Saffire Soon to Open on Tasmania's Freycinet Peninsula
It's been in the works for a very long time, but Saffire, a new ultra-luxury hotel on Tasmania's Freycinet Peninsula is about to open, on June 1st, 2010.
Let's get oriented first. Tasmania is Australia's southernmost state, and it's actually an island, separated from the mainland by the 150 mile wide Bass Strait. But it's not at all wee -- twice the size Switzerland, about the size of Ireland -- and is widely considered one of the most beautiful spots on the planet. (Check out that sunset, above!)
The Freycinet Peninsula juts off right around the middle of the island's eastern shore, and is home to national park, which is popular for its hiking particularly to the white sand, turquoise to cobalt waters of Wineglass Bay. Freycinet, by the way, is pronounced as you would in French -- the first Europeans on this part of Tasmania were from France.
There's a lodging concession in the park, Freycinet Lodge, and it has some more upscale accommodations in addition to the more basic -- but it's nothing compared to what's being planned for Saffire. (The same company owns both properties.)
I was in Tasmania a couple of weeks ago, and had a chat with Matt Casey, general manager, and Hugh Whitehouse, executive chef. The main point they got across about Saffire is that it is going to be intimate. There are just 20 suites all together, with a high staff-to-guest ratio, says Casey -- plus they're not expecting to be running at full capacity at first. The rooms themselves, however, won't be small: the smallest are 860 square feet and the four largest premium suites are just over 1500 square feet. (Chef Whitehouse will prepare custom meals for premium guests in the suite's kitchen.)
And what about the suite rates?
Gallery: Saffire in Tasmania
And the resort plans to make use of the entire peninsula, including the nearby Schouten Island, which will be exclusive to Saffire guests. Excursions will include the chance to check out penguins, seals and whales in season -- and what will almost certainly be a kick-ass barbeque. Chef Hugh told me that he's looking forward to having guests into his kitchen, for cooking demos and the like -- and with his considerable reputation, and the amazing amount of fresh produce in this region -- oysters, berries, wine, you name it -- that should be no small thing indeed.