The capital of the Australian island of Tasmania, Hobart, is the country’s smallest and most historic capital. It sits at the southeastern edge of the River Derwent, overlooking the Tasman Sea. Besides the obviously mesmerizing meld of culture and art, we also loved Hobart and its quaint Colonial architecture, for which it’s famous. What’s more, we found Hobart, and Tasmania as a whole, to be extremely Liberal and very welcoming towards the LGBTQ set. In fact, we found a smattering of choices for gay accommodation in Hobart. And even though the gay scene is still developing, it’s very much a part of the fabric and thriving indeed. In fact, Hobart even celebrates Tasmania Pride, which we got to experience firsthand.
Another reason why we wanted to see the trendy Hobart so badly is because the city has so much to see. The picturesque city boasts a stunning harborside district that’s packed with galleries, museums, street cafes, and bars. Moreover, it was also home to the only gay bar in Tasmania, which, unfortunately, shut during the pandemic. The suburbs, on the other hand, feature striking Regency and Victorian cottages overlooking the harbor. And, of course, the utterly gorgeous Tasmanian outdoors were right at our doorstep. For instance, Bruny Island, one of the most beautiful Australian Islands, is a mere hour away from Hobart.
Tasmania might be isolated from the rest of Australia, but it has reveled in it and transformed itself as very gay-friendly. Hobart is at the helm of that change and is one amazing destination for which we’ve drawn up this useful guide.
Table of contents
- Moss Hotel
- Hadley’s Orient Hotel
- Islington Hotel
- The Henry Jones Art Hotel
- The Corinda Collection
- Salamanca Wharf Hotel
- The Pickled Frog
- Somerset on the Pier Hobart
- Hobart Central YHA
- MACq 01
- MontaCUTE Boutique Bunkhouse
- Our Verdict!
We were looking for a cozy cocoon rather than a traditional hotel when we stumbled upon the newest addition to Hobart’s hotel list, the Moss Hotel at Salamanca Place. The exterior, a pair of sandstone warehouses, led the way to what was an impressive reception with a lush green living wall. Upon closer inspection, we realized it was a collection of 6,000 Tasmanian moss-covered stones and plants!
We were impressed by the many room styles, like those with Bose sound systems, minibars, sandstone walls, and exposed beams. However, we went for the larger Grove rooms, which either came with private balconies or deep-soak bathtubs. And it’s no surprise that we chose the bath option, which came with a luxurious dark-green bathroom, an amazing king bed, and wonderful views of the property and Hobart beyond.
Even though Moss doesn’t have an onsite restaurant and bar, we had myriad choices for drinks and dining around the hotel. Plus, the staff is more than happy to ply us with tips about the best Australian fare in the town.
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Hadley’s Orient Hotel
Best heritage. Imagine finding a wallet-friendly, gay-friendly stay in a Victorian-era hotel in Hobart – now, who’d be able to resist that? We were blown away by Hadley’s Orient Hotel, which sat smack dab in the city center and within walking distance of Hobart’s sights. In fact, we were able to indulge in this amazing Historic Lunch Cruise of Hobart due to just that!
The 1834-built hotel was brimming with vintage charm, complete with Victorian-era furnishings and formal rooms for breakfast, afternoon tea, dining, and drinking. We were transported back to the 1920s in the afternoon tea room and bar, complete with a ‘Great Gatsby’ charm. Cane chairs and chandeliers ruled the roost in the bar, while the afternoon tea-hosting atrium sat beneath a skylit roof swathed in lush foliage. If all this wasn’t enough, the first-night turndown service and the permanent art gallery lend the hotel a lovely old-fashioned feel. We even had the choice of a continental or hot breakfast, both of which were sumptuous. Plus, we felt that the afternoon tea was an experience not to be missed out on.
The compact but modern bathrooms were a mainstay, as were heavy drapes, fluffy beds, and modern amenities. If you prefer quiet, choose one at the rear of the hotel. However, views are important to us, so we chose the frontal ones with views of the cathedral.
