by Jonathan Leeming in Cool Travel on Tuesday 17 September 2013

The first thing that struck me about my Hobart accommodation, the Avalon City Retreat, was the personal touch. Amanda, the Marketing & PR Manager, was waiting on Macquarie Street to greet me, and show me around.

Once I’d parked, I was whisked up to the seventh floor of the 1963 Dirk Bolt-designed office building, then escorted up two flights of stairs, out of a door.

And onto the rooftop!

You see, I was to be staying in an ‘Omnipod’, a five-part modular building quite literally sitting on top of the building below – and in fact cantilevered off each end, just to add to the strangeness…

Amanda explained to me that the Avalon concept was a brainchild of developer Brett Torossi, who I’m told is a “Renaissance lady with an insane brain, who enjoys good music, good food, amazing art, great company, and books”…

Brett has certainly drawn upon all these passions in creating Avalon: the entire space is dotted with stylish and eclectic works of art, most notable of which is the 400-500 year old Monastery Door leaning against one wall, somewhat innocuously next to a flat screen television (just a medium-sized one, I hasten to add, for as the website clearly states: “We’re not bogans”).
Brett has a particular fondness for all things Italian, and gets over there for the odd visit… So when she saw this stunning monastery door in a market in Arezzo a few years ago, she had it shipped over to Tasmania. It only took a year, I’m told.

My attention however was divided: indoors were the spacious main area, a perfectly-appointed kitchen and two exquisite king bedrooms.

Outside though, were stunning views out over St David’s Park, Salamanca and Mount Wellington… Pretty much the entire City, in fact.

And, sitting on the open rooftop deck, shining like the moon, was Avalon’s “Moon Lounger” (see above pic), upon the glowing surface of which one is encouraged to relax in the refreshing sea breeze, before diving into the adjacent gigantic wooden bathtub, hewn from a single piece of now-endangered Huon pine.

When I questioned the ethics of this construction, Amanda reassured me that Brett had rescued this piece, along with a large proportion of the forest, from out-of-control brushfires years ago…

Amanda suggested that I try the bath during my stay, as ‘the scent of the pine when the hot water fills it, is divine’.

She left me alone, so I took her advice and immediately climbed into a steaming open-air rooftop bath, with a glass of champagne. And she was right: it was indeed totally divine.