When it opened in July 2017 the flamboyant 296-room Ibis Styles was Hobart's largest and most sustainable new hotel. With its vertical gardens and multi-coloured exterior, the Accor property remains a vibrant presence on Macquarie Street. For a modest price, the hotel offers unpretentious guest rooms, a sexy lap pool, enticing Asian street food and a quiet city location.
Although this section of Macquarie Street is hardly the liveliest part of downtown Hobart it does provide easy access to most of the city's major attractions, including Battery Point, Salamanca Place, St David's Park, Constitution Dock and the new-look Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. The Salamanca Markets, held every Saturday, are just around the corner – as is the fast catamaran to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Tasmania's most controversial, but always entertaining, tourist attraction.
With its garish exterior and Miami-inspired reception area, the Ibis Styles Hobart is in stark contrast with the city's Georgian architectural heritage. The hotel, a collaboration between Accor Hotels and the Singapore-based Fragrance Group, is bold, playful and ambitious. Spread over 10 floors the hotel offers a full-size indoor swimming pool, fitness centre, steam rooms, cocktail bar and restaurant. While guest rooms are sedate and functional other areas in the hotel feature bright colours, giant chandeliers and that vertical garden.
If you like to spread out it's worth paying a little extra for a deluxe, harbour-facing room. My 10th floor room was furnished in crisp Scandinavian style with a king-size bed, a blond-wood desk, adjustable reading lamps and sensible drapes to keep out the Tasmanian mornings. Bathrooms are clean, functional and austere – there are no swanky bathtubs in this hotel. Guests cannot order room service, but the restaurant will pack up your order to go. A "grab and go" snack menu operates from 10pm to 6.30am.
In-house dining at most mid-range hotels is pretty nondescript but Ibis Styles has taken a braver route. Its funky south-east Asian-style diner Mr Good Guy is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Choose from a range of share plates, steamed buns, curries and salads. The lamb ribs with tamarind, sesame and cucumber is a winner, but for something a little more adventurous try the wallaby shank massaman curry. The cocktail bar, decorated in industrial chic style, stocks Tasmanian wines, craft beers, whiskies and gins.
This Ibis Styles may be part of Hobart's construction boom, but is happily removed from the city's most touristy precincts around Constitution Dock and Salamanca Place. For a glimpse into Hobart's early European history wander down to Battery Point, a charming 19th century village packed with tasteful shops, cute eateries and unaffordable houses. The Farm Gate Market, held on Bathurst Street every Sunday, is a great place to meet the locals, sip a coffee and pick up supplies for the weekend.
Ibis Styles is a fun and welcoming hotel that works well for just about every type of traveller – even families on a budget.
173 Macquarie Street, Hobart. Rooms from $181 a night. See accorhotels.com
Standard rooms are fine for a monk with one small bag.
The hotel's public spaces bristle with modern design attitude.
Mark Chipperfield was a guest of Tourism Tasmania and Ibis Styles Hobart Hotel.