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“Lovely service, but rooms a little dated and not 5-star”

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Jonah's, Whale Beach
Ranked #1 of 2 Whale Beach B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 9 May 2014

We are great fans of Jonah's, and have always enjoyed staying and dining there, since we first visited some 15 years ago (prior to its being renovated) because of its beautiful views, attentive service, and intimate atmosphere. It is about 4 years since we last stayed here, and while the staff are as attentive and the views as glorious as ever, the rooms are starting to look a tad dated and not as well kitted out as other upmarket properties we've stayed in: no make-up mirror in the bathroom, no full-length mirror in the bedroom (there is one in the bathroom), no complimentary bottled water, and surprisingly, when the cupboard containing the Foxtel box is opened, all the power cords and power points are in full view. (I really thought that an establishment of this ilk would have found a way of camouflaging or covering up the cord mess!) The blinds, although controlled electronically, are reminiscent of the old-fashioned venetian blinds, which detracted from the ambience of the room - time for a significant update here Jonahs - maybe some of those sleek silent Gliss blinds! Still, we appreciated the provision of L'Occitane amenities, one of my favourite brands, and plenty of towels, including beach towels.
Drinks in the bar beside the fire were a fine start to dinner. Dinner itself was good, but not as good as it has been the past, perhaps a little too complex, with too many competing flavours. Staff were very obliging when we requested our dessert to be served in the bar rather than at the table.
Breakfast was delicious - fresh juices, beautiful coffee, sufficient fruit, cereal and hot dishes to satisfy most tastes, and delicious warm croissants with homemade jams. Again, no problem for the staff to serve extra coffees outside on the terrace while we read the papers, after having finished breakfast.
Would we stay again? Probably, but would like to see the rooms have a make over

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank AmandaSydney88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JonahsWhaleBeach, General Manager at Jonah's, Whale Beach, responded to this reviewResponded 18 May 2014

Thank you so much for your feedback. We are pleased to hear that you enjoyed your overall stay.

We will take your comments on board as we are always looking to improve our offering.

We are currently updating our Foxtel offering (including addressing the cords as mentioned).

Our complimentary water (both still and sparkling) has been relocated from the mini bar fridge to a more obvious location in the room.

We look forward to welcoming you back to Jonah’s.

Regards,

Mohan Deheragoda
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (348)
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244 - 250 of 348 reviews

Reviewed 8 May 2014

Two nights might have been better, but could squeeze only one into tight schedule. Booked thru Relais & Chateaux. Nice location and view of moon and water, but can't walk straight down to beach: car needed. Room quite small, balcony overlooked. Food up to scratch wine list a veritable tome. Had previously attended a wedding reception here so overall nice memories.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank LGRL100313
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2014

Jonah's is one of those places you chose for a special occasion. You expect it to be expensive, and you expect it to be the best of the best. Unfortunately when we went there this Saturday past, we only got one of those two aspects.

We arrived at Jonah's and were seated in the rather old fashioned and weirdly laid out drawing room/bar. Lucky for us we got the couch in the corner, but other couples were awkwardly seated 2 metres apart across the oversized coffee tables or perched awkwardly on ottomans. A stylist really needs to attack this room, as sitting by the fireplace is divine. We orders two cocktails, that at $20 a pop, should have been better. My "Madame Rogue" tasted like Lemon juice with a dash of Chambord, and my partner's "Smoked Fig" ruined the taste of Laphroaig (not sure how that is possible). We should have stuck to the basics. The first disappointment of many.

Speaking of styling, the dining room too, needs a makeover. It has a 90's power broking lunch kind of feel, its a shame we missed the view though, as I am sure the room looks better in the light.
To be fair, the service was warm and attentive all night, even though the restaurant was quite full. The staff are knowledgeable and friendly. We did have about 5 different waiters/waitresses across the night though. I am unsure why they rove so much. We did have a trainee waitress who was simply lovely, she brought out the amuse bouche, but was awkwardly shadowed by another waitress who stood and stared at the poor girl whilst she worked and then gave her feedback on her trip back to the kitchen. I found this quite hard to watch and don't believe that this is the most supportive training method for new staff. The poor girl was beside herself next time she came to the table to place our mains down for fear of making a mistake in front of her watcher. She did fantastically well if it was her first night.

After we ordered, we were served a warm sourdough roll and olive oil. I always find restaurants that serve bread first up, set the expectation for how big the upcoming portion sizes will be - we were not to be disappointed.

We ordered the Prawns and Salmon for entree ($28 each). The Salmon dish was really lovely and wonderfully executed if a bit small, but that was of course, expected.
The prawn and bug dish was not so great. The 2 prawns were completely overcooked and chewy, and the "Bug" was hard to come by. The word morsel comes to mind though when recollecting. Less than a child's pinkie finger portion to go along with the chewy prawn and "sprinkling" of Iberico (fancy deep fired ham). Major disappointment number 2.

After the Entrees were taken away, the bread and oil plate from pre-entree was still left on the table, where it stayed until after our mains. I think its the little things that make a huge difference when you are in this price range. I also found it odd that our Pelligrino bottle was left on the table the whole evening, when other tables' was taken away with their wines and re-poured. We also noted the cutlery was quite dated and scratched.

