This hidden gem is Hobart’s best waterfront hotel

The colourful history of the Apple Isle comes to life in Hobart’s slickest harbourside hotel.

Beneath the swish edifice of the meticulously restored MAC 01 wharf is one of Hobart’s most lauded hotels. MACq 01 opened in 2017 and is well known for its unrivalled harbourside setting, award-winning restaurant, and swanky bars. Yet, what truly sets MACq 01 apart is that this is Australia’s first storytelling hotel. Each of the property’s 114 guest rooms showcases the story of a particular Tasmanian character. Immersive tours with MACq 01’s in-house Master Storyteller breathe life into the rich history of Hobart and its most captivating historic inhabitants.

Traveller: Alex Simpson
Room: Superior Waterfront Room
Address: MACq 01 Hotel, 18 Hunter Street, Hobart TAS 7000
Date: August 2023
Price range: $360 – $950
Best for: Couples, families and solo travellers looking to immerse themselves in Hobart’s vibrant gourmet and cultural scene from a central waterside location.

Where is MACq 01 Hotel?

MACq 01 is nestled along the waterside in Hobart’s central Hunter Street Precinct. It is opposite its sibling property The Henry Jones Art Hotel. As Australia’s first storytelling hotel, MACq 01 capitalises on the area’s rich Aboriginal and colonial heritage.

Within a short walk you can find…

MACq 01 enjoys a prime location right next to Hobart’s central business district. The famous Salamanca Market takes place nearby every Saturday from 8:30 am to 3 pm at Salamanca Place. Additionally, the historic Constitution Dock and Brooke Street Pier are conveniently located adjacent to the hotel.

Claim to fame

MACq 01 is deeply rooted in the history of Tasmania and its people. Both serve as the foundation for the property’s concept and design. Each of the hotel’s 114 guest rooms pays homage to genuine historic Tasmanian figures, ranging from indigenous leaders to convict escapees. These have been categorised into five personality types: the fighting believers; the hearty and resilient; the colourful and quirky; the grounded, yet exceptional; and the curious and creative. These character narratives are thoughtfully woven throughout the hotel. They are evident in the antiquities lining the hallways, the engaging tales shared by the hotel’s Master Storytellers, the artworks and artefacts within the guest rooms, and even within the creative culinary offerings of the hotel’s restaurant.

Storytelling tours

MACq 01’s Master Storytellers offer guests three key complimentary storytelling tours. They take place at the hotel, the Hunter Street precinct and along the streets of Hobart’s CBD behind the waterfront. On Hidden Hobart: The Viewfinder Tour, we were guided from Old Wharf to Salamanca Place, stopping at notable points along the way to view contemporary landmarks through retro viewfinders. Offering fascinating glimpses into how Hobart looked 35 to 150 years ago, we discovered some of the city’s sobering secrets of which many locals are blissfully unaware (a Tasmanian coworker was horrified when I revealed that one of Hobart’s most well known parks is also a graveyard).

Viewfinder storytelling tour with a MACq 01 Master Storyteller
MACq 01’s storytelling tour

The showstopper

The impressive MAC 01 wharf complex is the unmistakable aesthetic drawcard of the hotel. Top floor guest suites and their impressive open-air roof terraces enjoy sweeping views across Hobart’s waterfront. The other south-facing guest rooms and facilities also enjoy uninterrupted water views.

Is MACq 01 Hotel family friendly?

All guest rooms at MACq 01 are generously sized and complimentary cots are available on request. For families with older children, larger guest rooms, including Superior Hunter Rooms, Superior Waterfront Rooms, Executive Corner Suites and Premium Waterfront Suites have space to accommodate an additional single or double bed. The hotel also has two interconnecting room options.

Superior Waterfront Room

Our spacious Superior Waterfront Room features slick, contemporary furnishings and finishes. Floor-to-ceiling windows and a balcony by the lounge area offer stunning views over the water, Hobart’s CBD and beyond to towering Mount Wellington. As previously mentioned, each guest room in MACq 01 celebrates a notable character in Tasmania’s history. Our room pays homage to Henry Savery, a convict and the author of Australia’s first novel. A glass-encased recess by the front door contained a quill, an ink jar and a page from Savery’s original writings.

Our open-plan bathroom, replete with a freestanding bathtub and amenities by Appelles, was accessed through a stylishly designed and generously sized walk-in wardrobe. The heavenly mattress on our king-size bed was made by A.H. Beard, a Tasmanian brand, and can be purchased separately. On the bedside table, guests are invited to order pillows from an impressive menu with options including body length, memory contour, feather and down, low profile and latex.

