We could have been admiring azalea shrubs in bloom or breathing in the fresh sea breeze from the wharf.
Instead we are listening to Lucy, the storyteller from MACq 01 Hotel in Hobart.
Lucy, the bright-eyed local girl, is regaling us with wondrous stories about the early immigrants to Tasmania, many of whom were Irish women and their kids, kept incarcerated and confined in quarters close to where MACq 01 now stands.
Outside the side entrance to the hotel are life-sized sculptures of these early immigrants, testament to the local area’s history.
Welcome to the storytelling, upmarket, waterfront MACq 01 hotel in Hobart by the Derwent River.
The storytelling tours are complimentary for hotel guests where a retro viewfinder is distributed to each person attending the tour.
As Lucy unveils the hidden haunts and hangouts of former, convict immigrants, she tells us to take a look at the viewfinder for a glimpse of what life was like then. Single immigrant women were often employed as domestic servants while skilled men with young children were given jobs as mechanics and agricultural labourers.
In similar vein, all 114 rooms and suites at the hotel are named after local indigenous people, explorers, convicts and heroes and tells the story of each character with a unique illustration on every door and artefacts relating to that character displayed inside the room.
Even the cocktails served at the hotel’s Story Bar have a tale to tell about each drink from the local draught beer to the very best wine and spirit concoctions.
And the menu at hotel’s Old Wharf Restaurant has been inspired by the early industries of whaling and farming and the reception lounge centres around an open and cosy fireplace reflecting Tassie’s indigenous heritage with displays of extraordinary artefacts dating centuries back.
MACq 01 is a storytelling hotel occupying the best real estate in Hobart with front row seats to the vast River Derwent, against a backdrop of the dramatic, snow-tipped Mount Wellington. Its waterfront position surrounded by fishing boats and convict-built sandstone warehouse was once the working area of Hunter Island, connected to Sullivan’s Cove by a narrow causeway.
Today, the precinct is known as Hunter Street and the neighbourhood boasts some of Hobart’s renowned restaurants and cafes. The weekend Salamanca Market is a short walk away. If you fancy a quick snack on the wharf, there’s a popular fish and chips shop selling excellent grilled salmon from the Huon Valley.
We stayed at Rodney Croome suite, on the top level, a 60sqm premium waterfront suite with a huge terrace with a view to die for. It overlooks the seafront and fishing vessels and has been carefully designed to reflect a “relaxed luxury’’ with comfy sofas, a king bed with Egyptian cotton sheets and a generous-sized bathroom with two wash basins, a bath, separate rain shower, spacious, walk-in wardrobes and underfloor heating – what bliss.
Even the hotel’s two lifts are storytelling elevators – instead of the usual ersatz music, they tell stories of the local area.
It’s all about location, location and location and you can’t get a better address than at MACq 01. The cool hotel also serves yummy breakfast including baked eggs. It will be our choice of hotel when we next visit Hobart.
Prices for premium waterfront suites start from $680 per night including breakfast while entry point rooms cost from $360 per night.
To book a stay, visit: www.macq01.com.au
For storytelling tours visit: MACq 01 Storytelling Tours