This 20-suite ‘gem’ overlooks the wide swath of Great Oyster Bay and is named after the Freycinet Peninsula, whose colors inspire the hotel, both inside and out. There’s the pink granite of the Hazards Mountains, the white sandy beaches, sapphire-blue waters, and the gray-green of the native bushland. Migrating whales and dolphin cross in front of you, traversing some of the cleanest water in the world.
Owned by Tasmania’s Federal Group, which also owns the well-known Henry Jones Art Hotel, the undulating design was created by an ‘adventurous and innovative’ Hobart firm Circa that often focuses on sustainable architecture and has won awards for its creations. The hotel, though breathtaking, is also understated. There are three kinds of suites, where the furnishings feature an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary, with locally made timber pieces alongside mid-century classics, such as chairs designed by Charles and Ray Eames and Herman Miller. A spa and gym balance off outdoor activities, on land – walks or biking to Cape Tourville or Wineglass Bay – or on the water. For gourmands, there are cooking demonstrations and tours of local vineyards.
In its development, the hotel followed a principle of protecting healthy sites and healing damaged ones. The site chosen for the hotel had been severely degraded and eroded from past use as a caravan park and backpackers’ accommodation. A lot of time was spent replanting 30,000 native plants to try resuscitate the bushland. Consideration was also given to bushfire management, the collection and conservation of rain water, and the minimal use of night lighting of landscaped areas – the designers placed great emphasis on keeping the hillside as dark as possible – as well as the visibility outside of internal lights.
In the restaurant and bar area, locally sourced produce is used, and there is an on-site vegetable garden for the hotel and where appropriate waste from the kitchen is used for compost. All Saffire staff are trained in environmentally sustainable work practices.
Tasmania’s east coast has more than 300 rain-free days a year, which, though glorious, has led to water restrictions in the past. In a collaboration with state and private parties, the Federal Group has provided a freshwater solution for the area. It has ‘drought-proofed’ the township, with a total of 350 megaliters currently in the catchment area. Saffire will use about five megaliters.