The Henry Jones Art Hotel
Discover some of Tassie's best art, historical tales and food before you've even stepped outside.
August 18, 2022
Here's a fun fact that could help you in pub trivia one day: the iconic jam brand IXL is not actually an acronym. The name derived from owner Henry Jones' personal motto, "I excel in everything I do". And excel he did. Jones began working in George Peacock's jam factory at 12 before eventually taking over the business and turning it into a worldwide empire, scoring himself a knighthood along the way.
Those humble beginnings started in a series of industrial warehouses along Hobart's harbour. A state government tender in the 1990s awarded famed architect Robert Morris-Nunn the task of transforming the property into what is now The Henry Jones Art Hotel.
Morris-Nunn honoured the rich history of the heritage site by balancing contemporary architectural elements with the building's original features — the grand staircase, exposed handcut sandstone walls, corrugated iron roof and floorboards all remain (though the latter two have been topped with new materials for protection). And, perhaps most interestingly, the timber beams, streaked with black markings. They're the result of an unexpected roof leak — jam particles that had settled in the roof over the decades of factory operation and, through the hotel's unique natural heating system, are now going through condensation, dripping down the walls and occasionally perfuming the halls with a sweet fruity scent. Quite the unique feature.
This bizarre tale, and many others, can be learned on an art and history tour (complimentary for guests, $20 for visitors) with acting art curator Greg Ball. A strange title for a hotel employee, you may be thinking. But the 'art' in this luxury hotel's moniker is no mistake — The Henry Jones Art Hotel bills itself as Australia's first dedicated art hotel.
Alongside the Tasmanian School of Creative Arts next door, The Henry Jones has turned this part of the city into a thriving arts hub. There are some 400 artworks, many of them by emerging Tasmanian artists, on display in the hallways, guest rooms and public spaces, including The Packing Room Gallery, which hosts a roster of themed exhibitions. Many of the works are for sale. The hotel also often hosts an artist in residence who works from the lobby for a period of time.
If you're more interested in a feast for your taste buds than your eyes, The Henry Jones has this covered, too. First, the IXL Long Bar, for innovative cocktails and snacks. In a moody space at the front of the hotel, you'll find Landscape Restaurant and Grill. Its walls are adorned with works by the legendary landscape artist John Glover, and its menu is built around an Asado grill, fired with sherry, bourbon and port casks.
The final jewel in the crown is Peacock & Jones. If you want to experience Tasmania on a plate, this is where to eat. Culinary Curator Ben Milbourne (chef and former Masterchef Australia contestant) and Head Chef Julian Volkmer (MONA) have crafted a menu that celebrates the very best of seasonal Tasmanian produce — we're talking oysters from Dunalley, truffles from The Truffle Farm in Deloraine and mushrooms grown in an old railway tunnel in Mount Rumney. It's best experienced via the tasting menu, a generous six courses for $100, with the option $75 wine pairing.