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TRAVEL & LEISURE

MONA's Ambitious Giant Five-Star Hotel Is One Step Closer to Becoming a Reality

David Walsh's plans for Motown hotel include indoor and outdoor theatres, a giant library and a spa designed by James Turrell.
By Samantha Teague and Tom Clift
December 12, 2018
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MONA's Ambitious Giant Five-Star Hotel Is One Step Closer to Becoming a Reality

David Walsh's plans for Motown hotel include indoor and outdoor theatres, a giant library and a spa designed by James Turrell.
By Samantha Teague and Tom Clift
December 12, 2018
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Last year, David Walsh, founder of Tasmania's Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) first announced plans for an epic five-star hotel — among other things — on the site of the iconic Hobart gallery.

Now, it's one step closer to becoming a reality, with Walsh submitting a development application for approval. The Hotel at MONA — which has changed it's name from HoMo to Motown — has been described as the next phase of growth for the museum, which, since opening in 2011, has become one of Tasmania's biggest draws.

So now that the wheels are officially in motion, what exactly can visitors (and locals) expect from the proposed addition to the Berridale site? And what other changes do Walsh and co. have up their sleeves? Well, a lot.

The hotel, designed by architect Nonda Katsalidis and Walsh, will be built on the museum's current site in Berridale. With rooms elevated over the Derwent River, it's designed to look like an inverted suspension bridge, though in a statement released by MONA, it's described as "a shopping trolley that looks a bit like an inverted suspension bridge".

Motown will consist of 176 rooms, including a number of special 'experience' rooms developed by a selection of internationally renowned artists. Rooms facing the northeast will enjoy a view of Kunanyi/Mount Wellington, while rooms facing southeast will look up the river towards Claremont and Otago Bay. It looks nuts.

It will also have its own three-storey library to house Walsh's collection of rare books and manuscripts ("a growing nerd fest of bibliophilic paraphernalia") and an indoor theatre with seating for over 1000 people. Most notably, there will also be an outdoor stage and amphitheatre complete with playgrounds designed by textile artist Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam, American sculptor Tom Otterness and design studio Daily tous les jours.

Back inside, there'll be a new bar and 180-seat restaurant, and with MONA already home to the acclaimed Faro — which has its own bespoke James Turrell installations — we can expect it to be impressive. Speaking of Turrell, the world-famous artist, who's best known for his artworks combining light, space and psychology, will be designing the hotel's spa alongside Serbian performance artist Marina Abramović. We don't think there are going to be any of your run-of-the-mill hot stone treatments or mani-pedis here.

And how do you get to the colossal hotel, which is perched on the edge of the River Derwent? By Venice-style water taxis, of course.

With construction hoping to kick off relatively soon the building is expected to be completed by 2024 — although the plans still need to be approved by the Glenorchy City Council. It's an ambitious project with an equally ambitious price tag: around $400 million. We'll be keeping an eye on this one.

Motown is slated for completion in 2024. For more information, head to the MONA website.

Published on December 12, 2018 by Samantha Teague

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