Soaking in Suite five's tub my mind switches from a snotty baby at home into glorious relaxation. Surrounds are crimson textures, the aged timber bones of a bygone flour mill, an illuminated orb mirror, shower to suit two and fluffy towels. The Lentara Grove bath salts, Poltergeist g&t and bowl of olives on a tray in front of me up the posh dial.
This is Stillwater Seven. No points for guessing how many rooms are on offer in Launceston's freshest stay-over digs but a gold star and lucky you to the person who gets around each room first.
Staged over two levels of the former Stillwater Providore and Gallery, suites 1-6 are distinct and designed for more than drop-your-bags-and-go. You want to sink into the spongy chair by the sash windows and watch the feathered traffic of the Tamar River below. There are piles of glossy books written on Tasmania or by Tasmanians and artwork by the likes of Josh Foley and Vicki McDonald. Fuzzy Waverley Mills blankets are draped across fat king beds and tailored Spotify tunes set the mood. Shades of olive, grey, and silver with splashes of peach and emerald - the handiwork of interior designer, Amanda York - add to lavish boudoirs you'd only want to leave in the event of an emergency.
Bianca Welsh was one of the Stillwater partners who painstakingly poured over every single detail - from pillows to popcorn - ahead of opening in March and says it's been an interesting switch to hotelier.
"We're used to looking after guests for a period of time where we can see their every move, every expression, their delight or discomfort for example. When we check people in and show them to their rooms, we can't see what they need. For me, that is what has been important (and time-consuming!) to think about every single thing that a guest needs without having to ask for it."
The hard work has paid off: even the fussiest visitor's fancy has been foreseen and what better example than the minibar; an exceptional stash of house-made and carefully curated fare tucked in a cocoon of smooth-edged Blackwood by Simon Ancher. You can nibble on house parfait and pickles, charcuterie, and organic cheese, gin-cured salmon and sea salt lavosh, caramel popcorn and cacao balls. Or have soup or a Reuben sandwich delivered. If you can drag yourself from your delicious den, Stillwater Restaurant is just steps beneath. Stop by the communal lounge for a drinks break.
The decadent accommodation is the latest chapter in the Stillwater story. One that started with Ripples Cafe 35 years ago then grew into two serial award-winning restaurants, Stillwater and Black Cow Bistro, then the Providore. Then came the idea of sleepovers, which would mean fastidiously reshaping and reinforcing an 1830s building. As expected, Bianca says it was a tricky transformation, but thanks to good foundations and a crack team, the project has exceeded expectations.
"The existing beams certainly proved a challenge but our talented architect and fire engineer came up with ways around them. The character of the building is what makes us so unique, we feel very privileged to have had such a canvas to work with."
The foundations of Seven, both tactile and intangible, are the most beautiful. The site has a long history of innovation and purpose that's being continued and deservedly celebrated.
"The team strived to honour the site's history and fundamentals at every step. Suite five really showcases the bones of the mill with the old pulley system in the ceiling. The top floor of the building has retained the natural look of the timber and took a lot of work to clean everything up. Level one has seen some of the timber be painted as it had been painted white but it almost accentuates it more. The bones of the building were really amazing to work with, tricky but our architect, Todd and interior designer Amanda, certainly took it upon them to showcase the incredible structure of the building."
Just when you think it can't get any better, the room rounding off Seven, the Courtyard Suite, gladly welcomes dogs. So no need to leave your best friend looking forlorn at your departure - treat them to a night in puppy luxury. This suite is also accessible and features Bianca's fave, aged cedar shutters and stone wall.
Of course, along with the comfy bed and tailored magazines and drink upon arrival, accompanying your stay is the exceptional Stillwater service that's helped snag numerous gongs over the years.
"We are absolutely thrilled with how everything has come together. Every aspect - architecture, interior, building, plumbing, engineering, furniture design - everything has come together in harmony and it's like it was all meant to be there in the first place."
Bianca has hinted there may be another project coming up for the bunch of Stillwater partners who find it hard to keep still, but for now, there's Seven and all its snug splendour.
"We hope to make guests feel as though they're at home - a really luxurious home!"
…complete with breakfast in bed but without a snotty baby.
This is the team that helped make Seven happen:
…and all the official splendid pics you see of Seven, including below, are by the sublime Anjie Blair.