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Jessie Jones

Image by Nick Atkins at Hotel Miami.

She’s one third (the best third obvs) of the team behind the Gold Coast’s most high vibe co-working and studio space, Hotel Miami and one hell of a gal to boot.

We sat down for a chat with Jessie Jones about the epic new section they’ve just added onto their space and why she’s already living the dream. 

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I moved to the GC from California six years ago, although it only feels like about five minutes! But the Gold Coast has really evolved in those six short years, which has been really cool to see.  

What do you love most about living here?
It’s truly one of the most beautiful places in the world, I do miss home but our lifestyle here in Burleigh would be really hard to beat anywhere else. So lucky to live walking distance to such gorgeous white sandy beaches with perfect clear water. I grew up in the snow so I’ll take the beach any day!

Tell us about a day in the life of the boss at Hotel Miami…
I usually start with a bit of yoga in the space; we’ve built a great little yoga community on Tuesdays and Fridays. And then you’ll find me at my desk at Hotel Miami punching out emails, helping with shoots in the studio, and belly laughing with the Hotel Miami crew all day. There’s too much fun to be had around here.

Ya’ll just added a brand new space to the HM repertoire, what can we do there?
Yes we’ve just taken on the back space of the building that we’re already in; it’s a really special spot. There’s private office space available back there, but it’s also an epic event space for anything from workshops to weddings!

Why’d you decide to go bigger?
We always day dreamed about having that back space, so as soon as it became available we had to just go for it! We get asked all the time to host all different sorts of events and we just haven’t really had the proper space with all of our desks in our original co-space up the front, so now that we’ve got the space we can finally take on those opportunities!

Imagine all the wrangling that goes on.

What’s it like wrangling Darran Franks and Nick Atkins every day?
Let’s just say homegirl needs a raise!

What’s in the works for 2020 for the Hotel Miami crew?
We’re always up to something fun! We’ve recently combined Nick and Darran’s powers in branding and content creation and morphed into a full service digital agency, so it’s been really cool to work together on some new projects. Next year we’re most excited to be doing all the digital content creation and event coverage for the Blues on Broadbeach and Groundwater Music Festivals! 

If you were living your absolute dream life, how would that look?
I think I’m already living it honestly, I’m very lucky to have my little family with Nick and our one-year-old son Abe. Plus the Hotel Miami community has become a really special thing in our lives that I never fully expected when we started this a couple years ago. Don’t get me wrong, running multiple small businesses with your partner and friends doesn’t come without a bit of stress (okay a lot of stress!) but I wouldn’t change a thing! Although a cheeky lotto win wouldn’t hurt 😉 

Tell us your favourites on the Gold Coast…
Coffee spot: I’m a freak and don’t drink coffee but DGCB does a mean banana smoothie!
Bar for after work drinks: Granddad Jacks always! Their new Pavlova Gin is dangerous.
Restaurant for dinner: Restaurant Labart is a special treat!
How does your weekend usually look: I’m usually chasing Nick and Abe up and down the beach at Talle creek in the mornings and having a BBQ with our friends on our balcony in the arvo.

Darran Franks and Nicka Atkins

They are two of the most passionate, creative Gold Coasters you’ll ever meet and, with their powers combined, they opened everyone’s favourite bright pink co-working and event space, Hotel Miami earlier this year.

Meet Nicka Atkins and Darran Franks. We sat down for a chat with the good-time loving (and also super professional) pair about meeting at a silent meditation commune and the big plans they have for connecting the Gold Coast community.

How long have you been Gold Coast locals?
Darran 20 years and Nicka 32 years

What do you love most about our city?
The opportunity!!! We are a city on the cusp of greatness and people are moving to the area in droves. There is abundant opportunity for business as long as you are dedicated and good at what you do.

Tell us how you two met…
Nicka “I met Darran on a Vispassina silent retreat at the Barjuan commune in India. Our eyes met over a hot vegetarian dahl and we knew it was a perfect business partner match.”
Darran “We met at my cousins wedding.”

How did Hotel Miami come about?
Darran and myself had both relocated home from different cities and wanted to create a workspace that felt more in line with a big city feel – an artistic hub where we could shoot/edit/paint and collab on all of our fun projects. We found the location and realized it was perfect. The support for Hotel Miami has been so amazing especially with all the young and up and coming artists.

Why do you think co-working spaces are the go these days…
I think more and more people are working for themselves and becoming entrepreneurs of sorts. The Gold Coast has so many people out there working on a side hustle or new idea. The co-working model works because people like to feel inspired by others at work. Anyone who has worked from home knows it’s handy for a while but nothing beats having others around to bounce ideas off and just to generally have a laugh with. Our little community here have a bunch of laughs and really get things done. There has already been other business formed out of Hotel Miami, which is awesome!

You host events and art shows too, tell us what you’re aiming to create for the local community?
We do. It’s called First Friday’s. On the first Friday of every month we host a local Gold Coast artist to showcase their work. We always make it FREE for the artist and we don’t take any commissions. This has been a huge part of what Darran, Jessie and I consider our success in this business. We feel very fortunate to be in a position where we can help promote homegrown creative talent on the GC. The truth is, there are tonnes of brilliant artists on the Gold Coast, young and old. We would love to see more and more people host art shows and get our towns’ name out there as a culturally forward and supportive community. I could go on and on about this subject but seriously seeing all the awesome people come to our studio and buy art off the walls is a truly epic experience.

