The Henry Jones Art Hotel, Hobart review

Australia’s first dedicated art hotel offers a unique fusion of history, design and indulgence from its prime position on Hobart’s harbourside.

The Henry Jones Art Hotel endures as one of Hobart’s most iconic hotels. It offers an inimitable fusion of Australian history, Tasmanian art, deluxe accommodation and fine dining within its storied sandstone walls.

The hotel today occupies a cluster of historic buildings that once served as the global IXL Jams headquarters and factory. Founded by George and Margaret Peacock in 1874, this thriving enterprise evolved into a major player in the global jam export industry. However, it was under the astute stewardship of Henry Jones, one of Tasmania’s most successful business magnates, that the company achieved its zenith.

Following the factory’s closure in the early 1970s, it languished in a state of disrepair until 2000, when Robert Morris-Nunn embarked on a visionary transformation. The result: Australia’s first dedicated art hotel. Opening its doors in 2004 as The Henry Jones Art Hotel. Ideally situated on Hobart’s waterfront in the coveted Hunter Street Precinct, the hotel is both inviting and exclusive, with just 56 guest rooms.

The Henry Jones Art Hotel
Image courtesy of The Henry Jones Art Hotel

Traveller: Alex Simpson
Room: Deluxe Spa Harbour View Room
Address: The Henry Jones Art Hotel, 25 Hunter Street, Hobart TAS 7000
Date: August 2023
Price range $320 – $980 per night
Best for: A luxury Hobart stay with exceptional art, history and fine dining at your fingertips.

Where is The Henry Jones Art Hotel?

The Henry Jones Art Hotel is centrally located in the heart of Hobart’s historic Hunter Street Precinct. The hotel has direct waterfront views over the city’s charming working harbour docks.

Image courtesy of The Henry Jones Art Hotel
Image courtesy of The Henry Jones Art Hotel

Within a short walk you can find…

Hobart’s CBD and cultural sites are on The Henry Jones’ doorstep. The famous Salamanca Market is a short stroll away across the picturesque waterfront. The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is a 15-minute drive from the hotel. Mount Wellington and the Bruny Island ferry can both be reached within 30 minutes. The Henry Jones’ modern sister hotel MACq 01, Australia’s first storytelling hotel, is found across the road in the impressive MAC 01 Wharf Complex.

Claim to fame

The hotel’s art collection and the layered history of the property are symbiotic. The Henry Jones’ 400 pieces of contemporary Tasmanian art are displayed throughout the hotel and guest rooms, and all are for sale, with information and pricing displayed on the side of each work. Some art in the foyer, and the unrivalled John Glover collection in the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, Landscape, are permanent.

Image courtesy of The Henry Jones Art Hotel
Image courtesy of The Henry Jones Art Hotel

The Henry Jones Art & History Tours

The hotel’s expert art curator, Tina Zucco, takes me on a fascinating journey through time. We explore each artwork’s backstory and the property’s rich history, from its establishment as a jam factory in 1874 to its rebirth as Australia’s first art hotel. Throughout my stay, each time I returned to my room, I often took deliberately indirect routes dawdling through the hallways, marvelling at the artworks and noticing new details each time I viewed them. The result was an average commute of 30 minutes from the hotel’s reception to my room. Art tours are conducted most days at 4pm and begin with a welcome drink. Tours are complimentary for in-house guests and $20 per person for external guests. 

The showstopper

The art collection, the artist-in-residence program and the history of the IXL buildings are undoubtedly the preeminent drawcards for a stay at The Henry Jones Art Hotel. At the start of our art and history tour, we began by passing the grand staircase, which in the past served as the intimidating entrance to Henry Jones’ head office. Tina then led us into Landscape, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, where we were seduced by the enchanting works of John Glover. His art offers romantic depictions of Tasmanian life in the 19th century. To follow, we were guided into Landscape’s private dining room, where a striking series of contemporary artworks adorned the walls on all sides, each a winner of the Glover Art Prize. This beautiful series of curated spaces offered a full-circle taste of Tasmania’s finest art spanning two centuries.

The Henry Jones Art Hotel sponsors two art prizes each year: the Henry Jones Art Prize and the Glover Art Prize. The Henry Jones Art Prize offers $20,000 to up-and-coming Tasmanian artists in painting and mixed media. While the Glover Art Prize awards $75,000 to the best contemporary landscape painting of Tasmania. The award winners also have the opportunity to exhibit their works in the hotel.

Is The Henry Jones Art Hotel family-friendly?

