Hotel review: Villa Howden, Hobart
Accommodation tends to fall into one of two categories. Sometimes when you book a hotel it’s a means to an end: you’re out and about exploring whatever city you’re in so the room – however nice it is! – is just a base to dump your things and rest your head for the night.
Other times though, the accommodation is a destination in its own right and dragging yourself away from your home-away-from-home is tough. Villa Howden is firmly placed in the second category.
A little slice of Southern France an easy 15 minute drive from central Hobart, Villa Howden is everything a boutique hotel should be.
Located on the tranquil shores of North West Bay, Mr LML pulls up in the driveway and we both remark that the photos online don’t do this place justice. And that’s saying something!
We’re warmly greeted on check-in by the General Manager Brian. He and his team immediately take care of our luggage and pour us a glass each of sparkling wine. This is a welcome I could get very used to!
A quick tour shows us the ins and outs of the gorgeous space. The French style estate was built in the 1970’s and has been everything from a private home to a health centre. I tend to think boutique hotel suits it best 😉
The immaculate grounds, indoor heated pool, piano bar, the loft library (complete with board games) and lounge area with spectacular high ceiling all create a feeling of extravagance.
Things get even better when we go up to our room and open. One of ten luxury suites, we’re lucky enough to have scored a water view room. The beautiful full length French doors open up to a balcony making the most of the view. It truly is spectacular.
The suite features a double bed, iPod Dock, complimentary Wi-Fi and Nespresso coffee machine.
Also included in the room rate is the mini-bar which on our visit included Red Rock Deli chips, a bottle of local red wine and cookies. Yum!
Pre dinner we stop by for a drink by the fireplace. Country relaxation has a lot going for it!
It would be easy to kick back here for hours but dinner at the onsite Restaurant d’hote is calling.
The candle-lit room and extremely warm service make for a brilliant night.
Highlights include the Lamb rump with carrots, fennel, celeriac puree, zucchini and green oolive tapenade and rosemary demi; and the Lightly cured ocean trout with white anchovy, caramelised onion tart and smoky eggplant remoulade.
The Rhubarb and raspberry steam pudding with orange flower anglaise and quince; and the Chocolate and almond Mi Cuit with choc mint ice cream satisfies our sweet tooths.
And after a few wines there’s nothing better than only having to climb a few sets of stairs to call it a night.
After a sleep-in (it’s soooo peaceful here) we rise and venture back downstairs for breakfast. The a la carte menu is short but I’m all for quality over quantity and the poached eggs with salmon is a winner.
We tear ourselves away from Villa Howden for the day but only because a visit to the Tassie capital isn’t complete without venturing to MONA.
The ferry ride there is exceptional – a state of the art modern vessel with a seriously good café and even better views.
Even for non-Art lovers, MONA is a must. Just prepare to be a little confronted at times! ‘The Red Queen’ exhibition is on now until April 2014. You can see why even locals make regular visits here.
If food and wine is more your thing, round off your visit with a meal at the wine bar. My Roast spiced pumpkin and sweet potato tagine of wheat, moghrabieh and yogurt is divine, especially when washed down with a local cider. As you do! Mr LML is satisfied too with his Confit tuna with braised fennel and tomato white wine with saffron, olive and leek vinaigrette.
The onsite Moorilla Winery has its own tasting room so we oblige with a quick visit. While not as rustic as a traditional cellar door, the views over the grounds and the Derwent River are impressive. The tastings cost $10 but that’s taken off the cost of anything you buy. Good excuse!
We’re invited to enjoy high tea at Villa Howden and can hardly say no. The dining area is buzzing with fellow afternoon tea goers enjoying their tiers of deliciousness. The sandwiches and cakes are delicious but as always it’s the scones that win it for me.
Villa Howden is well worth putting on your wish list. And whatever you do, don’t let the price put you off – it might be slightly more than your standard Hobart hotel stay but then this isn’t your standard hotel stay. And when there are bonuses like wine, mini-bars and breakfast included, it really is good value.Nicole and Mr LML stayed as guests of Villa Howden.
What’s your favourite boutique hotel? Have you travelled to Hobart?