Popular Australian art gallery plans to build 5-star hotel for visitors

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The owner of largest art gallery in Australia’s Tasmania, a biggest tourism attraction has revealed plans to build a five-star hotel accompanying the museum.

David Walsh, founder of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), said the “next phase of growth” for the gallery was a 172-room five-star hotel to be named HOtel MOna (HOMO).

“It’s very simple really. We like building stuff. So far it has gone pretty well for us, and hopefully also for our communities,” Walsh, who made his fortune as a professional gambler, said in a statement on Friday.

“This time, some may think it’s gotten a little out of hand, the excavation alone is more than four times the size of that for the museum, but we seem to have some support, the plans have turned out pretty well, and we can’t rest on our laurels forever,” said the statement.

The construction of the hotel will take three years, Walsh said, and will create 300 full-time construction jobs for that period in addition to 120 full-time ongoing jobs when completed.

Initial designs for the hotel include a three-level library holding Walsh’s collection of rare books, a spa treatment center, a large function room and a “private, members-only, high-limits, poker machine-free casino for non-Tasmanians, designed as an ‘anti casino’.”

Guests of the hotel will be encouraged to approach via water with the hotel to be integrated into a nearby ferry terminal.

The reveal of the HOMO proposal came at the same time as MONA asking the Tasmanian government to move its summer festival, FOMA, from Hobart in the state’s south to Launceston in the north.

Brian Ritchie, curator of the festival, said in the statement that “the festival’s original 10-year plan, to change the culture in Hobart, has come to fruition ahead of schedule.”

“We’d like to embark upon a new creative journey, to relocate to Launceston in search of new challenges, new collaborations, fresh partnerships and novel creative models,” Ritchie said.

“We want to make it bigger, better, more creative, more diverse and more famous.”

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