Hobart’s harbour once stood witness to privation and penance. Now, the embodiment of an industrial golden age has melded with edgy embellishments to forge a haven of thoughtful pleasures amidst Australia’s most walkable city.
Ah, if these 1-metre-thick sandstone walls could talk they’d reverberate, most likely, with raucous shouts of whalers and exhausted curses of convicts.
Fast forward to the new millennium and the erstwhile IXL jam factory has been reborn as Australia’s first dedicated Art Hotel – Hobart’s Henry Jones.
To stay at this heritage- listed icon is to relive an era of ‘jobs for life’ and workdays commencing with compulsory bible study and hymns.
When the 6 co-joined buildings – dating from 1826 – were rescued from dereliction, gritty layers of poignant narrative were treated with reverence.
Quirks such as loose bricks, varying floor levels, found horseshoes, reminders of student squat days, and the original corrugated iron roof (delightful in the rain) contribute to an experience which, whilst sensual and soulful, has you occasionally wondering if you’ll need a hard hat.
Whilst sumptuous stone walls and saw-marked, super-sized beams feature throughout, in some suites, machine skeletons – with grease intact- stand as they did when tools were downed.
Each suite is unique and is enlivened with comforting touches such as throws, ottomans and chill defying colours – think shades of pinot, honey and, fittingly, orange marmalade.
Suites and public areas are adorned with inventively edited displays of Tasmanian artworks – rendering a Henry Jones sojourn akin to sleeping in a top national gallery.
Each evening, the resident art curator and historian lead a fascinating tour – well worth prizing yourself away from the transfixing views of the working harbour and Mt Wellington’s snowy peak.
The Henry Jones Art Hotel