The Islington Hotel: Picasso and a Cat Named Chaos
I've been so busy sharing all that's new and exciting in Tasmania, Australia, that I've almost overlooked a place that's not new, somewhat tranquil but also fabulous: The Islington, in Hobart.
This hotel is in a Regency style house that was built in 1847. (In New World terms, this is practically ancient.) When you first pull up through the gated driveway, it seems you're in for something pretty traditional. But while the history has been preserved, the additions made to the building are contemporary, so you get that pleasant frisson that comes from the blend of the old and the modern. There's an impressive art collection for a hotel that's quite small -- which means your search for the Islington's sketch by Picasso will not be terribly time-consuming.
Each of the Islington's eleven room has a custom-made king-sized bed, which was insanely comfortable -- it somehow molded to my body in a non-claustrophobic kind of a way. The only thing that made me want to get out of that bed was the prospect of a breakfast cooked for me by the hotel's resident chef. (This is included in the room rates, which start at $300 Australian a night.)
Breakfast is served in the glassed-in conservancy, which is pictured above. I enjoyed watching the antics of Chaos, the hotel's cat, in the Andrew Pfeiffer-designed garden near the reflecting pond, while I sipped my long black coffee in a slip-covered chair, and contemplated the rose granite and deep gray green of the mountain ridge just beyond.
Tourism Tasmania and Tourism Australia sponsored my visit, but I'm jaded and this doesn't affect my critical faculties in the slightest. Opinions are 100% my own.