MACq 01 Review: Hobart’s First (And Funnest) ‘Storytelling’ Hotel
— Updated on 24 July 2023

MACq 01 Review: Hobart’s First (And Funnest) ‘Storytelling’ Hotel

— Updated on 24 July 2023
Randy Lai
Randy Lai

Situated right on the doorstep of Hobart’s waterfront precinct, MACq 01 hotel distinguishes itself as a citywide landmark — in ways that go beyond a review of the city’s geography. 

A darkly sleek and industrial operation, which stands in juxtaposition to the nearby Henry Jones Art Hotel (also operated by local hospitality bigwig Federal Group); MACq 01 billed itself as “Australia’s first storytelling hotel” upon opening in 2017. 

That claim is staked largely upon the lengths to which MACq 01 has gone to incorporate unique Tasmanian personalities — sometimes, literally — into the physical fabric of the hotel. 

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As Boss Hunting readers well know, these sorts of narrative hooks occasionally run the risk of sliding into gimmickry. 

Fortunately, even if you’re not giddy about the prospect of discovering the 100+ colourful characters to which the property is dedicated; MACq 01 remains a comfortable and perfectly convenient basecamp — ideally suited to those who are looking to beat the proverbial cobblestones of Hobart. 

Read our full MACq 01 hotel review below.

MACq 01 Hotel Review – Contents

  1. Location
  2. Design & Aesthetic
  3. Rooms
  4. Food & Drink
  5. Service
  6. Verdict & Value


macq01 hotel review

Situated in a loft-like triple-storey structure (the majority of which renders superb views of such downtown landmarks as Franklin Square and Salamanca Place) it’s no small achievement when we say that MACq 01 offers probably the best location for accommodation in the city bar none. 

Built completely from scratch – again, in vivid contrast to the neighbouring Henry Jones Art Hotel — the waterfront side of MACq 01 is occupied by an expansive promenade. From here, patrons are encouraged to sip a crisp beverage: ideally whilst taking in the rich tapestry of fishing boats, pleasure vessels and milling crowds who flock (for transport and dining) to nearby Constitution Dock. 

Handily, the property’s Hunter Street locale also means that guests can be at Hobart Airport within 20 minutes — a real boon for business travellers and those who don’t fancy requesting a late check-out. 

Design & Aesthetic

At the inception of MACq 01, it’s evident Federal Group’s interior designers had their eyes set firmly on the ‘industrial chic’ prize. To that end, the hotel’s vast roof slopes gently down across the guestroom floors: all three of which share an internal mezzanine that is great for showcasing art pieces and haloing Constitution Dock’s famously sun-drenched surroundings.

Upon the threshold of every guestroom (regardless of size or location) you’ll spy hammered plaques adorned with a specific individual’s portrait and biography: a snapshot of the personality ‘archetype’ that has inspired the various aesthetic accents inside your room.

As it happens, mine is dedicated to the ‘fighting believer’ known as Walter George Arthur: an Aboriginal leader of the Ben Lomond people whose fascinating life embodies a microcosm of the ‘storytelling’ theme that’s so entrenched at MACq 01.

To Tasmanian historians, George Arthur is best known for his outsized role in preparing a petition to Queen Victoria in 1846: a replica of which is displayed in the hallway connecting the living area and front door. Colourful pops of teal and coral also find their way into the fixtures; and are an oblique reference to George Arthur’s fondness for maritime adventures.

Such character-based details can be found in each and every one of the 114 rooms & suites throughout the hotel; lending a degree of irreverent, understated personality.


Pictured: The ‘Superior Room’ floorplan is also available facing towards Hunter Street, but if you’re seriously not going to spring for the views at MACq 01, then why bother?

For the purposes of this review, I was conveniently accommodated in one of MACq 01’s ‘Superior Waterfront rooms’. As advertised, this floorplan’s killer feature undoubtedly has to be its unobstructed harbourside vantage.

Step onto the terrace and you’ll be greeted by ear-to-ear views of tranquil Tassie water; flanked by Hobart’s undulating low-rise landscape, which for good measure, is dotted every so often by charming historic buildings cobbled in the archetypal Georgian style. 