The hotel is best suited to families with older children. Complimentary cots or single rollaway beds can be placed in some rooms. The hotel’s Peacock Terrace features two bedrooms split over two floors. Connected by Tasmania’s earliest spiral staircase, this infamous space was once the living quarters of Sir Henry Jones and his family.

Deluxe Spa Harbour View Room

Each guest room at The Henry Jones Art Hotel is uniquely designed to celebrate and enhance the buildings’ original features. Large modern bathrooms are integrated into each space as a separate pod. My Deluxe Spa Harbour View room is incredibly roomy, with a separate lounge area overlooking the waterfront. The art in each guest room is for sale, and works from Wabi-Sabi Bones by Steph Houstein, adorned the walls of the room. The plantation shutters provide block out darkness, which makes for a very relaxing sleep-in. And it was particularly heavenly to thaw out in the Kohler elliptical spa bath, with bath salts and products by Appelles, after a day spent on the glacial open waters of Bruny Island visiting its gargantuan sea cliffs and resident Australian fur seals.

Image courtesy of The Henry Jones Art Hotel
Image courtesy of The Henry Jones Art Hotel

Beyond the guest rooms at The Henry Jones Art Hotel

Aside from one of Tasmania’s most dynamic art galleries, The Henry Jones Art Hotel is also home to two celebrated restaurants, an intimate cocktail bar, a guest lounge and a small gym.

Landscape Restaurant & Grill serves locally produced fine dining fare. The restaurant features dishes from its Asado Grill among a captivating series of John Glover paintings that capture the life and beauty of colonial Tasmania in the 19th century. Peacock and Jones offers relaxed dining with tasting plates featuring the finest locally harvested ingredients. The IXL Long Bar is found off the hotel’s reception and has an extensive wine, spirits and cocktails menu.

Valet parking and a self-serve laundry are available free of charge to all guests – the latter of which is particularly convenient if you are an avid hiker or bushwalker.

Landscape Restaurant & Grill

Dinner at The Henry Jones’ fine dining restaurant is a reverent affair. The space is defined by its arresting John Glover landscape paintings, the largest of which I am seated next to. In the monastic company of scenes from 19th century Tasmania, we began our three courses with a dozen freshly shucked oysters, six with smoked dashi dressing, daikon and chilli, and six grilled with tomato, pancetta and garlic. With our appetites whet for Tasmania’s excellent seafood, we continued with an entree of char-grilled Stanley octopus, served with sweet potato, harissa and parsley. And for mains, we ordered off the Asado grill, savouring grass-fed Scotch Fillets from Cape Grim accompanied by broccolini and mouthwatering triple-cooked duck fat potatoes. Following dinner, we retraced the steps of the art tour and relished the hotel’s contemporary artworks en route to our guest room on the second floor.

Before booking…

The Henry Jones Art Hotel only has 56 guest rooms, so if you’re looking to visit on the weekend or at the end of June, be sure to book well in advance. Dark Mofo, MONA’s annual mid-winter arts and culture festival, takes place at the end of June. 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 booking direct, are available when guests book their stay through The Henry Jones Art Hotel website.

Insiders’ tips

For those looking to stay at The Henry Jones Art Hotel at the start or end of a larger holiday through Tasmania, complimentary valet parking is available for your hire car. If you’ve been hiking through the Apple Isle, a convenient self-serve laundry is also available for use by all guests. You can also see the hotel’s full art catalogue online before visiting.

Staying in at The Henry Jones Art Hotel

The Henry Jones Art Hotel offers guests complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. Guest rooms include original Tasmanian artworks, well-stocked minibars, Nespresso machines, LED TVs with chrome casting capabilities, and in-room dining is available. Outside your room, guests can workout at the hotel’s I Excel Gym and breakfast is served in The Lounge each morning.

Stepping out: things to do in Hobart

Central Hobart’s best restaurants and attractions are within walking distance of The Henry Jones Art Hotel. Further afield, guests can also book a number of experiences through the hotel concierge. These include day trips to MONA, a Port Davey cruise, a Cascade Brewery visit and seaplane expeditions.  Constitution Dock and Brooke Street Pier are also situated next to the hotel. From here, guests can embark on a number of day tours to landmark sites in Hobart and beyond, such as Mount Wellington, Port Arthur and Bruny Island.

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Where to find it

The Henry Jones Art Hotel is found at 25 Hunter Street, opposite MACq 01 Hotel and the MAC 01 Wharf Complex, in Hobart’s historic Hunter Street Precinct.

Find out more at thehenryjones.com

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