According to fashion designer Tom Ford, “Time and silence are the most luxurious things we have today.” If that’s the case, then Jonah’s might just be the most luxurious hotel in Sydney. The hours really do seem a little bit longer in the Northern Beaches, and the distant echo of the crashing waves far below is pretty much all you can hear at this intimate clifftop retreat overlooking Whale Beach.
That’s not to say that the experience itself is short on first-world luxuries. Remember the last time you checked in to a hotel, got handed a glass of Champagne and were greeted like the long-lost member of a family you never knew you had? No? Same. Here, you sleep on a marshmallow-soft custom A.H. Beard mattress, you watch Foxtel or dozens of free on-demand movies on a giant screen, and you bathe in a deep spa tub before towelling off on heated bathroom floor tiles. Unless, of course, you prefer lathering up with Molton Brown products in the separate, high-pressure overhead shower.
As you might have guessed, a night in one of the 11 rooms does not come cheap (starting at $398.00 per person for the standard twinshare B'n'B) – but you’re a hard-working adult, and you’re entitled to splash out every now and again. You’ve paid for the privilege of staying at this exclusive establishment, so reap the benefits: swim in the pool, sink a cocktail on the verandah, settle in to a grassy spot with a book or a backgammon set and while away the afternoon. Cutting corners is not on the itinerary, so go the extra mile and schedule that sunset massage.
All this R&R will drum up quite the appetite, which will serve you well when a 350-gram bone-in rib-eye lands on the double-clothed dinner table before you, with walnut-sized cloves of roasted garlic and a red wine jus reduced to within an inch of its life. The restaurant has earned a reputation as a destination in its own right, and while executive chef Matteo Zamboni’s clocked time in more Michelin-starred kitchens than you can count on your fingers and toes, classic is the watchword on the menu. You’re in timeless entrée-main-dessert territory, where pristine rock oysters come with faultless mignonette, hand-cut fettuccine is sauced in Wagyu Bolognese, lemon butter dresses the grilled wild-caught daily catch and flourless chocolate cake awaits at the finish line. We can almost guarantee you will not feel up to a two-course breakfast when you roll out of bed, but that’s what you will get.
Naysayers might label it all a bit safe, stuck in the past, or even a little stuffy, but who needs ‘em? Even if the coastal (read: fifty shades of beige) colour scheme doesn’t leave a lasting impression, the good old-fashioned sense of hospitality certainly will. Jonah’s has – quite literally – stood tall in the face of trends since 1929, and when it comes time to celebrate that milestone moment, we suspect it will still be there, ready to welcome you with open arms.
Time Out tip: Make the most of where you are and book a Jonah’s Stay & Play package, which offers a private sail on Pittwater with Taylor Made Escapes, a heartily stuffed picnic hamper prepared by a Jonah’s chef, and a bottle of Bollinger bubbly. The package also includes a three-course dinner and a Bed & Breakfast overnight stay. Landlubbers might prefer to stay put and cruise the award-winning whopper of a wine list instead.