Weekend Away: Hobart penthouse

A luxury penthouse has guests living the high life at Lenna in Hobart.

THE LOCATION

It's hard to imagine a superior location, if you can afford it, for a stay in Hobart than here. The Tasmanian capital is, arguably along with Sydney, Australia's most naturally attractive city with the expansive Derwent waterway laughably classed as a river. Sure there are more fashionable places these days, such as the Henry Jones Art Hotel, The Islington and the Avalon City Retreat. But the stalwart Lenna's been quietly updating itself in recent years with room refurbishments and, notably, some flash, lavishingly appointed penthouse suites.

THE SPACE

Penthouse by name, penthouse by nature, Lenna's pads, opened in 2006, sit atop the more modern of the hotel's two wings (well, it actually dates to 1973), with 360-degree views of Hobart's waterfront and the 1271-metre-high Mount Wellington from the main glass-encased living room and balcony. Next door to the modern wing is the original sandstone mansion, the National Trust-classified Lenna, dating to 1874.

THE KIT

Little, if any, expense appears to have been spared on Lenna's penthouses. Everything you'd expect is here including a wide-screen TV, super-duper sound system, iPod dock, free Wi-Fi, espresso machine and more. Each of the two bedrooms, faithful to the luxe designer theme, include en suite bathrooms with under-floor heating.

COMFORT FACTOR

Are you kidding? Even Hugh Hefner would feel right at home here (note: management may frown at Playboy bunnies as guests), what with the wraparound glass living space and a spacious balcony, big enough to fit a large outdoor dining table with views looking down across the riverside Princes Park. Once ensconced, the hardest aspect of staying here is psyching oneself to go out and explore the rest of the city, especially as there is a fully equipped kitchen and 24-hour room service from the main hotel.

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FOOD

For a city smaller than even Canberra, Hobart has developed a reputation as a mini-food capital. Lenna sits between Salamanca Place, a row of restored colonial-era warehouses, and its array of restaurants, bars and cafes and historic Battery Point, one of Australia's loveliest inner-city suburbs, where you'll also find plenty of places to eat and drink. Hobart's most hyped restaurant, the cutting-edge Garagistes, was closed during this reviewer's visit but it's walkable from the Lenna. Around in Battery Point consider breakfast at an old favourite, Jackman & McRoss, where, weather-depending, you can take an al fresco table with Mount Wellington looming, Table Mountain-like, above you.

WORTH STEPPING OUT FOR

Try to be in town on a Saturday morning when the famed Salamanca Markets are held. Lenna is at the top end of historic Salamanca Place with the stalls stretching all the way from one of end of the closed-to-traffic street to the other. Be sure to visit the wonderful new Mawson Huts Replica Museum, a faithful re-imagining of the eponymous Australian explorer's Antarctic digs, located at Sullivans Cove.

THE VERDICT

The penthouses at the Lenna may be beyond the budget of many but since they have a minimum of two bedrooms it's possible to split the costs between two couples or families (not suitable for children under 12 and parties and functions are a no-no). That aside, a stay here is a memorable and quality experience even if it's a little at odds with the rest of the property, which feels a tad tired, though some rooms have been refurbished.

HOW TO GET THERE

Lenna of Hobart is between 20 and 30 minutes drive from the airport. Head along the Tasman Highway, across the landmark Tasman Bridge and into the city along Davey Street. Turn left into Murray Street, which becomes Castray Esplanade, then turn right into Salamanca Place and on up to Runnymeade Street. Lenna, which you can't miss, is on the left, atop the hill.

ESSENTIALS

Two bedroom penthouses start from $995 a night, minimum two-night stay (standard queen rooms elsewhere in the hotel start from $190). Lenna of Hobart, corner Runnymeade Street and Salamanca Place, Battery Point, Hobart. Phone 6232 3900. See lenna.com.au.

The writer was a guest of Tourism Tasmania and Lenna of Hobart.

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