Venue Crush: Colonial Vibes on the Tasmanian Coast

Within century-old walls in the far reaches of Tasmania’s north-west is a stunning boutique stay
The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson

In a weathered town along the wild coastline of Tasmania’s north-west, stands the old colonial Ship Inn. Unphased by the stunning (and at times harsh) landscape, the Ship Inn reopened its doors in July to become Stanley’s newest, and most talked about, boutique getaway.

The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson

A sophisticated stay with a story-telling style, Ship Inn honours Stanley’s local folklore. Tales of merchant sailors, local shipwrecks, English colonial gentry and the hardships of farming a remote land bounces off the walls in a stylish, and ever so elegant makeover that owners, Kerry and Alistair Houston have gifted the place.

Still one of Stanley’s most iconic buildings, the Ship Inn has entered a whole new era that travellers from far-flung places are flocking to experience.

Ship Inn Stanley, Marnie Hawson


The vintage meets modern elegance vibe hits you before you even step through the door. The brightly-clad weatherboard exterior with white trimming is framed by the ever-present Nut Reserve, which looms behind it. 

The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson
The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson

It’s the kind of place that takes you on an adventurous journey that you may just not want to come back from. A Captain’s portrait from yesteryear greets you in the spacious foyer, but it’s not until you reach the aged timber desk with maritime antiquities that you really start to appreciate the attention to detail that the team have gone to. This is a boutique stay with the serious wow-factor. 

The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson
The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson

Vintage pieces that tell a story sit in striking contrast to Ship Inn’s black and moody colours, white light-filled spaces, dramatic wallpapers, and earthy and natural textures of linen, wool, sisal and timber.

The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson


Since the 1800s, the Ship Inn has had many lives; a licensed hotel, a guesthouse and a private residence. Now, with the help of Kerry and her husband Alistair (a stonemason and landscaper by trade), the Ship Inn is once again a place where weary travellers come to rest their heads. 

The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson
The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson

Teaming up with styling gurus Lynda Gardener and Belle Hemming from Inside Story, Kerry and Alistair took on the heritage-listed property, remodelling it into seven luxurious guestrooms with contemporary ensuites. 

The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson
The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson

The brief to Inside Story was simple; utilise their extensive vintage art collection while sourcing modern and vintage pieces to create a bespoke, comfortable and stylish feel. 

The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson
The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson

And the team nailed it. From the moment you step inside the Ship Inn, you are swept away into times passed. Each suite tells the story of a local character or place, using historical artefacts, original artwork, bespoke joinery and custom fittings. 

The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson


Stanley’s most iconic landmark, The Nut (an ancient volcanic plug) is the backdrop to the Inn, and the turbulent waters of Bass Strait are only steps away. Alastair has worked his magic, transforming the old stables into a guest gym and yoga room, as well as building extensive stonewalling on the property. 

The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson

The rear garden is huge and backs onto the Nut Reserve with views over the bay. And over time, once the landscaping is complete, they will open this up for guests. For now, the front veranda is the place to be to watch stunning sunsets over the bay and the green hills of Stanley. 

The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson


A historic fishing village in Tasmania’s north-west, Stanley is a small community with a big heart. Only four and a half hours from Hobart and two and a half hours from Launceston, Stanley is on the edge of some stunning wilderness. It’s an outdoor enthusiasts delight – the Nut Reserve and the waters of Bass Strait bring seals and penguins to the shores. Wedge-tailed eagles and peregrine falcons fly overhead, and untamed wilderness of The Tarkine is close at hand.

Although a seaside town with easy-going vibes, Stanley has a sophisticated edge. Many of the old cottages and colonial buildings have been repurposed into cafés and restaurants that feature fresh, local seafood and shops and galleries that shine a spotlight on local artists. All this combined is why this little beauty ranks highly on Tasmania’s tourist trail.

The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson


For many years, Kerry has been building her vintage art collection from second-hand stores and eBay. Bedheads were custom made by Drew Hemming, lighting from Fat Shack Lighting and wooden pieces came from vintage emporiums. But it’s Tasmania’s vintage and op shops that are a treasure trove of quirky glass vases and stoneware. 

The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson


1. Don’t be scared of using black. We have black doors and even black kitchenettes with black stone benchtops in some suites, and they look stunning. 

2. Linen curtains that start higher than the windows and ‘puddle’ on the floor look luxurious. 

3. If you love vintage pieces, mix them in as they create a unique story and look, and don’t look same same!

4. “Props” and styling pieces look incredible but exercise restraint. The eye needs somewhere to rest, so don’t go overboard. 

5. Research Pinterest and Instagram and follow designers who strike a chord with you. We found that by using a design and styling team, we saved money in the long run by getting it right the first time.

The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson
The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson

The Ship Inn is located on 16 Alexander Terrace, Stanley TAS 7331

Rates start from $190 per night


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