Wedding Stylist Interview: Dani Butchart

We love tropical styled weddings at Watsons Bay!

This month we sit down with local stylist Dani Butchart, who is launching a new creative studio brand called ‘They Make Haus’, to find out her tips on Wedding styling trends & future predictions.

Dani is also an acclaimed winner, taking out the top prize for Inside Out magazine’s ‘Search for a Stylist’ competition in 2015!

Dani Butchart Profile small

1. What are the styling items & textures you love working with the most for weddings?

I like to mix textures across most styling items, it creates a beautiful aesthetic. My favourite currently is mixing marble + concrete.

2. What are you seeing as the common trend for wedding styling this year?

An evident trend is a BIG move away from DIY and rustic styles. A move towards clean, relaxed styling, Lots of green + metallic tones.

The styling movement I’m noticing is to create more hero pieces rather then smaller styled options throughout venues. This would include floral walls or floral ceiling displays. It’s a great shift as it allows more freedom to dream up original concepts. 

3. What do you predict will become more popular over the coming 12 months for wedding styling?

My thoughts are that foliage is going to take over the blooms. I think bridal party blooms will still be very full and floral but possibly taking on some wild and loose shapes. Every bride is wanting to GO GREEN. The tropical leaves are always a seasoned favourite. 

4. Your tips for the bride-to-be?

Not to focus on what everyone else is doing, focus on what YOU want and what will make your wedding most memorable. We hope to style an event that really captures the couples style and leaves a lasting impression on their guests. 

We recently collaborated with Dani for a Watsons Bay Sunset Style Session photo shoot, stay tuned for the stunning images!

dani butchart styling

We hope this has inspired your wedding styling goals!

July Instagram of the Month Competition ‘Watsons Warmers’ + Inside Tips From Our Photographer

Watsons Bay Food Photography

Every month we announce a winner of our Instagram competition awarding them a coveted $200 Beach Club voucher and a regram on our account. This July we have a delicious theme for our competition – Watsons Warmers. Come in to the venue, snap your favourite item off our Winter menu (bonus points for a Watsons Warmer) and upload to your account tagging us @watsonsbayboutiquehotel and hashtagging #watsonswarmers.

We know it’s not always easy to capture your delicious meals on camera, so we speak to our in house Graphic Design guru and photographer, Amy Mackay (@amykatesnaps), for her top tips on foodie photography. Amy is responsible for most of the mouth-watering imagery you see on our social media.

Hey Ames! Ok, so what are your top 3 tips for taking photos of food?

Light! If you’re not outside, always try and find a window or a door you can photograph near. It’s amazing what natural light can do. To get the best results, make sure the window is behind you when you’re photographing the subject. If you’re somewhere dark, try not to use the flash on your iPhone, instead have a friend light your scene with the flashlight on their phone; you have more control that way.

Flat-Lays are food’s friend! There’s nothing better than a delicious spread of food shot in bird’s eye view. First choose your texture. This is important! It might be a rustic wood table or an eye-catching tile. Try to choose a surface that compliments the dishes. Lay the food out on the table, thinking about colour and composition. Then style it up! You might put a menu in there, some fresh herbs or your sunglasses and watch, so many possibilities 😉

Activity! I’m a big fan of ‘action’ shots. Think fresh cream being poured on a warm sticky date pudding, or a group of people digging in to a bowl of mussels. It helps to tell the story if there’s some movement in the image.


Do you need to have a DSLR?

No! It certainly helps, particularly with depth of field, but if you’re only taking photos for social media, smartphone cameras can do a really good job these days. Quite often I will use my iPhone for Instagram if I have left the house without my camera. To get the best results, use the tools that are available to you on your phone. Use the built in grid function to make sure things are straight. Also if you’re taking a photo for Instagram, either shoot in square or check the frame to make sure you aren’t cutting anything out.

What are your top apps for editing foodie photos on your phone?

VSCOcam. This is such a powerful app. It has so many beautiful filters as well as colour correction and cropping tools. A tip here is that I never use the full filter. I will usually drop the opacity down a bit. My favourite combo is: Filter: HB1 +9 , Exposure: +1 , Contrast: -2 , Saturation: -2 , Temperature -1. It gives a crisp clean feel to your images. It’s a good idea to choose a filter combination you like and stick to it. It helps keep your feed cohesive. You can copy and paste the edits in VSCO cam.

ColorStory. This one is so much fun because you can artificially add sun flares and bokeh effects [read here for explanation]. Great for holiday snaps or summer imagery. There are also some fun filters if you prefer to only use one app.

Chocolate Cake

Follow Amy’s work on our Instagram @watsonsbayboutiquehotel and personal account @amykatesnaps

Get snapping of your favourite meals from our kitchen and enter before July 31st for your chance to win our #WatsonsWarmers Insta of the Month edition!

