Hobart’s historic Islington Hotel a rare jewel in hotel market
Set discreetly behind high walls and a security gate, South Hobart’s Islington Hotel has offered guests with a penchant for art, architecture and fine food, a private urban sanctuary for 17 years.
Built in 1847 as a private country home in a Regency architectural style, it was purchased by business partners John Goodyear and David Meredith in 2003, after they had both spent years working away on the mainland and overseas.
Returning home to the Apple Isle in the early 2000s, David was shocked at Hobart’s transformation.
“I came back to resettle and thought ‘this place is fantastic, this is where everyone will want to be in the future’,” he says.
“It was just a magical place with the quality of the food and lifestyle. The problem was I couldn’t find anywhere to stay.”
The Henry Jones Art Hotel was under construction and inquiries to Tourism Tasmania confirmed David’s intuition – there was space in the market and demand for a luxury hotel.
Previously a bed and breakfast, pre-eminent heritage architect Robert Morris-Nunn was tasked with implementing David and John’s vision for an “urban lodge”.
“It was his genius to put the atrium at the heart of the house,” David says.
“I recall him saying the key was not to build a facsimile of Regency House but to create a transition between the old and new, a core that linked the two spaces.”
That core became the massive sandstone-and-glass conservatory that has become the Islington’s signature, with a central fireplace, year-round sunlight and stunning views of Mt Wellington.
The 11-room house, furnished with art and furnishings collected over many years, has attracted high profile guests and won dozens of coveted industry awards, both nationally and internationally.
It’s with a heavy heart the duo have listed the property for sale, with Colliers International National Hotels director Karen Wales conducting an expressions of interest campaign which closes on September 25.
“COVID has not helped at all but everyone in the industry is in the same position,” David says.
“That was not the reason for selling. We’re looking at doing other things, we have a distillery developing Tasmanian whisky and a Tasmanian Fresh business, which exports fresh produce into Hong Kong. The plan is to expand that business into South East Asia in the next year.”
Having spent two weeks out of every month commuting between Hong Kong and Tasmania before the border closed on March 8, David says it was time the property was passed on to someone else who would cherish the opportunity to own it.
“It’s a very manageable property, it could be managed by a couple or we’ve got some great people who work in the hotel who love it and they would be able to continue with a new owner,” he says.
“There’s only so much time you can devote to something and it’s time to let go.”
No.321 Davey Street, South Hobart is listed with Colliers International Sydney.
Contact agent for pricing guidance.
This article from The Mercury originally appeared as “Few Tassie hotels compare to the prestigious Islington”.