Tucked into the peaceful banks of Tasmania's North West Bay sits this little slice of southern France.

Tucked into the peaceful banks of Tasmania's North West Bay sits this little slice of southern France.

Hobart, Tasmania

77 Howden Road, Howden

Phone: (03) 6267 1161

Email: stay@villahowden.com.au

Web: villahowden.com.au

The Location Tucked into the peaceful banks of Tasmania's North West Bay, about 15 minutes' drive south of Hobart's CBD, sits this little slice of southern France. Surrounded by landscaped gardens and with views of Mount Wellington, it's the perfect place to drop out, with a palpable sense of joie de vivre.

The Place Constructed in the 1970s, this building - with its burnt orange exterior, terracotta tiles and quaint shutters - has been through numerous incarnations: a private home, a health centre, a restaurant. It's currently divided into 10 suites, each decorated with French antiques which sit alongside iPod docks and Nespresso machines. Comfort is key, with plush, queen-sized beds and ultra-fluffy bath towels.

The Experience There are some irresistibly relaxing spots in which to while away an afternoon here - the sunroom overlooking the gardens, the piano bar with its modern pianola, the loft library or the indoor heated pool overlooking the bay. For a sophisticated dining option (Villa Howden's restaurant wasn't yet open for dinner when we stayed), head to Hobart for some inventive mod-Oz cuisine at Garagistes, followed by a drink at the super-trendy Sidecar wine bar just around the corner. If you'd prefer to enjoy your digestif back at the villa, there's a well-stocked honour bar for late-night tipples.

Don't Miss A morning perusing the food, craft and vintage clothing stalls at Hobart's famous Salamanca Market, followed by a 30-minute ferry ride to the outrageous MONA art gallery (mona.net.au).

Need to know

Cost: from $395 a night.

Distance: 20km (15 minutes' drive) south of Hobart.

Children: Yes.

Pets: No.

Wheelchair access: No.