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(Australian Associated Press)
Alfred Crisp served as Hobart’s lord mayor more than once, but back in the early 1880s, he was merely a timber merchant, looking for somewhere he and his wife could raise their 10 children.
The wealthy businessman bought a block of land close to town and built his grand family home. The estate consisted of of a main house with servant’s quarters, a coach house and lavish gardens.
Corinda remained in the family with one of Albert’s daughters until 1930, after which it became a boarding house for 30 years. Subsequent owners won a National Trust Preservation award for the home’s restoration in 1995 and so the process began to transform the historic beauty into a bed and breakfast.
Fast-forward to 2018 and Corinda has found its way back into the fold, with Alfred’s great great grandson, Julian Roberts, now walking its halls.
Julian and his partner Chaxi now own and manage the property as a boutique hotel. The couple says they couldn’t turn down the opportunity to bring the ancestral home back into the family once it came onto the market.
With the property’s significant original allotment of 1796 square metres, location only minutes to the city centre, and stunning views across the waterfront and River Derwent, Corinda is now arguably one the biggest, best located and most impressive properties in Hobart.
When I arrive late one autumn afternoon, there is no reception, no hustle and bustle of check-in, and not another person in sight. I use a pin code to unlock the front door and walk inside, into what feels like another time and place.
I wonder the halls, admiring the ornate features, high ceilings, coloured stained glass, fireplaces, cornices, ceiling roses and iron lacework.
Everywhere I look the timber is beautiful. I find out later it’s mostly Tasmanian Huon pine and blackwood.
I stumble across the Drawing Room, a common room where any guest can pour a drink from the honesty bar, take a seat on the sofa, and relax by the fire.
One of my favourite things about Corinda is that I don’t feel like I’m in a hotel; I feel like a guest in an old friend’s home.
There are six private heritage rooms, each with their own theme, all as opulent as the next.
These renovations have been carried out in a way to blend in with the original aesthetic and federation charm, while offering all the amenities and luxuries a modern traveller needs.
All named after members of the Crisp family, I stay in “Alfred Crisp’s Room”, adorned with stunning textiles, one-of-a-kind antiques, and hand-picked paintings, art, and statues.
There’s a gorgeous, native cedar wardrobe circa 1860s, a chest of drawers with barley twist columns, a cedar chaise lounge, and a gothic bedside table of native black oak.
After indulging in a bath in the antique claw-footed tub, I snuggle between the crisp cotton sheets and drift off into the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a long time.
In the morning, sun rays bounce off the harbour and in through my wide bay window. I slip down into the garden to soak them up.
It all feels very English, with its quaint paths, delightful flowering plants and tall, established trees. Someone has been trimming the hedges into immaculate wombats, penguins, and birds.
Julian is preparing breakfast inside in the new kitchen.The original house didn’t need a kitchen – it was in the servant’s quarters. What does remain here, however, is the old crank and bell used to summon those servants.
I decide not to crank the bell, and take a seat in the sun-filled enclosed verandah where I enjoy a delicious breakfast made with locally-sourced seasonal Tasmanian produce, some from Corinda’s own garden.
Julian and Chaxi make Corinda feel so welcoming and so homely – not in a “Nanna’s moth balls” kind of way, but with their friendly hospitality. It feels like their family home, a remarkable gift from a great, great grandfather.
IF YOU GO
GETTING THERE: Corinda is in the inner-city suburb of Glebe, a 20-minute drive from Hobart Airport.
STAYING THERE: As well as the rooms in the main house, there are three self-contained accommodation options on the property: the Coach House, Servants’ Quarters, and Gardener’s Cottage. Prices vary. Visit https://www.corindacollection.com.au/
The journalist stayed as a guest of Corinda.