Sunday, 13 April 2014

A little slice of Launceston luxury

Launceston is a delightful city - the gateway to the Tamar Valley and full of historic buildings and beautiful parks. 

Settled in 1806, Launceston is one of Australia's oldest cities and was named after Launceston in Cornwall. There are many well-preserved Victorian and Georgian homes.
It retains a very English feel and moves at the pace of country town. Locals and visitors alike enjoy a mix of top-notch eateries like Stillwater, Black Cow Bistro and Novaro's as well as many charming cafes (head to the Charles Street precinct for some of the best). 

Spectacular Cataract Gorge, with its chairlift rides, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery and City park with its Japanese macaque monkeys are all popular leisure destinations.

Tasmania's second-largest city, often overshadowed by Hobart, is at the junction of the North Esk and South Esk Rivers, where they join to become the Tamar River, as is arguably the city's best hotel.

I've stayed at Peppers Seaport (above) several times, most recently a couple of weeks ago, and always been impressed by its dramatic setting overlooking the water - but less so by the staff, some of whom have been a little, shall we say, sharp and distracted.

Not so on my most recent visit when the service could not have been better, even though I was mysteriously allocated a disabled person's suite, suitable for someone in a wheelchair.

No matter. The suite had spectacular marina views and was spacious and well equipped with iPod dock, satellite TV and wi-fi capability. Some guests get complimentary wi-fi. 

Just a short walk from Launceston town centre and 15 minutes drive from Launceston Airport the hotel is built in the shape of a ship on the site of an old dry dock. 

And the accommodation is very stylish. You can pick up a luxury marina view suite on internet booking sights for around $260 - which is great value - and other rooms and suites are even more affordable with city view rooms starting from around $169.

Mud Bar and Restaurant, now run by former Stillwater chef Don Cameron, is part of the same complex and the waterfront Seaport strip with its cafes and eateries (including a fish and chippery) is just a few paces away. 

The hotel gives guests a voucher for their car window to prevent parking issues and is 15 minutes' drive from both Launceston Airport and the start of the Tamar Valley Wine Route. 

Peppers Seaport Hotel, 28 Seaport Boulevard, Launceston. (03) 6345 3333. www.peppers.com.au/seaport 

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