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Best boutique. We camped out in quiet but indulgent seclusion at the Islington Hotel, one of the most tranquil and romantic gay accommodation choices in Hobart. It’s a short drive from the city center, but the sophisticated hotel, with its cozy and quiet nooks for romantic and intimate moments, was perfect for us. Since it also lay amidst some of Australia’s prettiest historical streets, long romantic walks were one of the best activities we’d indulge in.
This quintessential boutique hotel sits in an 1847-built Regency-style house and felt more like a private home. It was filled with Tasmanian antiques and curios, complete with a most impressive art collection. We were welcomed into the salon and shown around when we arrived at the grand entrance. The staff was unfailingly efficient and took care of our every whim and fancy. We would lounge in one of the three gorgeous salons and sip drinks from the honor bar while reading a book in the library. The ultimate experience was the garden brimming with a veggie patch, fruit trees, and an ancient weeping willow. Aside from a hushed restaurant and a hearty breakfast, the hotel even left us biscuits and muffins to sample!
Every last one of the 11 rooms had slick in-room mod-cons, overstuffed, cloud-like beds, and modern marble bathrooms. We’d enjoy long baths in the for-two freestanding bathtubs before moving to the soft bed and binging on-demand movies. Mornings were for enjoying the hushed coziness while sipping on coffee or tea in the room. If you’re looking for the ultimate experience, then go for the Regency Suites.
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The Henry Jones Art Hotel
Best views. The Henry Jones Art Hotel occupies what has been Hobart’s prime real estate for a long, long time – the Old Wharf. The place is steeped in Tasmanian history and offered one of the best all-round views of Mount Wellington, the city, and the harbor. Thus, it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most popular and sought-after gay hotels in Hobart.
Henry Jones is touted as Australia’s first ‘art hotel’ and features a singular collection of contemporary Tasmanian art. We loved the influences of the early 21st century while retaining elements of historical architecture like the sandstone walls. However, the best historic highlight is the Peacock Suite’s spiral staircase, the oldest spiral staircase in all of Tasmania! We went click-happy while snapping photographs of this historical feature. Aside from modern amenities like the gym, we loved the focus on the local charm. For instance, there was a terrific shop that not only has delightful local crafts but also hosts history and art tours. Plus, the concierge team had some distinctive travel tips about Hobart’s hidden gems, which we loved. Besides two restaurants, there was even an à la carte breakfast in the lobby.
All rooms cleverly retained original architectural details with modern amenities like minibars and slick bathrooms. We’d recommend one of the Waterfront Spa suites, where we also stayed, which had striking harbor views and huge spa baths.
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The Corinda Collection
The suburb of Glebe was nothing short of a halcyon hilltop hideaway, and the Corinda Collection was its heart. This charming gay stay in Hobart sat in a stunning Victorian inn, combining spectacular views and serenity with a warm and inviting atmosphere. The surroundings added pizzazz to our Instagram; think fragrant gardens, scenic views, pretty streets, and heritage homes. In spite of the soothing silence, we were merely a 10-15 minute walk from the city center.
A timber merchant’s lovingly restored 19th-century home retained its Victorian-era features, like the grand blackwood staircase. We loved the huge collection of books, artwork, and antique collectibles that made the place feel so personal and charming. The service was impeccably hands-on and gracious, and the owners were more than happy to regale us with the inn’s history and town. The standout here was the magnificent Wonderland-like garden. It boasts a flourishing kitchen garden, as well as textured shrubs and exotic trees, and was a wonderful place to take a walk or do botanical tours. There are even remnants of a wall dating back to the Colonial era! Besides the honesty bar, the place even served a mean breakfast in the pretty veranda conservatory.
Rooms here, including two contemporary pavilions and three Victorian-style cottages, were generous. They were all named after members of the merchant’s family and boasted sweeping views of the harbor, the mountains, and the sea. Gorgeous bathrooms, cozy beds, and thoughtful décor made each of the rooms one pretty picture.
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Salamanca Wharf Hotel
Best waterfront. No one did contemporary stay on Hobart’s waterfront better than the Salamanca Wharf Hotel, which is also one of the town’s hip pioneers. As the name suggests, the place boasted a historic and pretty harbor-front locale. It was not only peaceful but was also close to everything in the town, which is what added to its appeal.
