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Meet the Reef House Team

In pursuit of creating unforgettable experiences for our guests. At The Reef House, our goal is to deliver an exceptional experience to every individual through friendly ‘our house’ service and attention to detail.

Wayne Harris | General Manager

Born and raised in Fremantle close to Perth in Western Australia, Wayne has been a resident in Palm Cove since 2008 and apart of the Reef House Team as General Manager for 6 years.  

The role Wayne has taken on is much more than being in charge of all aspects of the smooth functioning of The Reef House. For Wayne, he identifies his position as the role of a Custodian, maintaining the traditions and history of The Reef House, which he says is a true honour.

As a work philosophy, Wayne has often emphasised his genuine sense of care, attention and passion for making people happy, which of course extends not only to the guests but also to the Team at Reef House.

“Not only do we want to please and make people enjoy their stay, but show a special style of hospitality to fellow humans and treat people better than they expected to be treated”.

That is the overall nature of all who work at Reef House and Wayne has always looked for this personality trait within every Team Member.

“How we make you feel is the difference, nobody else can do it better.”  

Wayne and his Team want to make sure that the Reef House exceeds the promise we want to deliver. A return visit or personal recommendation to friends is the best compliment the Reef House could ever receive!

Isabelle Neil | Spa Director

Originally from Switzerland, Isabelle was trained in France by the crème de la crème; Clarins, Chanel, Dior & Phytomer, specialising in intensive therapies such as anti-ageing, deep relaxation massage and slimming treatments.

Isabelle’s extensive experience has taken her all around the world as a pioneer in providing anti-ageing facial treatments. Isabelle was the Managing Director of the first privately owned Christian Dior Spa on the Caribbean island of Saint Maarten. 

Isabelle is committed to nurturing her clients and offering unique spa treatments designed for intense relaxation, rejuvenation and general well-being. 

Isabelle leads a small dedicated team at the exclusive Reef House Spa who follow the mantra that nothing is impossible when it comes to your care and making your experience unique.

Cedric Lootvoet | Luxury Concierge

Born in Strasbourg France, Cedric has that special European charm, which has an intrinsic focus on his power of personality.

As the Luxury Concierge for The Reef House, Cedric has taken the role to a new level, reaching out to guests before they arrive by phone, where he focuses on finding the little details that will make their stay an absolute pleasure, as well as encouraging a genuine reason to return.

Having resided in the Palm Cove area for over 5 years, Cedric is here to help guests with the best places to visit, be that restaurants, a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest, or just relaxing around the hotel with the many experiences and services provided, be that the twilight cocktail hour, sorbet around the pool or a mixology class.

Cedric chose this career path due to his innate “love of people”. His infectious smile and courteous style is a delight for all our guests and fellow team members.

Nicolas Reverte | Executive Chef

Born in Nice France, Nicolas Reverte’s passion for food and cooking stems back to his childhood watching the passion and skill of his grandparents creating family meals. Since he was a child, Nicolas knew he wanted to pursue a culinary career.

Nicolas studied cuisine in Nice, and once his studies finished, he worked in both France and Spain. While in Spain, Nicolas was able to work for world-renowned chef Martin Berasategui, who holds 12 Michelin stars. 

It was while working with Chef Berasategui that Nicolas learned a valuable lesson in understanding and respecting local produce and how to make the most of it. And it’s this understanding of and focus on the local produce that has made Nicolas a true attribute to the Reef House Restaurant.  

With a desire to work with the produce of Queensland, particularly the seafood and tropical fruit, it is Nicolas’ aim to be able to combine these local ingredients with European flavours.

Norm | Brigadier Extraordinaire

Known for his suspenders, brightly coloured shirts and brilliant ‘bar yarns’, Norm has worked at The Reef House for over 20 years and lived in Palm Cove for over 30 years.

Originally working in night audit, Norm now serves the guest punch & canapés each evening in the Brigadiers Lounge and loves to connect with guests and share his insider local knowledge.

The Reef House holds a special place in Norms heart, he’s actually retired twice but thankfully keeps returning and is a big part of the reason why guests return time and time again.

“I love the fact that I am part of the reason that people come back. People say on check in they’re going to have a drink with Norm.”

Norm certainly leaves a lasting impression, guests have sent braces from Switzerland, Melbourne and all over the world. In his spare time, Norm loves gardening and woodwork – the chess set in the Brigadiers Lounge is some of his impressive handiwork!

“The Reef House is relaxed, friendly, and a place you can call home… The feel of the resort has changed very little and that’s why so many people keep coming back.”

Karolina Kowalska | Rooms Division Manager

Our Rooms Division Manager, Karolina Kowalska, has a strong passion for working with people and being apart of creating beautiful memories for our guests.

Originally from Poland, Karolina prides herself in making guests feel like family and her hardworking attitude. Karolinas role involves leading all aspects of the Front Desk including Guest Services, Concierge and Reservations. 

Throughout Karolina’s career she has worked in all departments of hotels including both front and back of house which helps her to understand the entire business and see the bigger picture. 

In her spare time she loves hanging with her favourite four legged friend Jacky, fishing, going to the reef and enjoying great food & wine.

Karolina loves making the most out of every single day and enjoying the little things in life. She is a great asset to the wonderful Reef House team.

Joffrey Byrgiel | Food & Beverage Manager

Hailing from a small village in the North of France, our F&B Manager Joffrey has a deep connection to good food and wine.  Joffrey’s role is to create memorable experiences for every Reef House Restaurant guest, as well as the personal development of his staff and continuing to build the Reef House culture.

“Gastronomy plays a key role during your holiday. Enjoying great cocktails and complimentary sorbet around the pool, dining under the stars in the Reef House restaurant – the goal of the F&B team is to make sure our guests are living their dream vacation.”

In Joffrey’s spare time he is always looking for the next cafe or restaurant to discover! Make sure to ask him for any recommendations on your next visit.

Other than wining and dining, Joffrey’s #1 tip is to wake up early, grab a coffee, cross the road, sit on the beach and enjoy a breathtaking Palm Cove sunrise.

“I believe the history of the hotel and the Brigadier is what makes this place so special. A colonial beach house, with an honesty bar, nestled in the beautiful Palm cove is the right recipe for a magical tropical experience.”

Michele | Sommelier

Michele is the resident Sommelier at The Reef House and is known for his fun and interactive ‘Reef House Mixology’ cocktail classes held twice weekly for our guests.

Growing up in Sicily Italy, Michele has always been familiar with wine, however he did not truly understand it until he moved to London where he found his passion and decided to study and become a Sommelier.

Michele started at a wine cellar, followed by Michelin star restaurants, before managing a wine bar and holding blind wine tastings.

 “I love wine, however what I’m most proud of is watching guests enjoy the wine I recommend and giving them the best experience possible. I have always loved what I do.”

Michele loves experimenting with new wines, cocktails and flavours – his most recent creation being an Avocado cocktail! Be sure to ask Michele for his recommendations on your next visit to The Reef House.

‘To travel is to live, and to drink is to enjoy’.

Jean Henry | Assistant Housekeeping Manager

Born and raised in Rabaul Papua New Guinea, Jean is the Assistant Housekeeping Manager at The Reef House and has lived in Palm Cove for 21 years.

Jean is known for her smiling face and takes a lot of pride in remembering the little things that ensure guests have a memorable stay and keep returning year after year. Things like what tea they enjoy drinking and the type of furniture they like in their room.

Jean loves the green season and her top tips for the region are to visit Kuranda, the Daintree and Port Douglas.