Tucked into the peaceful banks of Tasmania’s North West Bay, about 15 minutes’ drive south of Hobart’s CBD, sits Villa Howden, a little slice of southern France. Surrounded by landscaped gardens and with views of Mount Wellington, it’s the perfect place to drop out, with a palpable sense of joie de vivre.
Constructed in the 1970s, this building – with its burnt orange exterior, terracotta tiles and quaint shutters – has been through numerous incarnations: a private home, a health centre, a restaurant. It’s currently divided into 10 suites, each decorated with French antiques which sit alongside iPod docks and Nespresso machines. Comfort is key, with plush, queen-sized beds and ultra-fluffy bath towels.
There are some irresistibly relaxing spots in which to while away an afternoon here – the sunroom overlooking the gardens, the piano bar with its modern pianola, the loft library or the indoor heated pool overlooking the bay. For a sophisticated dining option (Villa Howden‘s restaurant wasn’t yet open for dinner when we stayed), head to Hobart for some inventive mod-Oz cuisine at Garagistes, followed by a drink at the super-trendy Sidecar wine bar just around the corner. If you’d prefer to enjoy your digestif back at the villa, there’s a well-stocked honour bar for late-night tipples.
READ MY REVIEW OF TASMANIA’S CRADLE MOUNTAIN LODGE HERE