The Henry Jones Art Hotel, Hobart review: Weekend Away

Read our writer's views on this property below

Craig Platt samples the gentle art of a HOBART break.

THE SETTING

Hobart has undergone an art-led revival in recent years, mainly thanks to the popularity of the eccentric Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), which is now Tasmania's second most popular tourist attraction. But the Henry Jones Art Hotel, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year, also plays its part with more than 300 artworks throughout the former jam factory's communal spaces and 56 rooms.

THE SPACE

The history of the Henry Jones site, located on the Hobart waterfront, dates back to 1825, though it became a jam factory in 1869. The block of sandstone buildings that comprise the Henry Jones maintain the building's classic facade (including the Jam Company signage) but inside it's sleek, modern and minimalist.

At the rear, an addition to the original building, are the "artist's studio lofts" - two-level rooms equipped with kitchenettes that offer a self-contained apartment feel, though they lack the charm of the original rooms.

A large, bright atrium sits behind the main building and is a great space to unwind with a hot drink.

THE KIT

My loft suite offers a large living space with sofa, breakfast table and large television with DVD player on the lower level, as well as the aforementioned kitchenette (tucked away out of sight in an alcove). The bathroom is also on this level. Upstairs on the mezzanine is the king-size bed with a wall-mounted television. In keeping with the hotel's name, all rooms feature original contemporary artworks from Tasmanian artists.

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COMFORT FACTOR

There's plenty of space to relax on the lower level after making yourself a cup of tea in the kitchenette. The upstairs television lends itself to relaxed viewing from the comfortable bed. The downside is the bathroom - it's a little on the narrow side and there's no bath. The loft suites are bright but the views leave a little to be desired - it's either the corrugated rooftop of the hotel atrium on one side or an alleyway and carpark on the other.

THE FOOD

The hotel's own restaurant, Henry's, offers quality fare from local ingredients as well as an excellent breakfast menu. Next door, the Jam Packed Cafe lives up to its name, proving popular with both guests and the general public, who can take a seat in the atrium.

More importantly, the hotel's Tasmania-renowned IXL Long Bar is tended by Niall Maurici, an award-winning mixologist who in March competed as one of five finalists in the Bacardi Legacy national cocktail competition in Melbourne.

Outside the Henry Jones, the Hobart waterfront is filled with seafood dining options featuring the freshest produce.

Flippers, a floating fish and chip shop moored by Constitution Dock, may be a bit on the pricey side but the food can't be faulted.

WORTH STEPPING OUT FOR

With its prime location, the Henry Jones is a perfect spot for exploring the Hobart waterfront and is a short walk from the popular Salamanca Markets (open Saturdays 8am-3pm). Aside from the arts and crafts, it's worth sampling some of the local Tasmanian whisky here or picking up a scallop pie.

The hotel is also right next to the pick up point for the Mona Roma ferry, which will transport you to MONA. The scenic journey takes 30 minutes and the ferry departs roughly once an hour from 9.30am to 5.30pm.

No visit to Hobart is complete these days without visiting David Walsh's spectacular modern art gallery - MONA will delight, surprise and, occasionally, shock visitors.

VERDICT

Terrific location, beautiful building, fascinating history. It's not cheap and the interior rooms are preferable to the lofts, but it's still one of the finest places to stay.

GETTING THERE

The Henry Jones Art Hotel is located at 25 Hunter Street on the waterfront. From Hobart Airport take the A3 into town, turning left at Evans Street, which then loops right into Hunter. The hotel offers valet parking.

ESSENTIALS

The Henry Jones Art Hotel, 25 Hunter Street, Hobart, Tasmania. Rooms start from $280 a night for a standard room. Wi-Fi access is included. For details and accommodation packages see thehenryjones.com

The writer travelled as a guest of Tourism Tasmania.