The Pod at Lewisham Takes Out AirBNB #1 Spot Nationally
by Stephanie Williams
Local writer and entrepreneur Alice Hansen built The Pod at Lewisham, her love letter to Tasmania. It has been named as Australia’s most wishlisted property on Airbnb.
Why do you think The Pod has come out on top of people’s wishlists? What is it about your property that you think incites ‘dreaming’? When I was dreaming up the Tailored Pod, I wanted it to feel like being wrapped in a Tasmanian cocoon. I wanted it to be like nothing else – the built form of everything I love about Tasmania – the rare wonders like Huon pine, the equally rare characters, and that exquisite nature. The dreaming comes from sitting on a Hydrowood couch, built from timber salvaged from the depths of a SW lake, floating above a view stretching out to the Southern Ocean. Next stop, Antarctica.
In Hobart we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to unique accommodation, what makes The Pod stand out? We are blessed with creative people who have put their touch on stays across Hobart. From visitor’s comments, what stands out is sinking into a deep Huon pine bath under the stars, sipping complimentary bubbles and spinning a Tasmanian record. One honeymoon couple even stumbled across the artist at Salamanca Market the following day, apparently, ‘making their holiday.’ That’s what the pod is all about – connection – with Tasmania, with one another and with self. There is no TV by design – the changing landscape from the waters to kunanyi / Mount Wellington is entertainment enough. My own wishlist was simple; an outdoor tub a fireplace as the focal point, to see the stars through an open skylight from bed and for every element that could be Tasmanian, to be so. More than 20 local artisans played a part, but you have to step inside to experience them. With an honesty shelf, you can even take a little of Tassie home. Might I add, the tank level sure confirms fold love a bath!
How has The Pod held up during COVID – have lockdowns and border closures affected your bookings? I’ve been very fortunate that the pod has struck a chord with locals as well as interstate visitors. It has held up relatively well through Covid and to be honest I never imagined the success my little pod would become. After all, it was designed to be my own house. Life and travel writing had other plans, but I look forward to returning ‘home’ in time. That said, the Covid interruptions are a lovely opportunity to invite friends in for a sneaky weekend away or to book myself in and hop in the kayak.
Do you have any other properties in the works? I get emails from across the world as Grand Designs Australia is released into different countries – asking about the pod and to recreate it (The Pod was featured in Grand Designs Australia, series 8). Some requests are odd, like a fellow in LA wanting my earrings for his wife but most simply write from as far as Russia to Africa to the Netherlands that they want to come to Tasmania. That to me, is my mission accomplished. All I wanted to do with my little pod was to celebrate Tasmania. I write about this island every day for a living, so when the host Pete Maddison said it was ‘my love letter to Tasmania’ he was right. So yes, I do have other plans in the works of a similar style but with a fresh vision.
Where do you dream about? I feel fortunate to have travelled the world now that Covid has re-shaped our future. So my dreaming is closer to home. It wasn’t until I lived in America that I came to appreciate Tasmania so much – I’d show a crumpled calendar featuring Wineglass Bay and Cradle Mountain to any poor soul who was willing to listen. Now, I couldn’t think of living anywhere else. I love my home. I dream of it’s distant corners – I’ve been to the SW nine times over. The first time, arriving by seaplane onto Bathurst Harbour, we pulled up to a little island and the silence was like nothing I’ve ever heard. My other dreamy patch is Flinders Island. Both trips the weather hindered my return flight and I couldn’t have been happier to stay on.
What’s your next project? My next project is Wild Wellness (www.wildwellnessmethod.com), launching this month. It’s an Australian first – a merging of medical professionals, decades of experience and global thought leaders – delivered through online courses, retreats and Tasmanian Walking Company-partnered adventures. It’s the latest antidote to modern day stresses; a wholesome script to wellness where we take the best of the traditional model and bring it into nature’s office., I believe there’s no better place for wellness than here – one of the last wild frontiers at the edge of the world. I don’t see why Tassie shouldn’t be the epicentre of health/wellness. The vision in time will see Wild Wellness as its own ultimate retreat with…you guessed it…VERY Tasmanian pods.