Salamanca Inn

Tasmania recently underwent a $2.1 million dollar refurbishment in the form of 4½-star hotel, the Salamanca Inn.

Managed by Andrew Fuglsang, the 23-year old property that takes up 64 rooms within Tasmania’s capital, Hobart, is now enjoying plenty of benefits from its massive internal renovations. The multi-million dollar project involved all rooms undergoing a major overhaul; including, state-of-the-art kitchens, fully integrated and luxurious bathrooms, cabinetry, a fresh new interior, full length sheer 32 inch Phillips TVs, A H Beard king-sized splits, ipod/iphone docking stations, air conditioning, as well as luxurious disabled bathrooms, spa suite bathrooms all with state-of-the-art basin and tap fittings and modern bedheads and cabinetry in each bedroom.

Manager Andrew elaborates, “Even more incredibly, the complimentary facilities within the hotel now include parking, laundry and new release movies; whilst wifi is now accessible within the walls of the hotel, our in house restaurant Beef and Seafood Grill is open seven days breakfast and dinner, as well as lunch Monday to Friday 12-2pm, and now features a large Tasmanian stainless steel fish sculpture and comfortable cocktail bar.”

Of course the most amazing thing is that now all one-bedroom suites within the Salamanca Inn offer personal computers.

“We consider ourselves an IT savvy hotel,” Andrew emphasised, “as the only hotel in Australia, we are aware of, that has personal computers in every room and we charge reasonable prices at only $3.50 for half an hour.”

Salamanca Inn’s initial construction was completed in 1988 by John Fuglsang and straight away it became Tasmania’s first “all suite hotel”. Since the very opening of Salamanca Inn, the Fuglsang family have been actively involved and committed to providing an establishment where quality service and personalised care are the priority. 100% Tasmanian owned and family operated, the accommodation, restaurant, bar and conference facilities emphasise their use of Tasmanian products and produce wherever they can. For instance, the spacious open plan living and dining area features Tasmanian artwork and beautiful Tasmanian Oak and leather furnishings.

Andrew went on to describe how “John Fuglsang, who developed the property, took a hands on approach in the design and concept of the recent refurbishment and organised a core team of five builders and various subcontractors for renovation to be completed in 12 months. This was extremely important to the Salamanca team as it was essential that the refurbishment be completed within the given timeframe to ensure minimal disruption to their guests.”

Renovation was required, Andrew permits, in order for the hotel to keep its edge on competitors and maintain its 4½ star AAA rating, increase room rates and reputation as a quality provider. Prior to renovation, the hotel still had its original kitchen and bathroom and felt marginally outdated, ready for refreshment and that is exactly what, Andrew claims, this refurbishment has managed to achieve.

“Rate has increased, occupancy has been buoyant, feedback has been positive, and we are now ranked within the top ten on TripAdvisor.”

AN32-3-REF-Salamanca-Inn-King-Suite-SMLFurthermore, part of the motivation behind the renovation was, Andrew stated, “Salamanca Inn’s greatest asset: its location. With occupancy averaging at 80% in Hobart, it made logical sense to refurbish and thus ensure growth in our average room rate and increase our market share. Since completion, the average room rate has increased by $12 and market share has grown. Also, at the same time, we were focussed to ensure a sustainable return on capital investment.”

Salamanca Inn’s last major renovation was completed in 2000 but they managed to retain their original bathrooms and kitchens, despite the fact they required modernising. “It was also imperative to install air conditioning in all rooms,” Andrew admitted, “for, although Tasmania has a cool climate, there are still a few weeks of hot weather during the year”.

The hotel was able to get away with these emissions due to the quality of the service they provided for guests overall.

“However, in the last five years,” Andrew continued, “we have found the guests attitudes have changed and they now expect air conditioning and ultra modern features to be a part of the facility. Air conditioning is something that we tried to avoid due to outrageous cost (approximately $500,000). But we felt that it was necessary to please our guests.

“All operators understand that once a structure is built and to retrofit anything is extremely expensive. The Mitsubishi Electric air conditioning system we selected comprised three units that would control 60 hotel rooms. This state-of-the-art system exchanges hot and cold gas based on the temperature of each independent room providing an effective distribution of power with potential savings of up to 30% compared to a conventional reverse cycle. It was also important that the units be integrated into the cabinetry to continue our seamless and spacious design.”

Clearly then, for Salamanca the wants and needs of their guests, paired with a desire for quality, trump frugal budgets.

“Our philosophy is to always utilise quality products. Low budget refurbishments will date within three to five years as opposed to a well planned and quality driven project that will sustain at least ten years.”

From building design to air conditioning to the careful selection of king split beds from the A H Beard collection, this project has sought quality in every aspect of its administration.

“Our mission statement was to provide stylish, spacious and comfortable accommodation with all one-bedroom suites offering 43m², double the size of a standard hotel room and two-bedroom suites offering 60m². Utilising neutral colours and quality materials provided style and practical rooms. All rooms offer fully self contained kitchens in which our design concept was to allow for a seamless and integrated design.

“As our rooms are open plan we didn’t want the feeling that the kitchen was in your living area. As you walk through the kitchen the fridge, full size dishwasher and oven are hidden as part of the cabinetry. Our previous curtains were on tracks and made an obvious contrast which we wanted to eliminate. Pelmets were built, with floor to ceiling curtains and sheers to add an element of space and sophistication.

“With a large slice of the corporate market we wanted to ensure our guests were offered state of the art technology at their fingertips by providing personal computers with flat screens, iPod/iPhone docking stations, wifi, 32 inch flat screens in all one bedroom suites. The bathroom concept was to offer luxury with large heated tiles, granite bench top, European fittings and frosted glass shower screens with bath over shower.”

In an astonishing display of effort and determination, Andrew Fuglsang and the team he put together at Salamanca Inn have created a stunning place to stay in the central hub of Hobart.

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