Top accolades for villas
YANNICK Hall reckons the neighbours must have thought she and her husband Howard were mad when they started refurbishing some old units at Yamba.
Well, painting besser blocks 39 different colours just to find the right ones certainly had the curtains twitching.
But 10 years on Yannick and her husband Howard need only swell with pride when the talk about the renaissance of Clubyamba, which nestles in Henson Ln and Church St, as the luxury accommodation has received top accolades by TripAdvisor.
The facility was picked as number one out of 10 in Yamba, which also means it's in the top 10% of worldwide accommodation on the travel website.
This follows last year's guest review award of the year.
The couple bought the property in 1998 and decided to start renovating in 2000.
"We were new residents of Yamba," Yannick said.
"We had arrived there, fell in love with it and moved almost immediately from Brisbane."
The units had been built in 1958.
"It needed a clean-up but when we started we realised some of the tenants would be very disturbed by the hammers and drills and whatever was going on," Yannick said.
"It took a while to find them alternative accommodation and then we had a rethink - do we bulldoze or rebuild?"
The couple decided they had been drawn to Yamba for its provincial, coastal charm and that if they changed it, it would change the whole personality of what brought them to the town.
"We looked at the building again and we thought we could do holiday accommodation there," she said.
After a year of revamping, working within the restraints of the council bylaws and countless paint jobs, the Halls were all out of money.
"So we locked it up for 12 months to make some money to furnish it," Yannick said.
"The locals must have thought we were nuts."
One of those neighbours was Yamba artist and original owner of the property, Keith Howland, who was so thrilled with the colourful revamp, inspired by the trawlers and the holiday vibe, he offered his prints to help furnish the accommodation.
Clubyamba consists of a mix of self-contained villas, an apartment on Yamba hill and a boat house by the river. But Yannick said the accommodation had a few personalities since it opened in 2001.
"Last year we decided to take a whole new direction with a new managing system where we involved two sets of managers.
"The present managers have been paramount to the success we've achieved."
Yannick said she was moved and humbled by the latest accolades.
"We still value Yamba's not a thoroughfare."