Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Luxury on a pauper's budget: Hobart's latest accommodation star

Is it a hotel? Not really. Is it a guesthouse? Not exactly. Is it a hostel? Well not like any hostel you've stayed in before.

Rose Flynn and Antony Langdon, the young owners of Hobart's newest chic accommodation offering, call their new property Montacute Boutique Bunkhouse. 
Picture: Nick Osborne 


Open just a week, it has been described as being perfect for those with Champagne tastes on a beer budget.

A beautifully restored 1895 mansion in the suburb of Battery Point (with an extension built in 1910), Montacute has delightful gardens, plenty of car parking and is within walking distance of both Salamanca Place and downtown Hobart. 

From the outside it looks gracious; and inside is a revelation with recent renovations and some tasteful decorating resulting in what looks like a chic, boutique hotel with lovely lounges, verandahs and nooks and crannies. 

The bedrooms, too, are simple but delightful. All feature beds with crisp cotton linen, duvets, woollen blankets and fluff pillows with reading lamps and power points for all and free wi-fi throughout the property. 

So how, then, can double rooms in this delightful establishment cost just $50 per person per night? And shared room with bunks (ideal for backpackers or groups of children) cost just $40 per person? 

The answer is that none of the rooms have en suite bathrooms; all washing facilities are shared. 

Which Langdon and Flynn don't see as an issue for most of their guests.

"Since we've opened we've found a lot of people would prefer to save a couple of hundred dollars a night on accommodation and spend that money enjoying Hobart's many gourmet offerings," they say. 

There is nothing wrong with the bathrooms. They are modern and impeccably clean. And unless Montacute is full to capacity there should be no issues with waiting for a shower or to brush your teeth. 

So Montacute is luxurious and welcoming - and brilliantly situated - if you are willing to compromise on having your own facilities.

Cooking facilities include a spacious kitchen with a range of appliances like microwaves and sandwich makers, crockery, cutlery, pots and pans and plenty of fridge and freezer space for those who wish to self cater, although there are also several good takeaway food outlets in the neighbourhood. 

There is a long dining table, and tables for two on the upper and lower balconies, as well as outdoor tables with umbrellas and picnic rugs for those who want to laze on the lawn with a glass of Tasmanian pinot noir (Montacute is BYO right now but plans a wine list focusing on local producers).

The bunkhouse hires out brand new bicycles for $25 a day, or $20 after 1pm and also organizes a range of excursions to the likes of the Huon and the Derwent valleys. 

I can see many people in rural Tasmania using it as an overnight accommodation option after attending the theatre or a concert in Hobart. But they might have to fight off canny interstate and overseas visitors for a room, or bunk.

Montacute Boutique Bunkhouse, 1 Stowell Avenue, Battery Point. Hobart. (03) 6212 0474. www.montacute.com.au. 

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