Tasmania’s Federal Tourism Group last month opened what it describes as “the world’s first storytelling hotel”. Perfectly located on Hobart’s waterfront, each of the 114 rooms at MACq01 (for Macquarie Wharf #1) is themed on a famous Tasmanian, with the aim of creating a unique experience for guests which will keep them coming back again and again.
Federal’s portfolio also includes Hobart’s Henry Jones Art Hotel and the Saffire luxury lodge at Freycinet National Park, with the group overseen by Matt Casey who told travelBulletin that unlike the other properties there was no natural “sense of place” for the MACq01 building. “It could have been just another three- or four-star hotel – our hope is by creating a storyline for the property we can get a higher yield and maintain customer loyalty,” he said.
The hotel has been a labour of love for Casey, with many of the stories developed by his parents as they explored the Tasmanian countryside, or propped up a bar to hear some of the locals’ tales. MACq01 has a team of full-time in-house “storytellers” who conduct tours both of the hotel and the Hobart surrounds, while the themed rooms also in many cases include genuine artefacts related to their namesake. The characters are classified into five key types: The Fighting Believers; The Hearty and Resilient; The Colourful and Quirky; The Grounded, yet Exceptional; and The Curious and Creative. Every room also features an original artwork by Tasmanian artist Troy Ruffels, and there’s a cosy and inviting bar and restaurant featuring stunning Tassie cuisine.
Federal continues to set its sights on expanding its tourism operations. Currently the group is developing the Port Arthur Luxury Lodge, and Casey also confided that he believes the concepts used to develop MACq01 could be applied to properties on the mainland too.