The hotel is the zenith of understated contemporary architecture in the town and had 22 rooms spread over 4 stories. The simple furnishings blended beautifully with the bold landscape photography, accented kitchens, and natural woods. Since it’s an apartment hotel, the hotel didn’t have anything in the way of amenities. However, the café downstairs did serve a delectable breakfast; think coffee, waffles, healthy bowls, granola, corn fritters, full fry-ups, and the like. Plus, it hosted a late afternoon happy hour with Tasmanian beer and wine, after which we explored Hobart’s nightlife. If that wasn’t enough, we even had access to the kitchen for whipping up some quick meals.
We could choose from lofts, studios, and premiums, all of which came with balconies. The signature deep-blue kitchens with excellent equipment and stockpiles of food ruled the roost here. While the lofts here came with spa baths, we went for the front rooms for views of the docks.
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The Pickled Frog
Best budget. Since we’re a bunch of social butterflies and party monsters looking for budget gay accommodation in Hobart, we looked no further than the Pickled Frog. It sat right in the heart of town. Its fun vibe also made it the best party hostel in Hobart!
The center of all action at the Pickled Frog was the front lounge, which was a bar and a place to hang out all rolled into one. There was an open fire, which was the perfect place to guzzle a Tasmanian beer in colder months. We especially loved the guitars that we could borrow to play, as well as the book nook. There was even a pool table and a dartboard where we could strike up interesting conversations with fellow travelers. Moreover, the shared kitchen was perfect for whipping up quick and cheap meals. The fact that the staff was really knowledgeable about Hobart, and Tasmania in general, was a delightful surprise.
When it came to accommodation, we had the choice of both female-only/mixed dorms as well as private rooms. The immaculate bathrooms and plush beds made staying here very comfortable.
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Somerset on the Pier Hobart
What’s better than staying right on the pier in Hobart? Welcome to Somerset on the Pier, one of the best LGBTQ hotels in Hobart on the waterfront. Soothing vistas of the sky and the sea aside, we weren’t far from the city center either. And, of course, the fact that the pier was right out front did help a lot, too.
Somerset offered immense value for money when it came to the stay, with well-designed interiors, fresh flowers everywhere, and even nice touches like apples on pillows and wine in the fridges. The staff was not only efficient but also accommodating and dished out solid advice on what to do and where. Even though facilities were on the down-low, there was a large lounge area with an iMac, DVDs, and a collection of magazines and books. Despite not having an onsite restaurant, Somerset gave us vouchers for welcome cocktails and a glass of Tasmanian wine at two of the neighborhood’s best drinking spots. What’s more, it even offered room service between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., perfect for dinnertime.
“Staying at the Somerset allowed us to stay the way we wanted, but with privacy, excellent amenities, and gorgeous views.”WOW Travel
We could choose from the large, open-plan loft-style rooms or Premium apartments with harbor-facing balconies. Besides large bathrooms, the kitchens were well-equipped for longer stays. Plus, the beds tucked away on mezzanine floors were perfect for cozy sleep-ins.
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Hobart Central YHA
For those who’re looking to tighten the purse strings, the Hobart Central YHA is another excellent budget gay accommodation in Hobart. It lies close to the waterfront as well as the town center and is the perfect base to explore the top things to do in Hobart.
Don’t be put off by the YHA tag, for it’s one of the coolest hostels in the town. The massive social lounge is the hub of all action – and inaction, too- if you only want to watch TV. A laidback vibe permeated the entire space, right from the lounge to the shared kitchen, where we could whip up meals to combat untimely hunger pangs. The staff were big on local travel tips and even helped us book onward tickets and tours. Moreover, the hostel had an ever-changing weekly roster of activities, from barbeque nights to pub crawls. So, no matter the day or time, we never missed out on any fun.
Like other hostels, we could choose from shared dorms, female-only and mixed ones, and private rooms. The private rooms offered real value and came with private bathrooms, coffee/tea facilities, a heater, and TVs.
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Who says there isn’t style on the Hobart waterfront? The MACq 01 is Hobart’s most glamorous waterfront hotel, and also LGBTQ-friendly at that. It sat on the most historic wharf in town and boasted excellent views of the Derwent River, Mount Wellington, and the Tasman Sea. A comfortable 10-minute stroll brought us right to the town center and all its best entertainment, shopping, and dining.
From the inside, the hotel felt more like a cruise liner, with lots of white cypresses and timber and low-slung cavernous interiors. Clever design touches were evident everywhere, especially using historic newspapers to decorate the Story Bar and circular seating around the main fireplace. Besides a gym, the onsite restaurant and bar took care of all meals and drink cravings. In fact, the Story Bar was perfect for an after-dinner drink or a nightcap before we retired for the night. Since it calls itself a “storytelling hotel,” MACq 01 has in-house storytellers that conduct regular free walking tours around the city, the waterfront, and the hotel.
Choose from street-facing or waterfront-facing rooms and suites at the hotel, each of which is named for a prominent Tasmanian. All the latest gizmos, modern bathrooms, and balconies were a mainstay, but it’s the views that were the ultimate. It’s no wonder that this sleek Hobart stay is so gay-popular.
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MontaCUTE Boutique Bunkhouse
Best guesthouse. The MontaCUTE Boutique Guesthouse really lived up to its name and is one of the cutest gay stays in Hobart. The boutique hostel sat in an 1895-built mansion in the suburb of Battery Point, complete with lush gardens surrounding it. Moreover, it was a mere 10-minute stroll from the town center. Run by a local couple, the hostel really was chic-living-on-a-budget. Is it a guesthouse? Not really. Is it a hotel? Not exactly. It’s best described as no hostel we’d ever seen before.
For one, it was full of cozy nooks and crannies, patios and verandahs, and lovely lounges. There’s a spanking new shared kitchen with excellent appliances that even included a sandwich maker! The lush lawns had picnic rugs for lazing out in the sun, as well as alfresco tables and umbrellas. During colder climes, the cozy sitting room with the open fire was the best place to warm up or swap stories with fellow travelers. The balcony was a lovely place to begin our day with a hearty, home-cooked breakfast.
Interestingly, this place offered shared rooms with four bunks and private double rooms. What’s more, the bathrooms were just like the rest of the house – immaculate and chic.
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Hobart has a slew of amazing LGBTQ-friendly hotels, as we’ve seen above. That said, we’ve drawn up a specialized list of hotels for their specifically amazing features:
- Best heritage: Hadley’s Orient Hotel
- Best boutique: Islington Hotel
- Best views: The Henry Jones Art Hotel
- Best waterfront: Salamanca Wharf Hotel
- Best budget: The Pickled Frog
- Best guesthouse: MontaCUTE Boutique Bunkhouse
Get Some Culture in Hobart:
- TasPride – The amazing and successful TasPride Festival unifies and celebrates the LGBTQ community of Tasmania. Besides a parade, there are art and cultural events, talks, and parties. The flagship events take place in Hobart every February, which is also when offshoot gatherings from grassroots community groups pop up all over Tasmania. The signature Pride Parade and Party takes place in the Park, with the parade moving through Hobart’s streets to reach Franklin Square.
- Queer History Walk: Did you know that Hobart was once called the “Sodom of the South Seas?” This February history walking tour takes you through the town’s long and fascinating LGBTIQ+ history, from the roaring ‘20s to the changing ‘90s. It’s led by former tour guides and history buffs Rodney Croome and Martine Delaney.
- Mona Foma and Dark Mofo: These are two of Tasmania’s signature summer and winter festivals that also happen to celebrate and feature world-renowned LGBTQIA+ artists and performers and host queer-oriented events.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Hobart:
- Flamingos Dance Bar – This was Hobart’s and Tasmania’s only, and rather fabulous, LGBTQI+ destination that unfortunately shut shop during the pandemic. When it was open, it was all about themed parties and pumping disco/dance.
Best Gay Saunas in Hobart:
Hobart doesn’t have a gay sauna scene yet. However, you can talk to LGBTQ locals and find out more about massage places.