Tasmania’s heritage gems are being reimagined as luxury accommodation in Tasmania. With more luxury lodgings still to come. From grand mansions with a chequered past to one of Launceston’s landmarks transformed into a dining destination, now is the time for travellers to visit (or revisit) Tassie, says Sally Scott.
Maylands Lodge, Hobart
On the fringe of the city, one of Hobart’s grandest mansions has undergone an 18-month restoration to reveal a magnificent new boutique hotel. Maylands has had a varied history – originally conceived by a merchant “son of a convict”, it’s also been a hostel, girls’ school and The Salvos’ HQ – but its current incarnation as luxury accommodation is extraordinary.
Maylands Lodge’s 12 rooms feature beautifully crafted pieces, such as custom-made bedheads made from Tasmanian blackwood, and there’s also a palatial guest lounge, restaurant and secret cellar. Despite all the apparent luxury, Maylands Lodge aims to be “humanity-plus” in how it operates; whether it’s by eliminating single-use plastics or donating 100% of its water sales profits to charity, Maylands Lodge is a hotel with heart.
MACq 01, Hobart
MACq 01 still feels shiny and new thanks to its prominent position on the harbour, sleek designer interiors and new whisk(e)y bar. This ‘storytelling hotel’ goes well beyond mere historical interpretation, becoming an immersive experience for visitors and guests.
While an entirely new building, the historical narrative of Tasmania is woven into the architecture, interior design and food and beverage – as well as the people – with the appointment of a Master Storyteller, Justin Johnstone. Johnstone draws on his background in theatre, heritage and tourism to provide a compelling overview of the characters, stories and significant artefacts within MACq 01.
Evolve Spirits Bar is the latest addition to the hotel, playing on the theme of history and man’s collection of countless botanical, zoological and geological artefacts. These artefacts are prominent in the bar’s decor, with an incredible display of fossils and skeletons on show including a giant Russian cave bear, a truly unique centrepiece. Extensive research has been conducted to discover rare spirits and museum pieces for the bar’s spirit collection, too, such as one-off bottlings of Glenfiddich and The Balvenie whiskies, and Glen Grant single malts from 1950.
Evolve Spirits Bar is a worthy addition to MACq 01, and no doubt even more stories are being told after a few of those museum whiskies.
Truffle Lodge, Derwent Valley
Just 30 minutes from Hobart in the picturesque Derwent Valley, Truffle Lodge is a safari-style tented luxury retreat, so named for its truffle-farm location. Truffle Lodge is the sister property of Woodbridge on the Derwent, bringing five-star service to the glamping experience.
Styled to resemble an Aussie bush camp, the eight tents all overlook the Derwent River and are connected by a series of timber boardwalks to the main pavilion, where guests can gather by the fireplace or take a leisurely breakfast.
The tents are larger than you’d expect and are decorated tastefully with the sophisticated traveller in mind. Each features a king-size bed and ensuite bathroom, while wide decks boast hammocks, sun loungers and riverfront recliners.
Truffle Lodge provides all the luxuries to reconnect with your loved ones and disconnect from the everyday stresses of the world.
Prospect Private House Hotel, Richmond
Located 30 minutes from the CBD in Richmond, Prospect House is the passion project of Pooley Wines owners John and Libby Pooley, who lovingly restored the heritage building to its former glory and reimagined it as an elegant 12-room country hotel.
John Pooley discusses the project proudly: “Prospect House was for so long closed to the people of Richmond and Tasmania as a private home, and we are very pleased to be able to return it to those who have had a previous connection to the 190-year-old property, as well as [have it] be active in Tasmania’s ever-growing luxe tourism market for new guests to explore and for new connections to be made.”
Rooms are furnished in a contemporary and minimalist style, with artwork by George Callaghan adorning the walls. Prospect House offers the option for an all-inclusive stay, including afternoon tea, cooked farmhouse breakfast, picnic lunch and a three-course dinner. Premium beverages include Pooley wines, of course.
Prospect House has only just opened its doors, so watch this space as the offering evolves, but expect personalised service and genuine hospitality within a luxury guesthouse that is understated and homely.
The Florance, Launceston
Steeped in history and Victorian character, The Florance has been thoughtfully restored through considered design, while paying tribute to its historic past.
The 12-room boutique hotel offers compact suites with contemporary style and a botanical theme overlooking magnificent City Park. Guests can start their day with a complimentary continental breakfast in the light-filled Conservatory. Step outside this luxury accommodation to explore Northern Tasmania’s vinyards, national parks and regional produce markets.
Stillwater SEVEN, Launceston
Landmark Launceston restaurant Stillwater Mill has launched seven luxurious rooms above its popular waterfront restaurant. The restaurant-with-rooms concept is a winning formula for those seeking a dining destination for their gourmet weekend away.
Our pre-opening site inspection revealed a dark and moody aesthetic with Mona vibes, making it a sexy and intriguing offering. Local architects Cumulus Studio gave design nods to the 1942 fire, which razed the mill’s roof before being rebuilt; charred surfaces remain on some of the original Oregon beams. Simon Ancher continued the theme with bespoke tables and benches created with the Japanese burned Shou Sugi Ban preservation technique, and used his great talents to craft the signature blackwood pantry-cum-bar for the in-room maxi-bar showcasing local food, wine and spirits.
Stillwater SEVEN is one of the most exciting boutique properties to open in Australia this year and worth a detour to Launceston.
by Sally Scott of Alluxia
Sally Scott is a travel writer and founder of luxury travel website alluxia.com, a curated collection of luxury stays in Australia. Follow along on Instagram @alluxia as they unearth hidden gems, luxury travel experiences and share the best places to stay.
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