dier Makr or the attached Lucinda Wine Bar.

There’s more, of course, this being the most exciting hospitality town of the past decade (and it’s here we must also point towards acclaimed chef Luke Burgess and his Seven and a Half)—though there’s no real need to leave The Tasman given its own in-house dining options.

Italian diner Peppina is an ode to the island from Tasmanian chef Massimo Mele, who helms the sophisticated offering from a central open kitchen that looks out past two olive trees to a restaurant fitted with blonde timber floors, plush semi-circular banquettes and more stonework. On our visit, the braciola de maiale (oven-roasted pork belly with salsa verde and potato cream) was a standout; the tiramisu proved a proper crowd pleaser.

A delicious scene from The Tasman’s in house eatery, Peppina.

Nearby—and accessible via a private Peppina entry—is the sophisticated cocktail bar Mary Mary. Named after the former St Mary’s Hospital where the bar now resides, it’s reminiscent of the slick speakeasies of Australia’s larger capitals, and operated by impassioned head bartender Ronan Kavanagh. Aim for a reimagined (and locally flavoured) old fashioned or become lost to the extensive wine list, paired to a tight food menu where the daily salumi option (with pickles and ricotta) shines bright.

Inside Mary Mary.

Beyond the hotel’s walls lies the immediate beauty of Tasmania and its unique natural landscapes. Have one of The Tasman’s Audis shuttle you to the top of Mount Mulligan—driven by a smart chauffeur (dressed in hotel uniforms by Australian designer Jeremy Hershan, of Haulier)—to take in the town, before heading for The Sanctuary for some spa pampering. Or visit the globally renowned Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), a central reason why Hobart, and indeed Tasmania, found its current verve. Excursions like these, and other off-site activities, are seamlessly organised by chief concierge James Nobleza, previously of Sydney’s The Langham.

Back on-site, the hotel offers other amenities in the shape of various meeting rooms and an art deco lounge —a spot for reclining, coffee, food and rest. There are also wine rooms and private dining areas, and a well-appointed gym (necessary for working off the many aforementioned indulgences).

The Tasman—and its wonderful alignment of history and welcoming, contemporary splendour—further elevates both Hobart and the wider state as an appealing and unique destination.
Heritage rooms from $718; marriott.com

This piece is from our new Watch Issue – on sale now. Get your copy or subscribe here, or stay up to speed with the Robb Report weekly newsletter.

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