How have you seen the Coast’s art and culture scene change over the years?
The Coasts’ art and culture scene has exploded. The people want good dining, music and artistic experiences and there’s a bunch of amazing people in the community making that happen. I’m not going to lie, introducing new and exciting businesses isn’t always easy because there’s no framework to go off when making these spaces however we have experienced very positive feedback from our city leaders and we are very excited at what the Gold Coast is becoming. I can’t wait to see what the GC will have to offer in another five years!

What else do you think we need?
A late night eating scene. A central independent live music venue, more buskers, more forward thinkers, a modern art gallery, more relaxed food truck laws, more spots to enjoy food and drinks on the beachfront that aren’t surf clubs.

What’s on for the rest of 2018 for you both?
We are gonna keep on fighting the good fight and developing our brand here at Hotel Miami. We love the Gold Coast and we love the creative community. Come join us!

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Bar: Cambus Wallace and Granddad Jacks
Beach: North Burleigh
Café: Stones Throw, Burleigh Social
Restaurant: The Scottish Prince, Mr Hizolas
How does your weekend usually look: Nicka: Up early with my new baby boy Abe, we go and do a surf check, talk mum into letting me go surfing and then usually hanging at the Hotel cleaning up and preparing for the next week of mayhem.

Hotel Miami

How good is making new friends in a sweet, good time space while pretending to work but really just watching animal docos? So good, gang.

In an (un)surprising turn of events, you can now do all of those things at the Coast’s sweet new co-working and events space in the suburb that may just be our new fave – Miami.

The gist is this. Lemana Lane is a kind of urban, cool kids paradise that was once only home to mechanics and warehouses hording who knows what. Now though, it’s a place you definitely want to be, what with the recent opening of Hotel Miami and a coming soon gin distillery.

Hotel Miami’s creators realised the areas potential far before the rest of us, nabbed themselves a warehouse space and filled it with all kinds of goodies. There’s velvet couches, handmade desks (ask ‘em how that went down) perfect for Insta-snaps, a dartboard and best of all, a Yamaha parked right in front of a neon sign that reads “fuck yeah”.

Oh and there’s a photo studio too. See, good times.

The idea was to open a space that would allow co-owner Nick to escape from the confines of his bedroom and a cat whose actual name is Winston Smushface.

Jokes. It was so Nick, along with his fiancé Jessie (the boss) and mate Darran, could create a place to hang out with other creatives, “work” on their various other businesses and create a fun little Miami community. They adapted a community event they used to attend in Venice Beach where local businesses would come together and showcase their goods while also making rad new friends.

The point is, you can rent one of those handmade desks for a day or on a fulltime basis (recommended for bulk good times) and there are upstairs offices up for grabs too.

The photo studio can also be hired for any fun projects you’ve got going on and there’s super speedy Internet and everyone’s other favourite thing – air conditioning.

As of April 6th there’ll be an event on the first Friday of every month (dubbed First Friday to make writing about it easier) that’ll showcase local artists and finally bring Gold Coasters the live music we need and deserve.

Whether you’re in the market for a new workspace or not, get down there and check it out, the crew are keen to meet all the like-minded creatives they can muster.

And they’re not bad at hilarious banter either.

LOCATION: 1/49 Lemana Lane, Miami

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

Granddad Jacks Distillery

In what may just be the happiest news of 2018, a gin and whiskey distillery will roll open its doors in a few short weeks and we could not be more into it.

Granddad Jacks Distillery has been in the works for what feels like four years to those of us who love both gin and whiskey a little too much. In reality it’s only been four months but the wait is almost over.

On August 24th, the industrial-style Miami distillery will open for the good folks of the Gold Coast and, it’s certainly a cause to celebrate. Found on Lemana Lane, the distillery has taken up in what used to be a mechanics workshop and the transformation is pure magic.

Father/son team and owners Dave and Luke Ridden (along with the lovely Jess) scoured the Gold Coast in search of iron beams and the like to build a space that fits perfectly in Miami’s backstreets. Steel-inspired high tables with copper stools stretch down the centre of the room and two of the coolest leather couches we’ve ever seen make for a little chill spot at one end (if they go missing forget you read this). A day bed along one wall is lined with colourful cushions and underneath a mural proclaiming ‘too busy for bullshit, too tipsy to care’ and that, friends, is our new life motto.

Above the bar, an exposed brick wall boasts a painted portrait of the man himself, Granddad Jack, whose face peers out over the whole space, keeping an eye on you and your whiskey-fuelled shenanigans. There are wine barrels placed artfully about and the cruisiest of cruisers, decked out in Granddad Jack’s signage, is parked up the back. Oh and the main affair, a huge copper still sits at the back pumping out all the tasty booze. Love you.

So who is this Granddad Jack your new favourite watering hole is named after? Well, he’s a New Zealand born lad whose hard work and sharp mind allowed him to pay a huge family debt singlehandedly at the ripe old age of 14, that’s who. Luke, his great grandson, adopted the same hard working, ‘too busy for bullshit’ attitude and here we are, just a humble beachside city with our very own distillery. What a time.

Granddad Jack’s will sell only their own styles of both gin and whiskey and they’ll have a few varieties of each including what they call a ‘navy strength’ gin that’s 58%. Gimme.

There’ll be no food available on site but, hooray, you can BYO whatever you like so it’ll be a cheese platter and gin party for us thank you very much.

The epic space is also available for events including birthdays, engagement parties and wedding receptions and there was even a secret Sofar Sounds gig there recently. So much room for activities.

Okay we’re done and so very excited. Keep August 24th free, you won’t want to miss this one.

LOCATION: 43 Lemana Lane, Miami
HOURS: 10am until midnight Wednesday to Sunday

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

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