Sydney likes to claim its place as Australia's prettiest harbour city, but when the curtains pull back on the Pavilion suite in The Tasman, nipaluna/Hobart, the view across Salamanca, Battery Point and the Derwent River sparkling beyond makes a person rethink its default position. Under construction since 2015, the Tasman is Australia's first entry into Mariott's Luxury Collection, joining the global shortlist of 110 hotels across 30 countries that includes the Gritti Palace in Venice and Matild Palace in Budapest.
Built over the bones of a former hospital first constructed in 1847, the Heritage-listed hotel takes an archeological approach to conservation. Architect FJMT, alongside advisors from Design 5 and Joseph Pang Design Consultants have constructed a temporal layer-cake that emphasises the building's original sandstone walls, contemporarily framed by angular glass, blackwood and steel.
Its layout is cleverly divided between three distinct periods: Heritage, which fuses the exposed masonry and restored fireplaces of the original Georgian structure with custom furnishings; Art Deco, which sensitively update the trim of its 1937 wing with Frette bed linen and marble bench-tops, while the Pavilion wing is an all-new structure, whose suites offer startling views of Hobart's waterfront through floor-to-ceiling glass.
Sustainability was front-of-mind in its design, with the hotel featuring a dedicated green-waste system and its own kitchen gardens.
Each of the Tasman's 152 rooms are impeccably appointed, with custom artwork and local flourishes, which quite literally reach their peak in the St. David's Park Suite, with its handcrafted ceiling hewn from Baltic Pine echoing the form of an inverted boat. The Aurora Suite, on the top floor of the modern wing, has a private rooftop terrace with its own glass fire-pit and a freestanding island bath.
Even if you aren't staying in the penthouse, the littler details the Tasman offers as part of your stay will make anyone feel adequately spoilt: bath products come from artisanal producers Beauty and the Bees and Grown Alchemist, and the minibar is stocked with local refreshments from Moo Brew and Lark.
Central to the Tasman's place in the city are its restaurant and bar, which have been enthusiastically embraced by Hobart's populous. Overseen by executive chef Massimo Mele, Peppina riffs on Italian by way of Tasmanian produce. Freshly-shucked Bruny Island oysters nestle comfortably alongside real-deal San Danielle, while baked scallops are dressed in almond, chilli and garlic butter. Handmade pasta is Mele's specialty, with his signature Paccheri featuring long ribbons of al dente noodles under a melange of slow-cooked wagyu and pork belly ragu. A humbler dish that's no less satisfying is the anchovy toast, which pairs horseradish and Oritz fish on freshly-baked bread.
In a dimly-lit room nextdoor is Mary Mary, The Tasman's in-house bar. Though the list provides an extensive tour of both Tasmanian and Italian wine, try the Corpse Reviver 2b, which is both smoky and fresh via its combination of Three Cuts gin, Lillet, Dry Curacao and Lemon. Snacks are also on offer from the kitchen next door, including the flame-grilled lamb skewers and the pizza fritta, which comes slathered in garlic and chilli.
What really makes staying at the Tasman a top-tier experience is the warm professionalism of its staff. Led by chief concierge, James Nobleza, his team is a mix of Tasmanian natives and international drafts, all of whom radiate a warm professionalism from the moment you pass under the hotel's sandstone arch. Waitstaff, bartenders and sommelier in its hospitality offering are both knowledgable and entertaining, making the subtle difference between a satisfying hotel experience and a memorable one.
This article was first published in Luxury Travel Magazine