Check out our favourite #InstaInspo from @lichipan



Introducing Lilly Fasan, Our New Head Chef

Lilly Fasan Head Chef

If you’ve been to our Sunset Room recently you may have caught the buttery scent of freshly baked pastries or cinnamon spiced Nutella donuts drifting by the fireplace. These mouth-watering treats are thanks to the talents of Lilly Fasan, who Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel is delighted to announce as our new Head Chef.

Additional to her pastry-making skills (although who could ask for more?!) Lilly brings over 17 years of experience with a culinary repertoire extending across her work in restaurants including The Clock, Surry Hills, Pello, Darlinghurst, The Grounds of Alexandria and The Greens in North Sydney.

As Executive Head Chef at The Grounds of Alexandria Lilly managed an all female kitchen and curated signature seasonal dishes that had an emphasis on fresh produce sourced directly from The Grounds. Establishing a successful precedent for The Grounds’ cuisine, Lilly then transitioned into the role of Executive Head Chef and worked with her husband Nathan on the opening of The Greens in North Sydney. With their innovative concepts the duo designed a food offering that far exceeded the expectations of dining at a bowling club.

Working alongside Watsons Bay’s Executive Chef, John Pye, Lilly brings an array of original recipe ideas, innovative concepts for kitchen management and a deep passion to create memorable experiences for everyone who dines at the hotel – you had us at baked nutella donuts Lilly.

Food is a deep passion of Lilly’s and is intrinsic to her family, with the kitchen being the heart of their eastern suburbs home. Her two daughters love cooking with their masterchef parents, and on a recent trip to Sweden the family spent a day foraging for chanterelles (mushrooms) and wild blueberries.

With Lilly’s expertise, we could be tempted to hibernate in our Sunset Room with our Watsons Warmers winter menu! We hope you’ll join us for a meal…or three.

Dance, Drama and Fitness Fun these July School Holidays

Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel have a July school holidays program bursting with fun, delicious recipes, exotic animals and creative fitness classes! One of these programs is our Kids Dance Class run by the exuberant and experienced Jess Feneley, eastern suburbs local and owner of  The Jess Academy.

Approaching its 1st anniversary, The Jess Academy has delighted kids in the Eastern suburbs through dance, drama and team fitness classes with big plans to grow. After graduating from the NIDA Young Actor’s Studio, and studying at the Actors Centre and Theatrix Theatre Company, achieving a Diploma in Early Childhood and her Certificate lll and IV in Personal Training, Jess created the academy to combine her love (and experience) in Performance, Fitness and Kids!

Watsons Bay are hosting two 90-minute classes on both Fridays of the school holidays, so we spoke to Jess about what our kiddies can expect and why she loves promoting a healthy and creative lifestyle!

Hi Jess! Thanks for your time; we’d love to know what we can expect from your classes at Watsons Bay?

I’m really excited about our classes! We will be doing half an hour of dance, half an hour of drama games and improvisations, and half an hour of fitness. There is no time for boredom as the kids will be continuously engaged and having a ball.

What is your favourite memory of teaching kids to dance?

I have a few favourite memories! I recall my first experience with a room of 30 children! After teaching them all the steps we turned off the room lights, switched on the disco lights, turned up the music and danced in the exciting disco effects together. The thrill of hearing the children giggle with delight throughout the song will always resonate with me – and it never gets old! Another memory was when a mother told me her daughter practices her Jess Academy moves at home and loves teaching them to her little brother. Seeing the kids SO happy and knowing they take the experience away with them is inspiring.

What is the easiest style of dance for kids to learn?

Zumba Kids uses a range a different styles of dance from countries all over the world and has a hip-hop feeling. Because kids think hip-hop is one of the coolest styles they’re always eager to give it a crack, which makes it feel easier for them.

What type of music can we expect?

It will be a surprise as we try new styles of dance but the music is always energetic, dynamic and fun to get them moving. We love Latino, Reggae, Hip-Hop, Rock and I like to let the kids vote for their songs of choice too.

Is it hard to motivate kids to be active these days, and why are group performance classes important?

I’ve rarely found a child who isn’t motivated by classes and most children love the variety, they arrive hungry to know what we will be doing this time. I think it’s very important to be active and engaged in the classes, not only for the fitness but because it is a great way for young people to form new friendships, build confidence and resilience, and finish with a big smile on their faces.

What does your perfect day at Watsons Bay look like?

My perfect day in Watsons Bay would be a sunrise walk around Camp Cove followed by a delicious lunch on the Top Deck at Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel. I suppose a spin on a yacht in the harbour could be the icing on the cake.


