When you meet Andy Johns, it only takes a nanosecond to get that he loves people. So, it’s no surprise that from a very young age, Andy was determined to pursue a career in hospitality and hotels.
Today that determination sees him at the 4.5-star Corrigans Cove Resort in Batemans Bay – a premium venue that’s a favourite with Canberra clients — business people, tourists and those looking for a quality functions venue.
When he first landed at Corrigans seven years ago, Andy brought with him two decades of experience in the industry. After completing his diploma in hotel management in the Blue Mountains, Andy landed a job in one of Australia’s tourism hot spots, Hamilton Island. He went on to run high-profile restaurants in Cockle Bay, at the Queen Victoria Building and completed a stint at Star City Casino before moving to the NSW South Coast.
Andy lives on site and has spearheaded upgrades at Corrigans over the past two years, with about half the property undergoing major improvements. The resort has been painted inside and out, rooms have been renovated and refreshed, and the lush landscaping spruced up for a truly tropical vibe.
“We have 32 rooms, all positioned within the landscaped grounds, and have improved them also,” said Andy.
“New bathrooms and carpet, new smart tvs and improved wifi are some of the upgrades we’ve invested in.”
The self-contained apartments at Corrigans range from studio size to three-bedroom units, some with spas and some with views of the beach directly across the road or the pool with its cascading water feature. The sun rises across the way at Corrigans Beach, putting on a spectacular show.
Andy says Corrigans works hard to maintain its warm and comfortable feel where many visitors come as strangers and leave as friends. Professional onsite management and exceptional service are both key.
“I’ve always been interested in hotels,” said Andy.
“It’s competitive and pushes you to be faster, strong and more capable. I enjoy seeing the results.”
Life at Corrigans isn’t without its challenges and Andy — like many business people in the Eurobodalla — still has vivid memories of the 2020 Black Summer bushfires.
“It was panic at first, but we never shut,” he says. “On New Year’s Eve we cooked and served by candlelight to feed in-house guests and people who took refuge with us.”
Over the weeks that followed, Corrigans became home to many displaced locals and the emergency services that came to their rescue.
“We had members of the NSW Rural Fire Service and other essential services booking accommodation,” said Andy.
“They were looking for somewhere convenient, comfortable, and a place in which they were able to keep operating. Even when we were without power we managed to keep the food flowing.”
The experience taught Andy and his team a great deal about switching gears quickly and becoming resilient, so they were better positioned to tackle COVID-19 when it reared its ugly head.
“Checking in with staff on how they are going has been super important,” said Andy.
“We worked hard at remaining optimistic and being flexible. We even introduced a delivery service to keep as many staff employed as possible.”
Despite the challenges of the past year, Corrigans Cove has seen business pick up and has scored a few record months.
“In some ways, we’re the strongest we’ve ever been,” he said.
Andy doesn’t manage Corrigans Cove alone. He not only works with a great team but also has Corrigans’ famous resort dog – Edna, who even has her own Instagram. Edna hangs out in reception two or three days a week, meeting and greeting guests and keeping an eye on operations. She fits in well with the resort’s family-friendly personality, and is available for walks.
Corrigans Cove attracts families seeking seaside family holidays, those looking for romantic escapes, group accommodation and corporate and business travellers (corporate rates available). The resort is a destination for weddings and functions celebrating other special moments in life.
Guests love sipping Corrigans colourful $8 cocktails while relaxing by the pool.
“The resort has a lot going for it, including proximity to Canberra,” said Andy.
“We’re across from a two-kilometre crescent stretch of sand and calm waters, close to the popular Corrigans Reserve Inclusive Playground, not far from the marina and a hop, skip and a jump from the well-known Batehaven shops in one direction and Batemans Bay in the other.”
About 85 per cent of Corrigans’ clientele hail from Canberra. Aside from wining, dining and enjoying the pool, guests regularly take off to enjoy all that ‘The Bay’ and surrounding areas offer.
For many, being at the coast is about scrumptious seafood and local produce, which the relaxed CCooks@Corrigans brasserie carefully sources for breakfasts and dinners from well-known regional spots like Eden and Braidwood.
Corrigans Cove handles functions, corporate events and meetings masterfully, from intimate gatherings of 20 to large events of up to 130 guests. Function rooms have stunning water views, an alfresco verandah, private bar, onsite catering, private pool deck and large dance floor.