Late Checkout: The Hobart Hotel Where Every Room Tells a Story

macq 01 hotel

Stepping into MACq 01 Hotel is kind of like opening the pages of a pop-up storybook. Remember those childhood treasures where the turning of a page revealed a scene bursting to life? It’s a lot like that.

As you enter the waterfront palace, you are transported to a realm where the walls reverberate with whispered tales of the past. Where characters — detailed on golden plaques — from bygone eras beckon you to embark on a journey, both outside and inside the room.

This is because MACq 01 is a storytelling hotel. In fact, it’s Australia’s first storytelling hotel. You might be asking what that is. Well, I was curious too, so I spent a weekend in this storied structure to find out.

macq 01 hotel
Photo: MACq 01

Unveiling the Legends

It didn’t take me long to discover that the MACq 01 Hotel is a gateway to the stories that have shaped Tasmania’s identity. Reality seamlessly merges with imagination within these walls, creating a living storybook. Every corner has a sense of timeless wonder and adventure as if inhabited by unseen storytellers.

The walls whisper tales of triumph, courage, and romance, encouraging hotel guests to become part of their extraordinary narratives through authentic artefacts, antique furniture, and carefully chosen decor. From infamous convicts to intrepid explorers and indigenous leaders, the hotel subtly revives these characters with their vivid storytelling touches.

macq 01 hotel
Photo: Natasha Bazika

The Master Storytellers

There’s a reason it’s called a storytelling hotel. During my stay, I had the pleasure of joining a master storyteller, or as I like to call them, lore keepers, who are the guardians of Tasmania’s stories.

These keepers have an innate ability to breathe life into forgotten narratives, reviving the spirits of buildings, parks, and characters from the past, all while wearing a signature burgundy blazer. They are the custodians of history, and their presence infuses the hotel with wonder and discovery.

With a twinkle in their eyes and a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips, we ventured out of the hotel to unveil the secrets and mysteries that lie dormant within the city, whether it’s a crack in a dock from a past Navy mishap or the pointing out of an immaculately preserved 100-year-old tea advertisement painted on a building.

Armed with viewfinders loaded with historical images, we were transported to the heart of Tasmania’s past. After an hour and a half of walking, we uncovered almost every secret, from the Old Wharf to the New Wharf.

I won’t spoil the stories, as it seems much more special to discover them in person, guided by a lore keeper, but I can tell you it’s a must-do; even if you’re not a guest of the hotel, you can book a Storytelling Tour for $20.

macq 01 hotel
Photo: Natasha Bazika


Beyond its knack for a narrative, MACq 01 is a haven of comfort and luxury. I was lucky enough to stay in a Waterfront Suite, which looks out over Hobart from the fishing boats and all the way up to Kunanyi or Mount Wellington from a private terrace.

Although the view is impressive, I found the Tassie S’mores experience more magical. From now until August 31, 2023, guests who book a Premium Waterfront Suite will be treated to backyard s’mores delivered right to their room.

I, of course, ordered the s’mores to combat the chilly Tassie weather. After a long day of walking and snacking at the Salamanca Markets, a sharply dressed attendant wielding a woven basket knocked at my door in the afternoon. It took her less than five minutes to set up a small fire, pour a cup of warm spiced apple cider, and lay out a box of marshmallows and chocolate. Because it was cold, she even brought Merino throws to keep me snug.

The s’mores box, sourced from the local Coal River Farm, included handcrafted vanilla marshmallows, chocolate honey bark, and a sweet Tasmanian leatherwood honey biscuit. These aren’t the s’mores you would usually get. They were gourmet.

I spent the afternoon taking in the view, making s’mores, and revelling in the Tassie experience. Think of it as camping but from the comfort of a private terrace.

macq 01 hotel
Photo: MACq 01

Eat and Drink

Just about every hotel these days has a bar and restaurant. Hobart, flushed with hyperlocal food, can make it hard to want a meal in a hotel over a laneway pasta shop, but skipping MACq 01’s Old Wharf Restaurant would be a mistake.

The locally driven menu boasts an impressive display of everything from Bruny Island Oysters to Tasmanian Salmon and Cape Grim porterhouse. The menu is spread over sections, including starters with duck croquettes and hot smoked salmon, then goes into mains and a ‘from the grill’ section, which is popular with guests. Pick a few sides, Huon Potatoes or roasted carrots, before topping the meal off with a slice of Grandma’s Apple Pie.

Just steps from Old Wharf Restaurant is The Story Bar, where each cocktail is inspired by a tale from the past. Sip on a Convict’s Old Fashioned or discover the island’s native plants in a Forbidden Fruit cocktail. The bar menu is 11 pages long and we haven’t even touched on the seemingly never-ending list of Tasmanian gins. Settle in for a pre-dinner cocktail, or end your day with a nightcap. You can’t go wrong with a cocktail here.

Related: 11 Best Restaurants in Hobart, Decided By Someone Who Flew There Solely For Food

Related: The 5 Most Adventure-Packed Tassie Road Trips You Can Do In a Weekend

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