There's a dearth of decent mid-to-upper end business hotels in Hobart, so we're always interested to check out further options in Tasmania's capital.
I especially like the flexibility and extra space you get from an apartment hotel -- and the location of Somerset on the Pier, extending right out into Hobart's gorgeous waterfront, was a real draw.
Location & Impressions
Somerset on the Pier is perched on the old Elizabeth Street Pier in a converted heritage warehouse, with all the atmosphere bonuses that brings.
It's a convenient walk to just about anywhere you're likely to be doing business in Hobart, with the exception of the Wrest Point conference centre, which is stuck out on its own a couple of kilometres to the south.
Reception is about halfway down the ship-strewn pier. Arriving by taxi, I was swiftly checked in by the very helpful checkin desk team and headed up one floor in the lift to my north-facing room.
The hotel's rooms are spacious and airy open-plan duplexes, with the bedroom upstairs and everything else downstairs. I enjoyed the split-level living -- especially when holding informal meetings with contacts -- but people with limited mobility will want to check availability of the accessible rooms.
To your right as you walk in is a fairly humdrum (but large) bathroom in beige, with the usual apartment hotel washer and dryer in a small cupboard. Be aware that the dryer really makes the bathroom humid.
The main room downstairs includes a well-equipped kitchen nook on the right, with all the basics you'd need.
In the centre of the room is a comfortable double sofa, a small desk and chair, a strangely uncomfortable red armchair and a two-seater dining table by the floor-to-ceiling sliding doors leading out to the lovely north-facing balcony.
Up a flight of stairs is the bedroom loft area, with a comfortable bed, large built-in wardrobe, luggage rack, TV and standing fan.
Alas, no easily accessible power points at the side of the bed to charge your phone, but it's easy enough to unplug one of the side lights.
The small desk and dining-style chair aren't especially great for long periods of work, so since I had things to get done I ended up shifting my laptop between the sofa and the dining table.
Wireless and wired Internet is available, but the speeds were fairly slow: 2 Mbps down and 0.4 Mbps up, with a ping of 61 ms.
If Hobart's flight schedules mean you're checking in early or checking out late, there's a small lounge area where you can set yourself up and get some work done.
While you could easily cook for yourself in the well-equipped kitchen nook, there's a charge-back facility available at the excellent (if irritatingly punctuated) "Tavern 42degrees south" that sits at street level underneath the hotel.
Breakfasts are very much café-style -- and delicious -- while lunch and dinner are good solid bistro stuff. I really enjoyed the crispy squid, so much so that I had it twice during my stay.
Of course, the very central location means that the fantastic bars and restaurants of Salamanca are just a few minutes' harbourfront walk away, and there are numerous fish-and-chip type places nearby if the weather is cooperating.
The hotel will also pre-fill your fridge for you, so you don't even have to go shopping.
There are few things more pleasant on a sunny Hobart evening than relaxing above the harbour on the balcony of your waterside apartment with a nice cool glass of something.
The whole harbourfront area is your proverbial oyster, so take a stroll around the place in the evening or go for a nice jog. The staff can suggest routes.
(Less relaxingly, since an airline had broken my suitcase, I needed to find a replacement and take care of the paperwork. The staff were exceptionally helpful and knowledgeable, and they took care of researching where I'd likely need to go.)
If the weather is less clement, the sofa is comfortable and ideal for kicking up your heels with a good book.
I love apartment hotels, and this is a real gem. The heritage building and helpful staff help it avoid suffering the apartment hotel curse of being corporately bland (except for the super-beige bathrooms), and the balconies are well worth the price upgrade in the summertime. Among its competition in Hobart, it's up there with the very best.
John Walton was a guest of the hotel