Sweet home

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - Jes­sica Howard Any­one in­ter­ested in putting their own amaz­ing home up for con­sid­er­a­tion for house of the week can email jes­sica.howard@news.com.au

KELLY Cloake has gone from cafe worker to co- owner and man­ager of a hip bou­tique bud­get ho­tel in the cen­tre of Ho­bart af­ter a chance meet­ing with the build­ing’s owner.

Open­ing in late Oc­to­ber, the Alabama Ho­tel is the lat­est in­car­na­tion of the im­pos­ing art deco build­ing on Liver­pool St which has quite a bit of his­tory be­hind it.

Built in the 1830s, it opened as a ho­tel in 1867 and was up­dated in the 1930s. It is be­lieved to be the fi rst ho­tel in Ho­bart to have had a take­away bot­tle shop and takes its name from the USS Alabama, which vis­ited Ho­bart at the time of open­ing.

“I found some old pho­tos of it be­fore it had the deco fa­cade,” Kelly said.

“It was Ge­or­gian with a fl at top and then the deco fa­cade was put on about 100 years later, but I haven’t been able to date it ex­actly just yet.”

Queens­land- born Kelly and her part­ner, Aedan Howlett, moved to Tas­ma­nia six years ago from Fre­man­tle.

Kelly’s var­ied work in ad­min­is­tra­tion, back­packer ac­com­mo­da­tion, tick­et­ing and hos­pi­tal­ity primed her for the op­por­tu­nity to make some­thing of the Alabama Ho­tel.

Used by the Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia over the past nine years for stu­dent ac­com­mo­da­tion, the build­ing’s owner was look­ing to re- es­tab­lish the deco gem when he got in con­tact with artist Aedan.

“It was empty from Jan­uary to Septem­ber [ last year] when we got the keys,” Kelly said.

“In that time they re­painted and re- car­peted, so it was in re­ally good shape when we got it.

“The owner was think­ing of turn­ing it into a back­pack­ers so he asked Aedan to do a mu­ral – and when that didn’t work out, Aedan said, ‘ Oh yeah, Kelly could run that’.

“So I kind of got dobbed in but it’s been great.”

The funky 17- room ho­tel has been decked out with vin­tage fur­ni­ture and art pieces which have cre­ated a wel­com­ing vibe.

“My style at home is ’ 60s and ’ 70s retro but with the old club lounges down­stairs I think I’ve gone a bit older than that here,” Kelly said.

“Some things came from our house – it was nice to have a clean- out, ac­tu­ally – and a lot of it came from op shops and Gumtree.”

The ground floor is home to the bar, re­cep­tion, lounge room and sunny bal­cony over­look­ing Liver­pool St.

The area fea­tures some of the most in­ter­est­ing vin­tage pieces, in­clud­ing the orig­i­nal cash reg­is­ter, and the bar is open to the pub­lic for cof­fee or an af­ter- work drink.

Each bed­room is uniquely dec­o­rated and bath­rooms are com­mu­nal.

Guests of all kinds have taken to the com­fort­able and re­laxed en­vi­ron­ment.

“The week we opened in late Oc­to­ber, the place was booked out al­ready for the week of MONA FOMA,” Kelly said.

“Ev­ery­one who was here was here for the fes­ti­val, so by day they were all re­cov­er­ing from their big nights. I made a lot of bloody marys that week.

“In the be­gin­ning, I thought our guests would tend to be peo­ple in their 20s who didn’t re­ally want to stay in dorm rooms any­more but didn’t want to pay $ 200 a night, ei­ther.

“But it’s been much broader than that – we’ve had for­eign visi­tors and peo­ple of all ages.”

Check it out at www.al­abama­ho­bart.com.au

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