The bespoke soaps are $40 a bar. Bianca is scented with lemon myrtle, Casey with tangerine. Each is shaped like a vulva – studies so detailed they'd be sure to be recognisable to, well, anyone intimate with Bianca and Casey. Welcome to Mona, the Museum of Old and New Art, an adult playground where provocation is the order of the day. Set on the banks of the Derwent, its freestanding pavilions are like giant, airy wünderkammers stuffed with remarkably good wine (as local as the estate, as global as half-bottles of good Burgundy), intriguing books (monographs on Nolan, Boyd and Whiteley) and artworks and antiquities that form part of the larger collection of the museum. A radical and impressive proposition.
This is a real art hotel, not designed to please all comers but a place that will deeply delight many and stimulate more still.
They've gone the extra mile when sourcing local: milk from Ashgrove, coffee from Villino, chocolate from Launceston, rhubarb juice from Scottsdale, plus Poltergeist gin, Lark whisky and great Tassie cheeses.
Mona isn't short of places to eat. As well as a cellar door, café and the wild new Faro tapas bar, the estate's flagship restaurant, The Source, has an exceptional wine list and takes care of room service for the pavilions and breakfast. Wake up to the likes of fruit daubed with leatherwood honey and sheep's milk yoghurt, or brown rice with sautéed greens, fried eggs, lime and kimchi.
The line-up in the wine fridge (Egly-Ouriet Champagne, Mount Mary chardonnay, a wealth of Tasmanian options) and a rich range of snacks consistently vaults the minibar into GT's top rankings.
This review was made independently for the Gourmet Traveller Hotel Guide. The guide's reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way.