A visit to Tasmania would not be complete without a tour of Launceston. Just 45 minutes by air from Lionel's Melbourne
, the second largest city of Tasmania with a population of 68,000 is renowned for having the largest collection of 19th century architecture in Australia. The city was established in 1806 and grew as the trading centre for wheat and wool farmers in the region. From Launceston, you also access national parks such as Narawntapu and Ben Lomond National Park.
One of my favourite places to stay and enjoy the best of Launceston, taking into account overall location, affordability, friendly service and comfort is the Quality Hotel Colonial Launceston. The hotel, built in 1847, provides a blend of Launceston 19th century heritage, gardens and contemporary comforts in the heart of the city. It's where modern rooms meet old English charm in the main historic building, including the lobby, lounge and restaurant. You can also come face to face with kookaburras in the gardens.
Vineyard in the Tamar Valley
15 minutes out from the airport and you're at the Quality Hotel Colonial Launceston. Located in the "Paris End" of Launceston's CBD, the hotel sits pretty amongst Tasmania's historic buildings and homes. This makes it an ideal base for exploring the 19th century-filled streetscapes, including the numerous shops, restaurants, century-old parks and out to Launceston Seaport where a boardwalk links the waterfront eateries to Inveresk, with its Queen Victoria Museum. It also provides convenient access to local places of interest, including the Boags Brewery, Planetarium and Aurora Stadium which are just minutes away. Close by is the Cataract Gorge, where a chairlift allows visitors to enjoy the panoramic views of the city and the cascades between the rugged cliffs. In addition to the city's rich history, the hotel is an ideal base for accessing the many wineries in the Tamar Valley and the picturesque Cradle Mountains.
Lake at Cradle Mountains
This 69-room hotel offers a variety of room types, including standard rooms, deluxe rooms, business-class rooms and 1-bedroom suites, spa suites and apartments. All rooms come equipped with mini bar, complimentary tea and coffee, free movie channels, free newspaper, free parking, free gym, private en-suite, in-room safe, air-conditioning and heater, hair dryer, iron and ironing board. The sizes of the standard rooms remind me of those at Comfort Inn Botanical Hotel
. They are acceptable for short stays but if you're planning for a week or simply looking for more space, consider the deluxe room with a private balcony, business-class rooms with WIFI or the new modern-styled self-contained apartments with full kitchen facilities.
The Heritage Spa Suite overlooking the gardens features a spacious living room with dining table, king bed, a corner spa and champagne and chocolates on arrival for a romantic getaway. The Loft 1 bedroom apartment is a New York style space with a stone fireplace, gas heater, lounge and dining table, LCD TV, iPod dock, rain shower and king bed. The Studio Loft Spa apartment contains the same with the addition of a spa bath. The 2 bedroom spa apartment located on the ground floor of the 1847 historic main building has a garden entrance, a queen and king single bed and a corner spa bath. As a 3 level historic building hotel, there are no lifts so if you struggle with stairs, remember to request for rooms at the ground floor.
Food and Beverage
The Quality Hotel Colonial Launceston has 3 onsite spaces for drinks and a decent meal including the Colony Bar, QC Brasserie and Three Steps on George. The main lunch and dinner restaurant, Three Steps on George is decked out like a traditional English pub in line with the hotel's colonial heritage setting. The main dining room is regal looking with an open log fireplace on the ground floor ideal for cosy winter meals and an alfresco dining area for the summer get-togethers.
The restaurant offers fairly priced classic European meals with an Australian twist and use of Tasmanian produce that are popular with locals and hotels guests. Some dishes include duck and venison sausages, Tasmanian salmon fillets and honey mustard chicken pizza. With the venue offering free wireless internet, it provides connectivity to the rest of the world while enjoying a James Boag beer in the relaxing ambiance of the historic old building.
Breakfast is served in QC Brasserie or the the Quill & Cane Restaurant in the main building just opposite reception 7 days of the week. Don't expect the glorious brekkies at deluxe hotels like the Westin Sydney
or Sofitel Melbourne
. At AUD15, the hotel offered a satisfying hot and cold selection.
Meetings and Events
Quality Hotel Colonial Launceston is an excellent meetings and events venue that combines the unique 19th century heritage setting with modern conference and banquet facilities, complemented by various food and beverage packages to suit day to evening requirements. The hotel's 1847 heritage listed building, picturesque garden and chapel makes it an intimate venue for weddings of up to 200 persons. 4 function rooms are available throughout the hotel including the Tudor Rose room, Verandah room, Robert De Little room and Guv'Nors Table room. I found the Tudor Rose room with its own fireplace an elegant space for a private family celebration of 8 persons. The hotel also offers its Colony Bar and QC Brasserie for hire if you're organising a large private party.