Interview conducted by Fatema Sitabkhan (with thanks to Mercy Me Marketing)
Interviewees: Trent & Melissa Fahey
Photos by Fatema Sitabkhan
West Lakes may have been a part of Adelaide that I hadn’t visited in my 8 years of living in Adelaide, but when I was drawn to this beautiful suburb the other week to check out The Lakes Hotel (formerly known as the Lakes Resort Hotel), it’s safe to say that I may have just fallen in love with the waterfront! With a stunning view of the waterfront, along with a fresh and modern twist to their space, the The Lakes Hotel has outdone themselves with fittings that accentuate the nautical theme of the Hotel and balancing its outlook with a theme of minimalism and simplicity.
Along with offering options of accommodation, events, and functions, the Hotel also boasts of 4 areas for wining & dining – 2 of which are restaurants (Knots Kitchen + Crusoes), 1 bar space (The Lakes Hotel Bar), and 1 cafe space (Mr. Neptunes Café).
With so many areas to explore and being surrounded by the gorgeous views of the Lakefront, I was curious to learn how this new look of The Lakes Hotel became a reality. So, I was fortunate enough to score an e-interview with co-owners Trent & Melissa Fahey – read our exchange below:
Tema: Can you please tell me a bit about yourself, Melissa & Trent?
Trent: The Lakes Hotel is a family-owned and operated business. My mother and father (Judy and Greg Fahey) have owned the Hotel for over 20 years now. My brother (Jason) is the financial controller and I’m the operations manager. I’m now a 4th Generation Publican. Mel is involved in the Creative & Construction side of our businesses.
Tema; I am quite new to this location (West Lakes) and have only recently learned about Lakes Hotel as a business – in a nutshell, what should a first time customer know about it?
Trent: There is so much more to the Lakes Hotel than you would expect from a hotel. Generally, people comment on the size of the hotel – it isn’t your average suburban pub and are secondly amazed by the view.
Tema: What made you decide to revamp / renovate the space? Can you give me some examples of how the space looks different (compared to its previous appearance)?
Trent: It is an exciting time for the West! With the development of Henley Square, WEST and redeveloped Westfield, the timing was right for us. We completely opened up the main food and beverage area to embrace the amazing lake views and natural light. We created different outlets within this area for different styling, feels and occasions.
Knots Kitchen (formerly the hotel bistro) has a transformed entrance. We now have a lounge area, where customers can enjoy lake views and a double-sided fireplace.
All new booth seating in the sports bar area with a bespoke wall mural.
A 5m Full HD Screen complimented by state of the art sound ceiling system creates directional noise control to avoid noise travel from one side of the bar to the other during sports games.
Tema: What are the key components of your space and what makes each space truly distinct and unique?
Trent: All new Mr Neptunes Café embraces coffee culture with aromatic beans, fresh squeeze juices and delicious patisseries in a setting of fireplace, and rattan lounge chairs overlooking the lake.
Knots Kitchen is a complete rebrand and is equipped with a new menu. Double tiered seating arrangement allows customers to take full advantage of lake views, and an extensive, diverse menu that features flaming woks on display. This ensures that there is something tasty for everyone.
Lakes Hotel Bar consists of two sides. Lakeside with waterfront booths and oak high tables are perfect spots to unwind over our local Gins, which are complemented with fruits and botanicals. The other side features an impressive 5m Full HD Screen, sound ceiling noise control and array of different seating options.
Tema: Who the head chef? Can you tell me a bit about their background?
Trent: Head Chef Nigel Rich worked in Hong Kong, before returning the D’Arry’s Verandah and Elbow Room McLaren Vale. He has an amazing arsenal of cooking skills, with a special focus on house-made quality local ingredients. He is backed up by Sous Chef Keigo Teranishi and together, they have created a diverse menu that brings together the art of Australian cooking, along with influences from Hong Kong and Japan. The result is spectacular.
Tema: What dish(es) would you say rank among the most popular here at Lakes Hotel?
Trent: Nourish Bowl has been really popular over summer for vegan and healthy conscious. Other favourites include the crab sandwiches, rump steak with olive tapenade, and house-made Gnocchi.
Tema: What dish(es) would you say rank among the most recommended here at Lakes Hotel?
Trent: For variety, order a tasting platter with a bottle of wine, while sitting on the sun deck and looking over the water.
Tema: What do you think was one of the biggest challenges of (re)-setting up your business?
Trent: The biggest challenge is constantly evolving. South Australians are spoilt for choice with local produce, wines, craft beers and gins. This high standard of quality forces everyone in the industry to be at the top of their game to meet their customers’ expectations.
Tema: What do you hope for your customers to experience from visiting (and supporting) Lakes Hotel?
Trent: Being a family-run hotel, I really want everyone to be greeted with a smile and feel like a regular. During their time at The Lakes, we really want our customers to forget the outside world and feel like they are on a relaxing getaway.
Tema: Let’s dive into the many other services you offer – accommodation, functions, and events – can you briefly explain how it all works?
Trent: We have 72 Suites; each with balcony and lake views. There are also facilities, such as an indoor pool and spa, that guests are welcome to enjoy during their stay here. We offer 7 diverse function spaces that can be tailored to specific customer needs – from food and beverage booth packages in the bar, private rooms for birthday or celebrations, conference rooms, right through to complete wedding weekend experiences with ceremony + receptions + honeymoon suites.
Tema: What would you classify as being a ‘wholesome’ experience from visiting Lakes Hotel?
Trent: It really depends what you’re looking for. We are lucky to have a variety of spaces and offerings. It can range from anything, such as staying in a studio spa suite, indulging in amazing food and local Gins, wines and beers, or a coffee with a view while catching up with a close one.
Tema: What are some notable SA brands that your customers can experience at the restaurant and at the bar?
Trent: There are so many to list! Mismatch Brewing, all the local Gins (Lyre Bird, Ounce, Never Never and 78 degree), and wines from Barossa, McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Clare and Kangaroo Island. We really have a little something from all regions of SA, which is always great to see so many South Australians giving it a go and being at the top of their game.
Tema: What is it about being a South Australian / local brand that makes it all the more special?
Trent: Growing up, we were always compared to eastern states or the rest of the world. There is no doubt that SA has a small population and there are two degrees of separation between people, which really makes it more special when you see real people give it a go and see them succeed in producing world standard products. It is so good to be a part of a real revolution in SA and see all South Australians become so proud of the amazing products our state is producing!
141 Brebner Drive,
West Lakes SA 5021