What is the one thing that one needs after a long hectic period of hustle to achieve their goal? One of the obvious answers would be a nice relaxing vacation. Spending that downtime in a luxury property that provides the comfort and privacy you’re looking for is one of the best things you can do on that vacation.
Fulfilling all of these criteria to make your vacation special is Jonah’s Restaurant and Boutique Hotel. Situated at Whale Beach on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Jonah’s is one of Australia’s most spectacular ocean retreats. In its 90 years of operation, Jonah’s has made its name in the industry for exhibiting professional excellency, which is one of its core values.
In the following interview, Niels Sluiman, the General Manager of Jonah’s Restaurant and Boutique Hotel, talks in detail about the property’s comprehensive services and gives some valuable industry insights.
Please brief our audience about your organization, its USPs, and how it is currently positioned as one of the most reliable companies in the hospitality industry.
Jonah’s comprises a Chef-Hatted Restaurant and a high-end Boutique Hotel. Jonah’s is a unique hospitality business for a number of reasons.
- We have one of the most incredible views in Sydney, with a 180° view of the beautiful Whale Beach from our restaurant, terrace, and every hotel room. Our restaurant has the floor to ceiling windows to take every advantage of this incredible feature, and each hotel room has its own balcony to sit out and enjoy the atmosphere.
- We have received many awards for our Italian-inspired Australian Contemporary cuisine, including a Good Food Guide Chefs Hat for many years.
- Our business has a long history of reliability, being established in 1929 as one of the first buildings built in the area of Sydney’s Northern Beaches and continuing to serve its clientele since.
- Jonah’s is a luxury seaside retreat. Whether our guests visit for lunch or dinner or come for a stay at our hotel, Jonah’s is an iconic destination in the spectacular Northern Beaches. Our unique area offers sailing, surfing, beautiful beaches, gardens, walking trails, and history. The property has been a haunt for many superstars of stage and screen, as well as a retreat for many other famous entertainers (see jonahs.com.au).
Shed some light on your offerings and how they impact the industry and your clients?
Industry impacts –
- Jonah’s is a luxury establishment and is often held as the standard to meet for other businesses as we have such a long history and are such a well-known business.
Impacts on clients –
- Our kitchen team spends a lot of time researching ingredients and developing dishes with the perfect balance of flavor to offer an exquisite culinary experience each time they visit.
- Our hotel has been crafted with high-end custom-made furniture in a neutral palette to tie in with our seaside location and provide a comfortable luxury home away from home.
What are the core values upon which your company is built?
- Provenance – We want to provide a true experience of our area, history, and produce. Provenance is an important value for our business to create authenticity in our guest’s experience.
- Professionalism – Our business believes that hospitality is a professional industry, and there is great value in high-end servers and kitchen staff. We want to foster the growth of our employees and, therefore, the industry itself by ensuring professionalism through training and career progression.
- Experience – Our whole business is built on our guests’ experience, so this is one of the core values that we strive to achieve with each and every guest each time they visit. Our goal is to be above and beyond expectation and deliver high standards from the guest’s first greeting, every bite of their meal, and the ambiance showcasing their incredible surroundings.
Being an experienced leader, share your opinion on how the adoption of modern technologies has impacted the industry and how is your company riding the technology wave?
Modern technologies have greatly improved businesses in all industries, including hospitality. One of our favorites is being able to have flexibility with where guests can pay using a credit card. No longer do they have to come to a table to pay or have their card whisked away. This gives customers a lot more reassurance when they can see the amount being paid on the terminal and tap their card themselves.
With an increased website and social media use, our guests are able to plan ahead for their dining experience. Seeing our menus and mouthwatering imagery of the dishes they’d like to try we find helps to create expectations for our cuisine.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the hospitality industry?
The hospitality industry has always been a combination of good news and wonderful experiences – combined with the difficulty of execution and financial viability. These two problems have been exacerbated in the last 26 months by COVID-19 and shortages of staff.
For a ‘budding entrepreneur,’ experience in the industry as an employee/manager is invaluable before attempting a business as a proprietor.
How do you envision scaling your organization’s operations and offerings in 2022 and beyond?
The management team at Jonah’s was quite diligent in using the recent shutdown periods wisely and ensuring that the operations were being optimized. They condensed the opening days to a four-day week, which has allowed us to be a more profitable business and helps with staffing schedules. We will continue this into 2023 and beyond.
Awards and Accolades
- Jonah’s continues to hold a position in the Hall of Fame for Australia’s Wine list of the Year Awards.
- Awarded a 3-glass rating by Australia’s Wine list of the Year Awards continuously from 2011 to the present.
- Jonah’s has held the Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor from 2012 until the present.
- A Chef-Hatted restaurant from the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide from 2009 until the present.
Hear it from the Guests Themselves!
- “Best weekend away ever!” Thank you so much to the awesome team at Jonah’s! My fiancé and I stayed here over the weekend to celebrate our recent engagement, and we were not disappointed. The food and service were incredible; it was such a special weekend and one we will never forget. We can’t wait to come back! – Review by Emma (01/03/2022 )
- “Thanks for the wonderful stay” We celebrated our 25th anniversary at Jonah’s. We had an excellent experience. The view from our room and the dining areas were stunning. The staff was lovely, both friendly and efficient. And the food (dinner and breakfast) was outstanding!
Thank you. – Review by Janet (14/04/2022 )
- We celebrated my birthday at the restaurant on Friday night! We had the most amazing time! The staff was very friendly and professional. In particular, Jaz. Her menu knowledge, attention to detail, and eagerness to make our night outstanding and unforgettable took us by surprise! The food was delicious, and the location was absolutely stunning! Thank you so much to all of the team at Jonah’s for making my birthday an exceptional experience! Julia X – Review by Julia (06/03/2022 )
About the Leader
Niels Sluiman is the General Manager at Jonah’s Restaurant and Boutique Hotel. He has been an integral part of the business since he joined in 2016. Starting as the Head Sommelier, he quickly moved from building an impressive cellar and wine list to managing many aspects of the business.
He now runs the hotel staff, restaurant staff, and office team to an exacting standard. Being able to transition the business from a seven-day week to a four-day week during the changes of COVID-19 has made the business more profitable and allowed for more efficient staffing rosters. Given the industry-wide shortage, guests get a brilliant continuity of care during our opening days.
Niels started his journey into the hospitality industry, being part of some highly awarded restaurants in France and the United Kingdom. His motto is centered around ‘attention to details and high standards with a great touch of friendliness.’
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