Australia is a place favoured with stunning locations, breathtaking views, and heritage sites that are a testament to its rich and varied culture. In Western Australia, visitors and locals who like to appreciate locales of historical and cultural value should pay close attention to the Caves House Hotel. The heritage-listed hotel and event centre is located a short walk away from Yallingup Beach which was a mecca for surfers during its height in the 1950s.
Originally built by the government of Australia in 1901 to accommodate visitors of the nearby caves, Caves House Hotel has always maintained its distinct style. Soon after rebuilding it in 1938 as the original was destroyed in a fire, the government sold the property which has since changed hands a number of times. Thankfully, all of the owners were respectful of the building’s significance and have managed to maintain the vibrant atmosphere and Art Deco style that makes it so unique. Today, Caves House Hotel is owned by partners Libby Shepard and Neil Jilley. Libby spoke with us about managing a cultural place with a strong heritage, maintaining its artistic integrity, and developing new services for the modern era without impacting on the hotel’s character.
Providing full entertainment in every season
Libby and Neil are the first owners who have been born and bred in the local area and as such they have a profound love for the building, both for its architectural value and the culture that surrounds it. The two of them have cultivated a friendly yet professional working atmosphere as they see the staff as an extension of their own family.
As a hotel in the South West of Australia, Caves House Hotel experiences considerable fluctuations in visitor numbers. Even so, their iconic live entertainment events happen all year round. After all, the hotel is famous for its entertainment, as well as the various drinks and food on offer. During the summer season, more than 70 staff are employed in the organisation though the number is reduced to about 30 in the winter. Different seasons provide different avenues for entertainment, however, and both Neil and Libby always has a full program for the guests.
To that end, Caves House Hotel supports local artists as much as possible so the two partners employ people from the community as often as they can. Aside from music, the hotel also offers a wide range of other activities such as Murder Mysteries and Comedy Nights. Furthermore, there are several huge events that attract a considerable number of visitors such as Octoberfest and the renowned New Year’s party show.
Keeping the staff and customers happy
Because the Caves House Hotel caters to a wide clientele, customer service and satisfaction is of the utmost importance. First of all, there is bistro-style food and alcohol on offer at all times. The partners believe that an extremely quick customer service turnaround on the delivery of food and drinks is vital so they have made sure to keep all bases covered at all times. The staff themselves take pride in their work, particularly because the hotel is an iconic and fun place to work at. The staff take care of every customer with a smile on their faces while also ensuring that everything is always clean and tidy.
Importantly, the staff at the Caves House Hotel are considered an integral part of the experience. As such, everyone is rewarded when they work hard and opportunities are presented equally to everyone. Libby and Neil personally congratulate and applaud those who excel, particularly during the monthly staff meetings. Furthermore, they have started an annual draw that will allow their staff to earn a paid holiday worth $2,000 as recognition of their hard work.
Managing an iconic hotel
As for the hotel itself, managing it is an absolutely pleasure for both partners. Libby not only grew up inside of hotels due to her father’s business but she and Neil also have a strong love for the arts. Those two elements are strongly combined in the Caves House Hotel. Of course, it is still a business so the economic side of things has also got to be considered. To achieve prosperity, Libby and Neil have a five-year plan in place which will enforce a lot of changes in the hotel.
First of all, a new renovation will see a particular room turned into an evening cocktail bar with more elaborate drinks. Moreover, an additional bar will be opened at the other end of the hotel to cater to another clientele. Furthermore, there are several developments in place to increase the accommodation services and serve an even larger audience. In addition to all that, there is a lot of décor work underway which will keep the same Art Deco style while making the building seem warmer and cozier.
“We aim to retain the culture of the hotel itself. We have no intention of modernizing its structure and architecture. We will be retaining and building on it, constantly improving it”, says Libby.
The unique Caves House Hotel continues to attract visitors due to its history, its status as an iconic building, the beautiful heritage gardens, and its unique features that people seem to vastly enjoy, not to mention the great entertainment and food constantly on offer. Moreover, the hotel is a lively place that continues to breathe off a vibrant aura with live music and a host of other events. By continuing on the same path, Libby and Neil will certainly keep on the great tradition of the Caves House Hotel while making everything more enjoyable for their visitors.
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Caves House Hotel
WHAT: An iconic hotel with an Art Deco style with live entertainment and many opportunities for events
WHERE: 18 Yallingup Beach Rd, Yallingup WA 6282, Australia