From living walls of Mount Wellington ferns in the reception lounge to bonsai in the bathrooms, olive-green velvet sofas to glossy emerald herringbone tiles, Moss feels like an enchanted forest. "We wanted to bring the Tasmanian wilderness to guests, in all its shapes and shades," says hotel general manager and "frustrated gardener" Rod Black, with watering can in hand.
"This is a hotel that's alive and growing, literally and thematically, and I love that." The new boutique hotel's first 20 rooms at 39 Salamanca Place occupy a storied Georgian-era warehouse at the heart of dockside Hobart. Walls were stripped back, says Black, to expose convict cut sandstone walls, and Tasmanian architecture studio Circa Morris Nunn has retained original rafters and tin roofs and installed glass atriums to span the building's original and newer bones.
Interiors showcase the island's creative talent: Tasmanian blackwood joinery by Andrew Bull and botanical patterns in Hannah Lorenz's textiles in guestrooms, the cool contemporary shapes of Scott Van Tuil's blackwood chairs and sandstone tables in the lounge, and hip-flasks of Hobart-distilled Sud Polaire gin in the minibar.
"Pretty much every detail has a story and tells a story," says Black. Slice-oflife photographs of local characters and off-beat scenes by Derek Henderson are pinned to walls, and the herringbone pattern of bathroom tiles mimic botanical shapes. Traces of graffiti in a guestroom date from the warehouse's incarnation as a nightclub.
The flora, too, is Tasmanian. A nursery in the foothills of Mount Wellington is growing 5000 endemic plants for Moss 39 and the hotel's 21-room second stage, Moss 25, due to open later this year in a nearby Salamanca warehouse.
In a wall niche, a fallen tree-fern log sprouts delicate flowering moss, and the fresh scent of earth and forest is a reminder that the wilderness isn't far away.
Moss is the first hotel project for the family-owned Behrakis Group, which owns a tranche of Salamanca Place real estate and the providore Salamanca Fresh adjoining Moss 39.
The hotel is part of a wave of new investment in Hobart's inner city, which includes the $5 million cultural quarter, In the Hanging Garden, centred on the transformed Odean Theatre, and the five-star Marriott-operated The Tasman opening later this year.
Moss, 39 Salamanca Pl, Hobart, Tas, mosshotel.com.au