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Sunday 23 November 2014

A chic city centre hotel for $80 a night? Believe it.

City centre hotels in Australia tend to be expensive. Particularly in major cities like Sydney and Melbourne. where you can easily spend $250-300 a night. 

Hobart, the delightfully laid-back capital of Tasmania, is rather more affordable, with choices like the Hotel Collins and Grand Chancellor often available at on line booking sites like for around $135-145 in the off-peak seasons. 

During peak times, including the Taste of Tasmania Festival, MOFO and the Wooden Boat Festival, it can be hard to find anywhere to stay at all - let alone on a budget.

Which is why anyone visiting Hobart, or Tasmanian locals who don't want to have to drive home after a big night out, should mark The Alabama Hotel into their little black books. 

The Alabama has been open for around 12 months now - and its virtues have largely been spread by word of mouth. Rooms here start from $80 a night and larger, more comfortable rooms cost $100. That's a flat rate, so it pays to book early before the Alabama gets booked out, as it often does. 

In Liverpool Street, in the city centre, the Alabama re-opened late in 2013 after being closed for a decade. The building was erected in the late 1830s but didn’t open as a hotel until 1867, while the art deco facade was probably added in the 1930s.

It describes itself as a "boutique budget hotel" filling the gap in the accommodation market between a backpackers' hostel and a chain hotel. 

There are 17 rooms, each different, styled with original artworks, vintage touches and very comfortable beds. The retro-chic rooms are clean, comfortable and secure, but don't expect flat-screen TVs, iPod docks and fluffy robes. 

"By keeping the layout as it is, we can keep our rates lower for guests and maintain our “boutique budget” descriptor," the owners say. 

There is, however, fast and free wi-fi, a very comfortable lounge and bar area and helpful staff. The lounge bar, with a lovely balcony, serves quality beers, wines and spirits but does not sell cocktails or shots and closes at 9pm. It's a great spot for a pre-dinner drink. 

The setback, and you knew there was one coming, is that there are no en suite bathrooms - but shower and toilet facilities are shared - which, in my book, is fine for one or two nights is less than ideal for a week. 

Cosy standard queen-bed rooms are priced at $80 per night, twin rooms at $90 and deluxe queens, with a view down Liverpool Street, are $100. There's no suites. The rooms overlooking the street can be a little noisy, so it pays to choose your room with care. 

I loved the vibe of the place, its location and the obvious pride the staff have. It's a little gem if you can live without your own bathroom, and want to spend less money on a bed and more on Tasmania's outstanding food and wine.

Alabama Hotel, Level 1, 72 Liverpool Street, Hobart, Tasmania. 0499 987 698.



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  2. Hi. Thank you so much for sharing your experience in this hotel. Also I would like to share my experience here in Hotel Atura Dandenong Melbourne. This hotel can give you a good service, they have kind staffs and great facilities. I am sure that you'll enjoy your summer vacation here.