Boutique hotel Moss opens in Hobart’s Salamanca Place

by James Wilkinson

Set in the historic docks of Hobart’s Salamanca Place in Georgian sandstone warehouses is Moss, a 41-room boutique hotel which has just opened for business.

The latest business venture for the family-owned Behrakis Group, Moss brings the Tasmanian wilderness into the heart of Hobart’s vibrant culinary and cultural centre.

At Moss, guests are invited into a secret hidden world above the busy trader stretch of Salamanca Place, allowing them to be immersed in all that Hobart and Tasmania have to offer.

Opening in two stages, Moss 39 being the first with Moss 25 in September, guests can choose from four rooms types– Bower, Grove, Grove Balcony and Grove Bath. These rooms, spread across the first and second floors and attic spaces of Moss 39 and 25, feature the added dimension of greenery brought inside through the use of vertical internal gardens and moss. The rooms also highlight the raw timber beams and sandstone block walls within the heritage warehouses.

Studio Ongarato was tasked to create a unique brand narrative which complemented the rich histories of the Moss hotel sites, working on Moss’ brand strategy, naming, brand collateral, signage and art curation and art direction. Fabio Ongarato, Creative Director and co-founder of Studio Ongarato said of the project, “Our design response embodies perceptions of the island state as a refuge of nature and wilderness but also as a culturally independent and artistically adventurous community,”

The Behrakis Group enlisted Ganche Chua from renowned Tasmanian architects Circa Morris Nunn on the multi-million-dollar project to re-imagine the interior of Moss’ historic buildings. Known as Tasmania’s leading architects in the conservation and adaptation of historic buildings, Ganche Chua has transformed Moss into an inner-city sanctuary within the architectural concept of the warehouses.

With a nature-inspired concept, guests will feel instantly relaxed when greeted with the natural colour palette of Moss – deep, forest greens paired with Tasmanian timbers. Of the colours used in Moss, Fabio Ongarato said, “In colour philosophy, green is the colour of life, renewal and nature. It is associated with growth, harmony, freshness and the natural environment. Our design concept responded to the architecture and interiors at Moss by curating a collection of green artefacts that explore the philosophy of green.”

Weaving unique Tasmanian features into Moss, showcased throughout the hotel are the works of local artisans, emphasising the culturally independent and artistically adventurous community of Tasmania. From Andrew Bull’s Tasmanian Blackwood joinery found in the bedheads and bedside tables of the guest rooms and shelves of the common spaces, to Hannah Lorenz’s bespoke cushions which are inspired by the colours, textures and patterns found in Tasmania’s natural landscape, to the Tasmanian timbers used in Matt Prince’s Oak Noon Chairs and Dowell Tables in the guest rooms and Scott Van Tuil’s Blackwood Loft Lounges, Oak coffee tables and Tasmanian Sandstone side tables in the common spaces, there are pure Tasmanian elements at every touchpoint.

Floor to ceiling hand-painted moss-green custom tiles from Italy are featured in the bathrooms, courtesy of local stonemasons – Behrakis Holdings and Apollo Marble. They have also supplied the hand-cut stone from around the world for the room door numbers. The finishing touch to every room and common space is a print by the renowned Australian photographer Derek Henderson, who was commissioned by Studio Ongarato to capture the elements of Hobart and Tasmania that Moss’ guests would not normally find on the regular tourist journey, and it is these works that are displayed on the walls of the hotel.

Together with his brother Dennis, Peter Behrakis – Managing Director of The Behrakis Group – has owned properties in the heart of Salamanca Place for many years and has been influential in transforming Salamanca Place into a thriving cultural and hospitality precinct. Peter said of Moss, “I always knew that these old warehouse buildings would lend themselves to a great hotel conversion – it was just a matter of waiting for the right moment – which is now.”

With its prime location in the heart of Salamanca Place, Moss is a springboard to the rich cuisine, culture and nature of Tasmania. The Behrakis family and their Salamanca Fresh, a food store, have traded along Salamanca for nearly 40 years, and have partnered with the best of Tasmania’s producers to offer guests fine foods and beverages in the hotel’s mini bar. From Sud Polaire gin, which is distilled and bottled by hand locally, to Federation chocolates and Tasmanian cheese, Moss showcases the very best of local produce.

For guests wanting to sample the culinary offerings Hobart is becoming renowned for, Moss provides easy walking distance to a wide variety of many of the city’s acclaimed restaurants. Underpinned by a desire to ensure their guests are immersed in all Hobart and Tasmania have to offer, Moss has created the Host’s Bible, where guests will find over one hundred of Moss’ favourite bars, pubs and restaurants. The connected insider, Moss offers guests an insight into the most authentic Tasmanian experiences, allowing them to be immersed in it all and escape the everyday.