Jonah’s Restaurant & Accommodation
Address 69 Bynya Road, Whale Beach.
Bookings Phone 9974 5599 or see jonahs.com.au.
Unique Boutique Travel is a regular visitor to Palm Beach in Sydney’s north. This is partly because it is an area of outstanding natural beauty, but also because one half of the team has an unhealthy obsession with the Channel 7 soap opera, Home and Away, which is filmed at Palm Beach. A short distance away at Whale Beach is one of Sydney’s most glamorous boutique hotels and restaurants, Jonah’s.
Driving from Sydney you follow the Barrenjoey Road through Newport and Avalon. About two kilometres before you reach Palm Beach on the right-hand side is Surf Road. A tiny blue sign indicates that this is the turnoff for Jonah’s. It’s easy to miss the turnoff, we did, and opportunities to turn around are few and far between. A short drive up Surf Road leads to the turnoff for Bynya Road and the fabulous Jonah’s. Overall, the drive from the CBD took about 90 minutes due to the traffic. Well-heeled guests can avoid the tedious drive and make a stylish entrance by seaplane.
Jonah’s has an interesting history. In the early the 20th century the Barrenjoey headland was sparsely populated and surrounded by bushland. In the 1920s a road opened up allowing access by car to Palm Beach. In 1928, an Englishwoman named Constance Vidal had the foresight to capitalise on the advent of “the car” and purchased three blocks of land on the clifftop overlooking Whale Beach for £750. In 1929 she opened a teahouse for motorists touring the area and it became known as Jonah’s. Over the years Jonah’s evolved, being an elegant restaurant in the 1950s, a jet-set nightclub in the ’60s and an Italian restaurant in the ’70s. In more recent years it has been recognised as one of Sydney’s best beachside escapes with an acclaimed restaurant.
We arrived mid-afternoon, weary after the tedious drive. At the reception, you can see the dining room and the outside terrace that the restaurant if famous for. The staff at the desk were efficient and friendly. Check-in was quick and we were led to our Ocean Retreat room. We would describe the accommodation as more of a suite than simply a room.
The décor is elegant and modern. The room included two large flat-screen TVs with complimentary movies, WIFI, several USB outlets, in-room safe, automated curtains and a minibar with Vittoria coffee machines. The luxurious king-sized bed was from A.H Beard. The bathroom included a high-pressure walk-in shower, a separate spa bath and Molton Brown products. Bathrobes, slippers, a hairdryer, iron and ironing board are also on hand in the suite. Possibly, the most outstanding feature of the room is simply the ocean view available from the private balcony. The balcony was perfect for a late evening game of backgammon with a glass or two of wine.
We quickly settled in and returned downstairs where we were shown to the terrace and given a complimentary glass of Bollinger. The terrace view is just as amazing as from the suite, looking down to Whale Beach far below. With the sun was shining, the sea breeze blowing and a glass of champagne in hand it was hard to imagine of a more glamorous location. Jonah’s greatest advantage is its height and the stupendous views below. A promontory frames the right-hand side of the view and a multi-million dollar beach houses on the other. Far below lies the golden sands and blue waters of Whale Beach.
The beach is a short walk down a steep hill, taking no more than 15 minutes at a casual pace. Whale Beach is a little less crowded than nearby Palm Beach. This possibly due to the Home and Away effect. Just up from the beach is the Whale Beach Deli, which offers a healthy all-day when with a good selection of smoothies and non-alcoholic drinks. There are a number of other walks around across to Pittwater and the Barrenjoey Lighthouse.
The restaurant is renowned, it would be a shame to stay a night without the dining experience. The main dining room offers uninterrupted views of the ocean with floor to ceiling glass windows. The restaurant showcases a seasonal menu offering the finest local produce. It offers excellent contemporary Australian cuisine under the direction of the Head Chef Matteo Zamboni. The food is superb and so is the wine list According to the head waiter the cellar boasts in excess of 1600 bottles of wine, some of which we managed to sample over our meal. The terrace also offers an outdoor dining experience, although with a limited selection from the menu.
Service and facilities
First-class attentive service from all of the friendly staff. There is always someone at hand on the terrace and in the dining room to meet your every request. The reception staff are personable and efficient, check-in and check-out is seamless.
- Outdoor pool
- Air conditioning
- Beach access
- Restaurant, Room service & Bar
- Full-service laundry
- Wheelchair accessible
- Smoke-free property
- No pets
After our meal, we returned to our room and sat on the balcony. A glass of wine and a game of backgammon in the sea air was the perfect way to end our evening. The hotel is just simply amazing. The staff are attentive, friendly and most of all professional. The rooms exceeded expectations, the meal splendid and it is impossible to fault the view. Overall, it was a delightful experience in one of the best boutique hotels that Sydney has to offer.