Inside, the creature comforts are as you’d expect from a very slick regional operator. The Superior Waterfront comes equipped with a large king-sized bed; double vanities (an essential feature when travelling with your plus one); and a typically sized bathtub and walk-in shower.

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Less lovely is the way in which negative space is utilised. Occasionally, I got the sense that individual bits of furniture were placed an arbitrary distance from one another — leading to the sensation of a sparse, somewhat haphazard atmosphere (particularly if you’re used to staying in hotels that emphasise intelligent use of limited square footage). 

Overall, it’s a small gripe: particularly when 99.9% of your attention is held captive by what must surely rank as the city of Hobart’s best view.

Food & Drink

Pictured: Evolve Spirits Bar, the hotel’s signature pleasure pit for all things whisky and craft cocktails.

Discounting the lobby (where the staff encourage you to relax with a couple of drinks around a roaring, concentric fireplace) MACq 01 offers three options to cater to all your sipping & supping needs.

In the realm of libations, Evolve Spirits Bar is a popular spot amongst well-heeled Tassie locals. Given its moniker, there are no prizes for deciphering what the house specialty here happens to be. With a library of over 100 Tasmanian single malt whiskies to choose from, it’s a fantastic post-dinner haunt — especially if you have a nose for rare, mature-age dark spirits. 

macq01 hotel review
Pictured: Story Bar is an excellent option if you’re looking to pop in during the day for a quick beverage.

Conversely, Story Bar presents an ideal option for those with a ha for the perfect sundowner. Personally — as somebody who is significantly more partial to grappa over grain — I was keen to take advantage of the in-venue ‘Arras In The City’ promotion: essentially a taster’s flight from the eponymous award-winning producer of local sparkling wines (which you can read my in-depth review of here). 

macq01 hotel review
Pictured: The Old Wharf is MACq 01’s main all-day dining restaurant, offering an à la carte menu that showcases the best of seasonal Tasmanian produce.

That leaves the Old Wharf Restaurant: MACq 01’s sole signature dining venue; where the watchwords are “Tassie”, “local”, and “fresh seasonal produce”. The kitchen’s culinary chops shine through the brightest at breakfast time; with the dinner service coming in a close second. 

Aside from a few forgivable stumbles whilst ordering, favourites of ‘modern Aussie’ cuisine like duck croquettes and sticky toffee pudding meet our forks with aplomb. Unusually for an all-day in-house restaurant, the desserts here are an especially strong suit — something I feel compelled to draw attention to, considering how many large commercial hotel chains fall down time and time again in this area.


In line with the aforementioned emphasis on “storytelling”, the staff at MACq 01 are almost always up for a good (not to mention assiduously researched) yarn. 

The hotel’s specialist ‘storytellers’ — who may be distinguished by their charming, slightly steampunk-ish uniforms — run tours at regular intervals: covering the myriad characters to which the rooms & suites are dedicated; in addition to the adjacent waterfront areas. (Pro Tip: if you’re hankering for coffee or a well-attended F&B destination, be sure to ask these intrepid volunteers for their personal recommendation.) 

Elsewhere, service among the property’s front-of-house team/ concierge is friendly, unrushed, and — shall we say — ‘situationally attentive’. So, classic Tassie then.

Verdict & Value

Seeing as how Hobart — and indeed, much of Southern Tasmania — has become a popular year-round getaway for denizens of the mainland; it can be difficult to gauge whether $540 (i.e. the average nightly rate on weekends) is priced a touch high.

That being said, considering the city’s burgeoning popularity, you can be assured that whatever you’re getting for the equivalent price in Melbourne or Sydney is unlikely to boast the same combo of floorspace, marvellous vistas and in-room character.

For that reason alone, we reckon that MACq 01 is worth a visit — whether you’re down for the weekend to avail yourself of Tasmania’s world-class produce and whisky trail, or simply in need of a convenient spot to situate yourself between meetings.

MACq 01, Hobart

Address: 18 Hunter Street, Hobart, TAS, Australia
Contact: (03) 6210 7600

Superior Waterfront Rooms start at $510.
The author stayed for two nights as a guest of MACq 01.

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Randy Lai
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].


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