Next up was our mains ($48 each). The pork was nice enough. Two small pieces of pork, with a lovely Jus, but weird little orange balls on the side which we couldn't even figure out what it was as they were so bland. 2 small pieces of pork. Again, underwhelmed. The Wagyu was a much better dish, although again, not spectacular at all. Nothing to rave about here.

I must mention the sides ($15 each). The Fennel salad was lovely and fresh, though a stretch for even half this price. The side of corn was possibly the worst side I have ever experienced. We were almost positive that this was tinned corn as each kernel was perfectly formed and shaped, no hull or excess. It was sitting in a cold pool of watery butter and had a few sprinkling of burnt baby corn on top! I just don't even know what this was trying to be, as it was nowhere near tasty, appetising or appealing to the eye.

After 2 underwhelming dishes, we decided to forgo the $20 dessert menu as nothing jumped off the page at us. We instead ordered Irish coffees on Sailors Jerry ($15 each!), which sadly were the highlight of our meal. This came with a selection of 4 small desserts, which (barr the home-made marshmallow) ensured us we made the right decision.

Our bill came to $331 (2 entrees, 2 sides, 2 mains, 1 bottle sparkling wine, 2 cocktails and 2 Irish coffee). A huge sum for a disappointing meal. Not to mention the $100 we spent in cabs as Jonah's is in the middle of nowhere. And we live on the beaches, so I hate to think how much travel will be for anyone further out. Thank goodness I had been given vouchers for my birthday otherwise my review would be much worse based on the value.

Overall it was just an ok experience. We had a nice night celebrating our anniversary. The service was good, the food was ok, the value was terrible. This was an experience that we could not normally afford, but would splurge on again if we thought it was worth it. It really wasn't. With such a wonderful food culture in Sydney nowadays, I just don't think you can afford to provide mediocre food at this price. Looking around the dining room, I would say about 70% of the clientele do look like regulars, who can obviously afford this type of excess, but more than anything, I feel sorry for them, if they think that this is value for their hard earned big bucks.

Room Tip: Poor location for a restaurant. If you were staying overnight, would be fine.
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank EdwizzleDizzle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 April 2014

Came to Jonah's on the Seaplane which certainly adds to the experience. The food and the views are outstanding and are definitely worth the trip wether you drive or fly. The wine list is extensive and the service was outstanding. Would be great to come back here and stay at the hotel.

Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank Ahg2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2014

We have been to Jonah's for breakfast & lunch for several years & have always loved it, that is why when we were looking for a venue for our wedding we knew Jonah's would be perfect.

We got married in Feb 2014 at Jonah's & it was perfect.
Our ceremony was on the grass with the beautiful ocean outlook behind us.
The Jonah's staff looked after our guests while our bridal party went offsite in the Jonah's bus to take wedding photo's.

The venue is perfect for a small intimate wedding & there is 13 guest rooms at this hotel, 7 in which you have to book when having a wedding at Jonah's but its perfect because both our bridal parties got ready in the rooms & then stayed after the wedding & breakfast is included the next morning.

All our guests said that they loved the food and because we had alcohol on consumption our guests said there glasses were never empty so all in all we were happy with Jonah's & our wedding day was perfect.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank jess d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2014

This gem is hidden away on the apex of the mountain overlooking Whale Beach. The views are breathtaking and the porches attrached to the restaurant bar are perfect for watching surfers and sunsets. The rooms are small, but very clean. Many balconies are located very close to other balconies, which makes the patio situation a little less private than you may like, but they still provide beautiful views. We stumbled onto this place one night when we decided to stay in the area and we were so happy to have found it.

Room Tip: Overlooking Whale Beach
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank FreeTheGirl315
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2014

Thanks again Christian,
You and your team were at your friendly and efficient best on Sunday! As you know we were there to celebrate an extraordinary acievement for one of my salespeople. My wife Allana and I have always felt welcome but it was especially gratifying to have that warmth extended to my business partner and his wife, as well as our rising star and his girlfriend! The kitchen was on point and the service was more than a match for the stunning location. In short, a worthy celebration lunch for our team. Please accept my thanks and please also pass along my sincere appreciation to your team! Kind Regards, Nathan Rempel. ResponseRE

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled on business
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    • Service
Thank Nathan R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Jonah's, Whale Beach

Address: 69 Bynya Rd, Whale Beach, Pittwater, New South Wales 2108, Australia
Region: Australia > New South Wales > Greater Sydney > Pittwater > Whale Beach
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 B&Bs / Inns in Whale Beach
Price Range: £438 - £512 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Jonah's, Whale Beach 5*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Jonah’s Whale Beach is one of Australia’s most luxurious ocean retreats and the only Relais & Chateaux hotel in Sydney - the most prestigious hotel association in the world.The perfect beachside escape, Jonah’s offers an acclaimed restaurant, seven luxurious rooms, a penthouse and 'Jonah's Private', a secluded residence containing three stunning rooms. Luxurious and discreet, Jonah’s prides itself on its friendly and casual atmosphere and outstanding first class service. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Jonah`s, Whale Beach Hotel Sydney

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