Superior Waterfront Room at MACq 01 © Adam Gibson

Beyond the guest rooms at MACq 01 Hotel

Guests are greeted by an impressive central fireplace and circular lounge area upon entering MACq 01. From here the hotel’s other facilities radiate on either side of the reception, all with direct access to a waterfront deck, including Old Wharf Restaurant, the Story Bar and one of Tasmania’s most award-winning spirits bars.

MACq 01 also features a gym and a convenient self-serve laundry. Guests have access to complimentary valet parking throughout their stay and the hotel’s immersive Storytelling Tours depart from reception daily.

MACq 01’s waterfront deck
MACq 01’s waterfront deck

Dining at Old Wharf

MACq 01’s hallmark restaurant Old Wharf is headed up by chef Alvin Sim and is open for breakfast and dinner. In the evening, the restaurant and the entire MAC 01 wharf transform into a vibrant nightlife hub. Far exceeding the expectations of a typical hotel restaurant, Old Wharf is a destination in its own right. We enjoyed a three-course dinner of refined Tasmanian fare with our neighbours celebrating a birthday on one side, and a first date on the other. To begin, we relished fresh oysters from Bruny Island served with a piquant mignonette sauce of red wine vinegar, golden shallots and chives. To follow, and our favourite dish of the evening was a Huon smoked salmon rillette seasoned with creme fraiche, chives, cornichons, shallots, capers, roe, and served with housemade lavosh. For mains, we ordered off the grill, sharing a hearty Tasmanian pork cutlet from Scottsdale served with a celeriac puree and Wild Clover lamb rump accompanied by mint salsa verde. Each main from the grill included a side dish and we opted for local greens and moreish crispy fried Huon potatoes. At Old Wharf, you’ll experience the best of Tasmania’s excellent produce from sea to paddock. You certainly won’t leave hungry. 

Evolve Spirits Bar

On a recent visit to Australia, Natalie Portman stopped by to enjoy a tipple at Evolve Spirits Bar. Evolve Spirits Bar is an intimate space with a jaw-dropping whiskey menu and a glass-cased spirits library where regulars store their most cherished drops. The bar was awarded Hotel Bar of the Year in 2019 and 2021 and Tasmania’s Bar of the Year in 2019. The bar’s sunken seating area beckons you to linger a little longer while enjoying your spirit of choice away from the glare of a paparazzo’s lenses. 

Evolve Spirits Bar
Evolve Spirits Bar

Before booking…

Hobart has plenty to offer both in the warmer and colder months, making MACq 01 ideal for short weekends away. If you’re looking to visit at the end of June, be sure to book well in advance, as Dark Mofo, MONA’s annual mid-winter arts and culture festival, takes place at this time. Midweek is well suited to last-minute stays with flights and accommodation most readily available on short notice during these times. A number of package deals, including discounts for longer stays and discounts for booking direct, are available when guests book their stay through the MACq 01 Hotel website.

Insiders’ tips

For those looking to stay at MACq 01 at the start or end of a larger holiday through Tasmania, complimentary valet parking is available for your rental car, and if you’ve been hiking through the Apple Isle, a convenient self-serve laundry is also available for use by all guests.

Staying in at MACq 01 Hotel

MACq 01 offers guests complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. Guest rooms include in-room games, well-stocked minibars, Nespresso machines and flat-screen 55” TVs. In-room dining and massage are also available. Outside your room, guests can work out at the hotel gym and a lavish breakfast buffet with à la carte hot dishes is served in Old Wharf each morning. The Lavada Day Spa, located in the IXL Courtyard across the road, offers a range of services to MACq 01 guests at extra cost.

Stepping out: things to do in Hobart

Central Hobart’s best restaurants and attractions are within walking distance of MACq 01. Further afield, guests can also book a number of experiences through the hotel. Try e-bike day trips, a Port Davey cruise, Maria Island guided walking tours and seaplane expeditions.  Constitution Dock and Brooke Street Pier are situated next to the hotel, and from here, guests can embark on a number of day tours to landmark sites in Hobart and beyond such as the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Mount Wellington, Port Arthur and Bruny Island.

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Where to find it

MACq 01 Hotel is found in the MAC 01 wharf complex at 18 Hunter Street, opposite The Henry Jones Art Hotel in Hobart’s historic Hunter Street Precinct.

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