Project Team

architecture/interiors:: Swerve Design
builder: G.I. Williams Building Services


music: Nightlife
carpet: Feltex
lighting: Kezu, GAP, Papaya
paving: Eco Concepts
tiles: Earp Brothers

Mona Vale is a sun-kissed beachside suburb of Sydney, on the very same coast that brought surf culture to the living rooms of the world in “Home and Away”. The real life Summer Bay is just up the road and just like the story lines of the show, this is where the beach culture and city slickers come together with adventures aplenty.

The social hub that is the Mona Vale Hotel, has been hosting local stories for many years. Romance or bromance, quick catch-up with the gang or a big night with a dance. With the tried and true formula of outdoor fun in a beautiful garden setting by day/evening and indoor mayhem under lights by night, the hotel has earned a loyal patronage. Not ones to be complacent, the management of the hotel are continually improving the customer experience and gently tweaking the formula to keep them coming back.

Zion Zen carpet

Product: Zion
Colour/Pattern: Zen
Pile Content: 80% Wool / 20% Nylon
Finished Pile Height: 7mm (+/- 1.0mm)
Total Pile Weight: 1290g/m2 (38oz/y2
Width: 3.66 metres
Repeat: 91.4 (W) x 127.0 (L).


In this renovation, Mona Vale Hotel’s entry, bar areas and gaming were re-shuffled and represented to create a vibrant attractive entry, bring life and laughter into previously lonely spots, adding a cafe and providing a much needed outdoor solution for the Gaming. The trick was to keep
the formula working but attract a new demographic which could fill in times that the hotel was not utilized to its potential.

First impressions count. Suffering from a visual disconnection between the action inside and what prospective customers and passer’s could see from the outside, new trade was hard to get.

Moving the gaming to a new outdoor pavilion allowed screens and fences to be removed, windows opened up and a new identity to be created.

Now open from front door to the garden, the venue has a new open inviting feel. Daylight streams in from new directions, it’s easy to see what the hotel facilities are for newcomers encouraging
cross-selling, security is enhanced and people-spotting is maximized for friendly social interaction.

Attention was given to character-building details such as the custom patterned steel balustrade and timber work. Natural earthy finishes add warmth without major changes that affect the main building. Split stone paving, stained timber, metallic bronze powdercoat complement the existing building, rather than fight with it, giving the overall hotel presentation harmony.

Patterned bi-fold doors between the entry portico and bar/cafe open up the space providing an inside/outside experience and transform what was a dead end into a hub. In the spirit of trompe l’oeil, the lush jungle graphic commissioned for the space and produced by Brandbox Creative creates in an interior garden in what was the dead end - of the dead end. Requiring no watering, just an occasional wipe down, the digital wallpaper energizes and relaxes the space at the same time while creating the impression of a much bigger space.

Visual tricks continue throughout the bar/cafe. Overcoming the awkward existing columns and stepped / partly sloping ceiling, the columns were clad in timber and connected up to a grid of false
timber beams creating an outdoor pavilion feel, clusters of various sized lanterns from Kezu further builds on the outdoor tropical flavour creating a star-scape reminiscent of the hot air balloon lantern
festivals in Thailand.

The new café/bar offers brings welcome revenue in non-drinking hours and a separate space for functions. Like all good café’s it’s a great people watching spot, perfect to catching up with gossip over a cheeky chocolate or barista-made latte with sideways glances always possible to attractive distractions.

Stripped of partition walls, the bar now flows to the existing bistro servery. This took advantage of the opportunity to upsell across the food and beverage offer as the customer traffic now moves directly from ordering meals, through cakes and coffee to the beverage stations. Another plus is staff can now serve a wider area more efficiently,

reducing staffing at quiet times. New cladding on the front of the bar from EARP Brothers looks like much more expensive mosaic but is in fact 300 x 200 tiles with the grout inbuilt. Brilliant. The owners like it so much they clad over all their bars with this magic stuff.

Gracing the entry like a giant lantern, the new gaming area brings the entertainment and outdoors together in a metallic bronze louvred pavilion. With a roof matching the existing portico structure, the pavilion ties in with the existing building whilst clearly creating its own identity. Dedicated street entry encourages traffic into the space and open loop layout provides clean flow within, so there’s never a dead-end moment.

Book-ended by patterned bronzed and frosted glass screens picking up from the entry steelwork, privacy is ensured at the gaming spaces while light fills the space through the diffusing properties of the glass. Upping the presentation from beach to resort, a wall of framed bamboo panels imbues a distinctly tropical ambience with a contemporary modern twist. Bamboo screens of various diameters, mixes and orientations were pressed to a common surface plane and stained together with the framing to create a wall paneling system. Originally intended for one wall, this like the tiles took a life of its own on and started springing up in all sorts of places. I think I might do my place
with it too!

Character and style are hard to balance. Balinese-sourced pieces such as the pressed copper basrelief and stone fountain complement the crisp modern styling and provide a subtle character without becoming too themey. Overall the atmosphere is warm and inviting, fun and definitely tropical flavoured. The spaces flow together in new ways now, creating a whole new vibe with the same floor area. As most of the infrastructure such as bars, refrigeration and structure was kept
and existing pieces used wherever possible, the budget was kept in check. Very important in challenging times such as these.

With a new fresh new face to the venue, the renovations allow the Mona Vale story to be presented to new patrons and old one alike. One that’s sure to get noticed and be remembered. One that should see quite a few episodes yet.

Nightlife has been providing music to the Fernwood group for nearly a decade now. Working with Venue Managers as well as Chris Gardner and his team at head office, Nightlife has kept the venue’s music and entertainment fresh over the years. Nightlife’s relationship with Chris Gardner recently saw them putting together an entertainment package for Mon Komo, his new venue in Queensland’s bay side suburb of Redcliffe.

The Mona Vale Hotel has used Nightlife since it first installed a jukebox system in March 2003. Today, Nightlife provides three separate zones of music, a digital video Jukebox and integrated digital advertising that can be scheduled to target different audiences throughout the day.

The music offering at the Mona Vale has been tailored for each specific area of the hotel. In the Plantation Bar they play chilled out electronic grooves through the day working up to cool club and party beats in the evenings.

In the Sports Bar, the mix is designed for a slightly older audience throughout the day, with a coastal theme befitting the Northern Beaches location in the afternoons. At night, the venue plays a solid mix of the latest party driving tracks to attract a younger crowd. The sports bar also uses Nightlife’s Jukebox which can be programmed to only show a certain style of music throughout the day to stop inappropriate songs from being chosen and having the room hijacked by a punter with bad taste.

Nightlife also provides a background music zone for the gaming and TAB area to help control this important space from an atmosphere perspective.

The Mona Vale utilises Nightlife’s digital advertising platform to display public service messages, food and drink offers and to help generate more exposure for the rest of their entertainment roster and other big events at the hotel.

Finally, the Mona Vale recently upgraded its systems, bringing them online. This means Nightlife are able to remotely make changes to music programming and to provide instant technical support for everyone. Being online and live with Nightlife also provides group reporting to the venue on Jukebox revenue and data on how the systems are being used.