Tasmanian accommodation where art feeds the soul
The Henry Jones runs an artist-in-residence program, with featured artists working in a corner of the foyer. Suellen Saidee Cook, who creates surreal and imaginary environments by layering up to 50 photographs, is the newest resident.
But the hotel’s freshest gem – this year’s winner of the prestigious Glover Art Prize – now takes pride of place in the elegant, dimly-lit Landscape Restaurant. & Grill. It’s such a cozy and detail-oriented place that privileged regulars keep their personal steak knives in a special cabinet at reception.
Victoria-based artist Jennifer Riddle has won the 2022 Glover Prize – considered the Archibald of landscape painting – with her dramatic depiction of the Tasmanian wilderness, inspired by travels in the waterways of the south-west. remote western Tasmania. “It’s hard to look at the pristine, isolated landscape of Port Davey without feeling the enormity and impact of its presence,” she noted in her entry.
The famous 19th century landscape painter John Glover, whom the Glover Prize honors, was equally moved when he emigrated to Van Diemen’s Land in 1831.
His more genteel and romantic paintings, capturing the soft light of Tasmania and the distant figures of convicts and early colonial natives, dot the main walls of the Landscape Restaurant.
Much of the restaurant’s inspiration was drawn from Glover’s hopeful portrayal of the First Colony. Its main focus, however, is to showcase fresh, seasonal produce from farmers across the state.
A point of distinction is the restaurant’s Asado Grill. It is cooked daily with wood from old sherry, bourbon or port casks supplied by the Tasmanian Cask Company. From there, Executive Chef Nathaniel Embrey presents a menu that fits perfectly with the elegant setting.
Entrees can be freshly shucked Norfolk Bay oysters, grilled Stanley octopus or trevally sashimi.
For the main course, a Cape Grim steak from the far northwest of Tasmania melds with the tenderness and flavor of Asado, accompanied, if desired, by hand-cut duck fat crisps.
You can also try the more delicate blue-eyed trevally with wood-fired greens, cauliflower, key crab and dashi butter. Or maybe the Huon Berkshire chop with sweet corn and charred cabbage.
It could be the hand of Embrey or it could be the casual comfort of Landscape, but it seems like being surrounded by wonderful art adds another layer of flavor.
After dinner, if you’ve chosen to stay the night, you may be lucky enough to head upstairs to the luxurious H. Jones Suite, located in what was once H. Jones’ boardroom. Jones. & Co.
All rooms have their own distinctive qualities – wood and exposed brickwork, perhaps a remnant of a factory pulley hanging from the ceiling. But the Superior Suite (from $740 a night) stands out with its Tasmanian blackwood ceilings and paneling and views of the Hobart waterfront. And, of course, art.
The writer was a guest at the Henry Jones Art Hotel.