Inspired by and celebrating the site’s previous heyday as the Belvedere Ballroom – which sadly lost out to the multi-level Argyle Street car park in the ’70s – the lobby desk and dining area are divided by a striking gold chain curtain that’s been cleverly printed to display a large-scale original photograph of ballroom guests in their finery.
Emerald-green velvet seating, Art Deco-inspired tiles, and hints of brass and marble lead the eye to a fireplace where butterscotch sofas and grey armchairs sit beneath modern gold chandeliers, setting the stage for a very elegant welcome.
But the history of this CBD block goes back far beyond the Lindy hop and waltz. Archaeological surveys were undertaken in site preparation and unearthed bricks from one of Hobart’s original homesteads, built in the 1820s – the home of the self-proclaimed “Father of Tasmania”, Anthony Fenn Kemp (spot his portrait among the etched metal panels that line the drop-off laneway).
You can run your hands over the thumb imprints left in the bricks by the convicts who toiled so he might build his abode; a column of them flanks the fireplace.
The hotel’s Tasmanian owner, Annalisa Doedens, says, “I genuinely love and feel a connection to those bricks. When you touch them, you feel like you’re transported back to that world.”
Upstairs, the Vibe’s signature apartment-style aesthetic is elevated by hints of Tassie – corridor carpet inspired by the striated sandstone cliffs of Bruny Island, and Tasmanian-made furniture – but taken to luxe heights with floor-to-ceiling windows that beam the River Derwent and eastern shore into your living room.
There are 142 rooms in total, including one- and two-bedroom apartments, through to top-level suites boasting log fireplaces and front-row seats to the Sydney-to-Hobart finish line. Blackout curtains and Dreamcatcher beds ensure a comfortable slumber after absorbing Hobart’s history by day. Unlike other new hotels to pop up in the city in the past two years, stepping out of the lift at level 5 brings you to a heated pool, alongside the gym. Modeled off Kunanyi/Mount Wellington’s Disappearing Tarn (think green waters and charcoal wall tiles inspired by the mountain’s dolerite “Organ Pipes”), it’s a great spot for burning off toddler energy before heading downstairs to dine in the paddock-to-plate Belvedere restaurant.
The 15-storey, 4.5-star hotel – TFE Hotels’ first Vibe lifestyle property in Tasmania – was due to open before the pandemic, but after a fashionably late opening in November 2020, its timing feels as right as a waltz, the image of swishy ball gowns and cocktails served in coupe glasses conjuring up the kind of golden age we’re all yearning for again.
Rooms start at $201.69 per night. vibehotels.com
At 500m from Hobart’s waterfront precinct and so close to Pigeon Whole Bakers you can smell the fresh croissants, this is a cracking spot for a city break.
The apartment-style of some rooms makes the bedroom itself snug but the view from the lounge is mesmerizing. Would love to see refillable amenities instead of minis.
Breakfast in Belvedere is a little confused on Good Friday when I’m there, but all is forgotten with a glass of Josef Chromy sparkling wine later that evening.
In a city ripe with new hotels, Vibe Hobart wins for location, views, and family-friendly rooms. Plus, an excellent dinner at Tom McHugo’s pub is mere steps from your door.
The writer was a guest of Vibe Hotel Hobart. This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com