Jess’ classes at Watsons Bay are perfect for kids aged 3 and up. Kids should wear comfortable, loose clothing and enclosed shoes to the class. Tickets are limited so book your spot online today at


Jess Dance Academy 2

C is for Coffee, W is for Watsons Bay

Here at Watsons Bay, we understand the importance of a delicious coffee, especially in the morning! With trained baristas and Toby Estate coffee beans on hand, we promise to deliver the perfect coffee every time – whether it be a cappuccino, double shot soy latte or a flat white with one.


coffee and latte art


Here are some interesting facts that you may have not know about coffee

Coffee is the 2nd most traded commodity in the world behind oil

Coffee beans are actually a fruit – they are the pits of berries!

65% of coffee consumption occurs during breakfast hours (understandably)

100 cups of coffee is considered a lethal dose!

The average age of an Italian barista is 48 years of age

The world consumes 1.6 billion cups of coffee daily


If you have yet to try one of our amazing coffees, we are open every morning from 7am! Why not have some breakfast while you’re here?

Taj Burrow Celebrates at Watsons Bay

With Taj Burrow returning from his last ever surf competition in Fiji, we celebrated at Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel yesterday to honour his illustrious career and remarkable legacy forged in the ocean!

Taj Burrow who has been surfing since he was 7 years old has had many career highlights including being an Australian Surfing Hall of Fame Inductee as well as an ASP World Tour Runner Up 1999 and 2007. He has won everywhere. He’s won events all over the world including Rio, Saquarema, Australia and the United States. It is evident that he has made a name for himself in the surfing world.

Only recently did Taj announce his departure from the world of competitive surfing and to celebrate, his girlfriend Rebecca Jobson threw him the ultimate suprise party to celebrate his career and legacy within the sport.

Despite the gloomy weather, hordes of friends and family showed up in force to reveal the big surprise. There was a strong turnout from the surfing community, with stars like Mick Fanning, Matt Wilkinson, Adrian Buchan and Noa Deane in the building and friend Chris Hemsworth also rocked up for the afternoon celebrations.

Taj Burrow Rebecca Dobson

Escape this Winter with Corona and Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel

Corona Extra and Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel are giving you the chance to escape the cold this winter!


With temperatures hitting between 10 to 15 degrees (yes, that is cold for Australia!), we can’t think of a better reason to try and win a trip to Chaaya Island, Cinnamon Dhonvei – the most exclusive surf resort in the world.

Giving away the trip of a lifetime for seven days, one lucky person and nine of their friends will get to live out the ultimate Corona experience, surfing, swimming and relaxing, in an atoll paradise.

To be in the running, all you have to do is purchase a Corona in our Beach Club, find your unique entry code on the branded neck tag, go online to the entry form and follow the steps to enter. Easy!

The more Coronas you share, the more chances you have of winning the ultimate adventure for you and your friends!

Entertain the kids these school holidays at Watsons Bay

With the July school holidays just around the corner, it can be a challenge to keep the kids entertained everyday!

If you’re running out of ideas to beat the boredom, join us at the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel these school holidays for a whole line up of activities for everyone!

child on beach school holidays

Here is our calendar of events:

MON 4th & 11th:
Amazing Magic Show & Balloon Twisting | 10:30-12pm
TUES 5th & 12th:
Kids Pizza Making Class | 12-2pm
WED 6th & 13th:
Australian Wildlife Show | 10:30-11:30am
THURS 7th & 14th:
Face Painting & Crafts | 12-3pm
FRI 8th & 15th:
Kids Dance Classes | 10:30-12pm

+ $5 Kids Meals and Free Face Painting from 12-3pm every weekday

Bookings are essential.

For more information or to book, please click here

Check out some images from our April school holidays here

children school holidays


Weeknights at Watsons Bay

Looking for somewhere to eat during the colder months after 5pm?

We’ve got your week night meals sorted with our Watsons Warmers specials at the hotel.

MON: $15 Mussels

TUES: $15 Steak (with any drink purchased)

WED: $20 Pie & Wine

THUR: $20 Burger & Beer

FRI: $15 Pizza or Pasta

*conditions apply

Head on down, grab one of our specials and put your feet up by our Fireplace in our Sunset Room.

Warm up this winter at Watsons Bay

Mulled wine, warm, succulent pork (with several sides), and sticky date pudding. Yum. – Can you think of a better combination?


Winter has arrived and it is the time for a warm and hearty meal with your friends and family.

Watsons Bay are putting on the perfect winter roast for the colder months.

Relaunching this June long weekend and continuing throughout winter, this roast is sure to be a winner!

The menu, designed by our Executive Chef John Pye, is an indulgent feast of succulent roast Kurobuta Pork, decadent sides and to finish, sticky date pudding – Paired with a glass of our delicious mulled wine and this feast will be perfect for the colder months!

Bookings Essential

Call: (02) 9337 5444 or email: