Worth getting out of bed for
There's no need to leave entertainment one-stop shop MONA Pavilions, so lap up the remote riverside feel away from inner-city Hobart. Take a Moorilla winery or Moo Brew microbrewery tour on site, check out the free Cellar Door tastings, hit the heated swimming pool and sauna, or order a soothing massage in the privacy of your apartment-style room (there isn't a spa here, but you won't miss one).
MONA also hosts regular workshops, embracing beer and tapas, cheese and wine, beer and dessert and even songwriting, although you'll need to register in advance and pay extra for these. Other events in the pipeline include MONA Quiz Night, Urban Farm (a chance to sample and buy fresh regional produce from local farmers' markets) and Manicures, Martinis and Massages, girlie get-togethers teaming pampering with cocktails which would suit a hen night or all-female stay here.
Save a day to visit the adjacent Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), carved out of a dramatic cliffside site beside the Ether reception building (you can beat the queues by booking your entry ticket online). Offering a secular temple to Australian and global art through the ages, it's home to a controversial, high-impact collection, including digital mummies and real Egyptian ones, as well as 'Cloaca Professional', a jaw-dropping machine that replicates the human digestive system. Designed by Melbourne firm Fender Katsalidis Architects (who also created the hotel's four newest residential pavilions), it's on a par with the scale of Adelaide's Art Gallery of South Australia and Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art, and has become a major draw-card for Hobart. Interactive iPod O guides explain the works on show and allow you to save your museum tour to your email account, so you can download visual highlights at home. Refuel while you get your art fix at the airy Café by the entrance and shop, downstairs at the Void Bar or in the nearby Wine Bar above ground. Don't miss the concrete Casket back at the hotel, a quirky wunderkammer display pod offering a microcosmic taste of the art and ancient artifacts on show in the MONA museum. We love the way it opens seductively as you approach.
Staff and concierge services can pretty much make anything happen for you here, as the tongue-in-cheek room compendium suggests. 'Please see reception if you're planning a pool party or ritualistic orgy', jokes the blurb. And when it comes to travel experiences, it jests, 'We can arrange pretty much anything legal. Jusk ask.'
If you're staying over a Saturday, it's worth checking out the Salamanca Market on Salamanca Place in Hobart's historic quarter, where over 300 stalls sell local produce, delicious snacks, crafts and fleakmarket treasures. For a scenic journey, take MONA's boat there and back along the river (you can book tickets in advance for the 30-minute ride).
With gorgeous hotel restaurant the Source on your doorstep, and the sexy synergy here between food, art and own-label wine and beer, you may not want to venture further afield to dine. We recommend taking advantage of your in-room fully kitted-out kitchen and Moorilla wine stash too (you can order in any condiments you need if you want to cook for yourself), as private dining in your lounge or breakfasting out on the deck with river views is a real treat.
In you fancy getting out into town, though, MONA recommends Monty's on Montpellier (37 Montpellier Retreat, Battery Point; +61 (0)3 6223 2511; www.montys.com.au), which is strong on local fish, meat and wine, sleekly modern Smolt (2 Salamanca Square; +61 (0)3 6224 2554; www.smolt.com.au) and Chinese restaurant Mee Wah (16 Magnet Court, Sandy Bay Drive, Sandy Bay; +61 (0)3 6223 3688; www.mewah.com.au). Alternatively, check out Piccolo (323a Elizabeth Street; +61 (0)3 6234 4844), closer by in North Hobart, which dishes up seasonal Tassie fare.
If you're staying over on a Friday, take advantage of the Moo Brew microbrewery tours at 2pm. Brewery Night kicks in afterwards from 5pm, so you can savour the flavours out on the terrace at adjacent Source restaurant. There are four regular beers and two special releases on tap and in bottles. No preservatives, no additives, but loads of attitude.
January Look out for MONA FOMA (www.mofo.net.au), an eclectic, edgy arts festival held over several weeks of the month which MONA supports. Events, many of which are free, are spread across central Hobart, from the wharfside to the Theatre Royal, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, and the popular Salamanca Arts Centre. Expect music, arts, oddness and more, plus MONA sideshows throughout summer (December–February) and beyond (www.moorilla.com.au/events).
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Smith extra at MONA Pavilions
A private Cellar Door tasting and a bottle of Muse Series wine
From the Guestbook…
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