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The Tasman Hobart: is Tasmania’s most anticipated luxury hotel worth the wait?

Steve Madgwick checks into the much-anticipated newbie, The Tasman Hobart, to see if this Marriot Luxury Collection hotel lives up to its five-star fanfare.

The very scale and vision of The Tasman, Hobart, feels like it marks a turning point for accommodation in Tasmania’s capital. Indeed, Marriott has made a grand statement by choosing Hobart as the first Australian location for its Luxury Collection Hotel brand.

The 152-room luxury hotel has been a long time in the making, thanks to Covid delays. But early signs suggest that this graceful fusion of new and old worlds was worth the wait.

Traveller: Steve Madgwick

Address: 12 Murray Street, Hobart, Tasmania

Date: February 2022

King room in the Heritage Building at The Tasman Hobart

The Tasman Hobart is best for:

A debonair choice of three ‘eras’ to cocoon within – Georgian, Art Deco, and Contemporary – all with bonafide design cred. The Tasman’s restaurant, Peppina, serves up succulent, honest Italian-style cuisine in one of the most charismatic dining spaces around.

The Signature factor

The Tasman Hobart has an eye for detail beyond its tender months, with design execution bordering on the bespoke. The hotel has only been open since December 2021. While it falls under the Marriott umbrella, the hotel has a tangible connection with Hobart’s local history. The atmospheric restaurant and bars are good enough to stand on their own merits in Hobart’s buzzing social scene.

The concept

Even a decade ago, the idea of combining three buildings of separate eras into a 152-room luxury hotel would have been considered too bold for Hobart. However, The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel feels in synch with the state capital’s current supernova trajectory.

The U-shape building occupies three sides of the block behind Parliament House and is in blinking distance from Sullivan’s Cove. The three buildings are a 1940s Art Deco, a contemporary Pavilion (2021), and the former St Mary’s Hospital. Interior fit-outs in all three are smart, pared-back period homages.

Peppina Sims Restaurant

First impressions

My airport pick-up was fuss-free and in a fitting chariot: a tinted-out Audi saloon. Transfers to the Hobart hotel cost $90 each way. I wondered if the sole car parked out front – a just-washed Maserati Quattroporte – was high-end virtue signalling by design or just a guest’s ride.

The Tasman’s stunning sandstone façade oozes a European old-city poise, even if it’s strictly a shared public thoroughfare. It sits booked-ended by relative modernity on sloping Murray Street. The low-roofed, almost Secret-Squirrel lobby (a right-turn through inconspicuous automatic glass doors) is a touch underwhelming by comparison. The seated check-in, however, felt more like friendly conversation than necessary admin. It was a fitting barometer for the personable, laid-back service that follows.    

The room

My generously proportioned Heritage room was a stately and soothing sanctuary; its masterly retrofitted bold dark woods contrasting confidently with convict-hewn sandstone walls. The retro-Georgian theme doesn’t feel at all forced. The Heritage rooms are undoubtedly masculine spaces, right down to the signature scent by Tassie’s own Beauty and the Bees. Auto-retracting curtains and idiot-proof light-switch panels are perfectly practical. The king bed and Frette linen combo are cloud-like – even if the duvet was too thick/warm for room temperature.  

Heritage bathroom at The Tasman Hobart

The top suite

The St David’s Park suite in the Heritage building exudes a Golden Age of Travel vibe. It has high-reaching ceilings, a leafy vista and fireplace. A walk-in wooden wardrobe is stunningly crafted but truncates the grand space a little harshly. This highlight is a standalone Tasmanian blackwood timber bath, surrounded by immaculate Italian marble and fed by lashings of Grown Alchemist.

The Pavilion building’s Aurora Suite’s roomy entertainment terrace claims the best water views, with glimpses up to Kunanyi/Mt Wellington, too.

Peppina restaurant

The Tutti a Tavola (shared-table experience) told me all I needed to know about the foodie philosophy and execution of Peppina restaurant. The restaurant is headed by Tasmanian-born, Naples-raised culinary director Massimo Mele.

The elemental Sarde antipasti (pickled sardines) and Gnocchi anchored by rich Stracciatella di Bufala pulsed with flavour. Peppina’s expansive interior is naturally lit by a glass ceiling and features two healthy looking olive trees. The atmosphere is simultaneously energetic, sophisticated and laid-back, holding a mirror to the spirit of contemporary Hobart.

For a drink

Low-lit Mary Mary is the pick of The Tasman’s two bars (with an outside entrance off Salamanca Place). It has a refined-speakeasy ambience. Which is enhanced by retro red-leather elbow pads on the bar, groovy Tasmanian Oak parquetry floor (recycled from site), and period curiosities adorning and softening the sandstone walls. The Tasmanian-ised classic cocktails are on point.

Deco Lounge follows the mid-20th Century design theme impeccably but feels more like a traditional hotel bar right now. The vibe may soften if/as locals embrace the quiet, comfortable space.   

The Deco Lounge

Highlights of the mini bar

My first choice of the très cool local collaborations is the Two Tonne Tasmania, The Tasman Pinot Noir from Tamar Valley winemaker Ricky Evans followed by the stiff-drink de jour, a mini bottle of Institut Polaire negroni or martini. The Tasman-branded Storm + India turmeric and ginger tea is a get-out-of-bed flavour bomb.

I wish I could take home

Not so much what I would take home as who I would kidnap and force to fit-out my house. Bespoke Tassie furniture-makers Matt Prince and Scott van Tuil who are responsible for custom furnishings including ‘stump’ coffee tables – are first on my list. Followed by the designers at Joseph Pang Design consultants, who magicked up Art Deco epiphanies like the ‘matchbooked’ black-heart sassafras inlaid ceilings in the Art Deco rooms.  

The best things to do in Hobart

The Tasman is bang on where you want to be in Hobart; an agreeable balance of view and not too close to the revelry. A five-minute stroll delivered me to the Mona ferry and credentialled waterfront restaurants such as Aloft. On Saturdays, Salamanca Market is just a wander across the park while the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery is 500 metres away.

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart © Shutterstock

Insider tips

Book a wine-tasting with ‘Fish’ in the Wine Room. The liberal-handed oenophile is drenched with cool-climate-wine knowledge and knows many of the wine-makers personally.

Ask yourself, are you a more of a Heritage, Art Deco or modern gal/guy before you press enter on your booking (yes, the rooms are that distinctive).   

Art Deco Panoramic King Room

If only

I would love to come back in a year to see how the new-born Tasman matures with time. It will be interesting to see how much (or little) Hobart locals embrace Peppina and Mary Mary.

Pet peeves

Marriott can do a better job of telling the story of the different room styles. I loved most elements of my Heritage room – except for the rather business-like courtyard view – but after a quick glimpse, I think an Art Deco room would have been more my jam. 

The Tasman’s public nooks are wondefully decorated with works from predominately female Tasmanian artists. They are atmospheric but a project of this size is crying out for another non-dining space – an onsite spa would slot in perfectly! 

Final verdict

It’s early days but if The Tasman continues on its current trajectory, it will be on the very top rung of not only Hobart but Australian city stays. It doesn’t fill a gap in Hobart’s accommodation needs so much as make its own statement, arguably enhancing what came before it. Watch (and stay in) this space.   

Where to find The Tasman Hobart

The Tasman Hobart is located on Murray Street on Hobart’s waterfront. The Luxury Collection Hotel is also within walking distance of Sullivan’s Cove and Salamanca Place.

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