Lux Nomade checks into The Tasman, Hobart
It’s a remarkable feat to transform three vastly different architectural spaces into one hotel that not only fits together seamlessly but does so with a sense of soul. Remarkable, but not impossible: as proven by The Tasman, the latest addition to Hobart’s luxury hotel landscape, and part of The Luxury Collection.
We spent twenty-four hours at the spectacular hotel, and the short-lived stay left me reinspired – amazed by the capacity of a dedicated team to defy preconceptions of large hotel brands and create a space that delivers on every “luxury hotel” trope in an entirely individual way. The Tasman which opened in December 2021, is an exquisite convergence of heritage and modern indulgence – a tasteful acknowledgement of Hobart’s coloured history and a perfectly refined curation of the features that appeal to 2023’s luxury traveller. This admirable synergy, coupled with in-house dining options that stand alone as destinations in and of themselves, earn The Tasman a place amongst Australia’s most exceptional city stays, brought to life by a team that consistently go above and beyond to make guests feel like the most important person in the room.
We arrived on a cloudy Friday afternoon, and the friendly, impeccably well-dressed team set the tone the moment we arrived – with genuine warmth, efficiency and (crucially) glasses of complimentary champagne. The lobby is the area of the hotel which bears the most resemblance to the old-school luxury hotels of London and New York: dark stone floors, deep furnishings and low, oak desks. A statement art piece by Hobart-based artist Nick Randall is the first nod to Tasmania’s cultural landscape, though once you begin to explore, you’ll find these dotted throughout. Artwork from exclusively Tasmanian artists lines the corridors, and glass cabinets showcase artefacts discovered on-site during the building process: smoking pipes, crockery, books and shoes dating back to the 1800s.
Work on the hotel – which sits in Hobart’s parliament square, just up from the historic Salamanca wharf – began in 2018, as part of the transformation of the district from a derelict former hospital and government printing office into a multi-purpose destination. Honouring the history of the site, many of the design features and original materials have been retained, reclaimed or repurposed. One notable example is the red bricks from the former printing offices which have been used to form part of the exterior of Peppina: The Tasman’s excellent in-house restaurant. With its contemporary Italian menu, designer fit out and genuine buzz, Peppina is a far cry from the generic “hotel restaurant” – more of an ultra-ritzy but undeniably atmospheric neighbourhood trattoria. Much of this can be put down to Culinary Director Massimo Antonio Mele, who’s responsible for the expertly conceived food offering that has gained Peppina a place among Hobart’s most popular restaurants.
During the day, sunlight pours in through the glass ceiling, replaced in the evenings by a warm copper hue thrown across the sandstone by hanging art deco light fixtures. The vast, bustling space is punctuated by raised beds built from reclaimed bricks housing olive trees and baskets of tomatoes, and in the centre by a rectangular bar that houses bottles of Italian wine, Limoncello and Amari. Next door, Mary Mary – The Tasman’s cocktail bar – takes on a different, but equally well-executed tone. Tasmanian oak panels line the walls and ceilings, tan leather seats surround brass-trimmed tables, and a curved bar houses an extensive selection of Tasmanian whisky. It’s this commitment to honouring different design eras that The Tasman does particularly well: from its venues to its rooms, which vary in aesthetic based on which area of the building they occupy. While each of the three room types are beautiful in their own way – the art deco rooms featuring striking ceiling fittings and far-reaching city views, and the heritage rooms home to unique features including one particularly impressive wooden bathtub – we were thrilled to find ourselves in one of the three pavilion suites that occupy the northeast corner of the building.
The room itself was absurdly spacious: a stunning, light-flooded suite comprising an extensive living and dining area, a separate bedroom and a marble and glass bathroom complete with double showers, a deep bathtub and an exhaustive selection of bathroom amenities, from thick robes to dental kits to handmade Tasmanian soap. Glass panelled walls revealed views beyond the historic rooftops of Hobart’s old town, across the wharf to the north of the city. The sun began to appear from behind a thick bank of clouds just as we finished our champagne, sending sparkles of light dancing across the water. Before dinner at Peppina, we walked to a local wine bar for a drink, though if we’d wanted to stay in-house, Mary Mary would have made an excellent alternative.
On the recommendation of the team, we chose Tasmanian wines to accompany our fluffy gnocchi and sweet tomato and burrata salad and managed to resist ordering the tiramisu that began to grace our neighbouring tables in comforting, cocoa-crowned dishes.
On the day we were leaving, the clouds that had cloaked the city since our arrival had mercifully lifted, and the curtains which wrapped around our glass-walled room opened up to reveal high blue skies and a still, stone-like harbour.
Breakfast at Peppina is a masterful Italian take on the traditional hotel breakfast: antipasti and cold meats alongside fresh fruit, cured meats, house-smoked trout and Mediterranean-style salads. There are also the classic cooked options, as well as Italian pastries including divinely zingy tagliatelle baked in-house, and delicately piped croissants from Hobart’s famed Pigeon Whole bakery.
After visiting a local yoga studio and exploring the Salamanca markets – both less than five minutes from the hotel on foot – I spent the afternoon writing from The Tasman’s Deco Lounge. I shared the space with hotel guests and locals alike, who were washing down lobster rolls with glasses of champagne and dunking croissants into coffees. The mix of people and occasions seemed to perfectly reflect The Tasman’s approach: accessible but extravagant.
Before I left, I visited Mary Mary for one drink – to ensure I’d sampled the hotel’s drinking and dining trifecta. This final experience was as seamless as the rest: a comforting, warmly lit space and a team that knew exactly what to deliver when asked to recommend their favourites. On the way out, we passed an arched wine cellar where a sommelier was conducting a wine tasting, and I made a mental reservation for next time.