The cartoon-like symmetry of the Henry Jones Art Hotel in Tasmania from the front like it’s makes it seem like it’s been plucked straight from a Wes Anderson film. It’s as luxurious and chic as an Anderson film, too.
The hotel is set in an old jam factory, built in the 1820s. You don’t need to read this article to work this out – there is jam literally still oozing down the walls, despite IXL closing proceedings 52 years ago.
Greg Ball is the Art Curator at Henry Jones and says that when the hotel opened in the early 2000s, guests and staff initially believed there to be a leak somewhere – a worst nightmare-scenario for any new hotel.
The leak however had a faintly sweet smell, giving away its real identity as jam which had risen to the roof of the building, condensed with the heat of the build and slowly trickled down the walls of each level. The streaks have been left as a reminder of what was, as have various bits of graffiti, including an anti-Apartheid in South Africa message scrawled hastily on a beam, apparently from a former jam factory employee, now frozen in time.
Henry Jones was Australia’s first-ever dedicated art hotel, and exhibits works from artists from right around the country. It lines the walls and is in every room, around 500 pieces in total.
There’s all sorts – contemporary art, Indigenous art, big and small art, and weird art – both good weird and weird weird – and all of it is for sale.
Peacock and Jones is the fine-dining restaurant built into the hotel, where former Masterchef contestant Ben Milbourne looks after things.
Luxurious rooms look out over the marina on one side and Hobart’s mountains on the other, so there’s always something to look at if you’re done with the art.
Whether you’re an art person, a food person, a jam person or just a person, Henry Jones is an indulgent spot – right up there as not just one of Tassie’s finest, but one of Australia’s.