Nick Wills from Cabana Bar - CEO of Tilley & Wills Hotels

25 Martin Place is home to the ultimate off-duty playground, Tilly & Wills Hotels unique hospitality concept Cabana Bar. 

Cabana Bar gives of beach club vibes with cheeky cocktails paired with a delicious menu and great views of the 25 Martin Place Plaza.

We interviewed Nick Wills, CEO of Tilly & Wills Hotels and wife Edwina Wills to discover the recipe for a roaring success in personal and professional life, plus to find out who Nick will be raising a toast to as his ROAR model this Mother's Day.

Nick, tell us who you would cheers this Mother’s Day for being your ROAR model and why?

My wife Edwina - and all Mums for that matter.

It’s a tough, relentless job that starts with this bubbly, chubby pooing machine and hopefully ends up with this decent human being who is well balanced and respectful. Mums are the key drivers in their development and live and breathe every moment with their child. In my wife's case she also has the added burden of putting up with my job that realistically keeps me on call 7 days and nights a week.


You have a successful company Tilley & Wills Hotels who have brought the unique hospitality concept Cabana Bar to Martin Place. What’s been the biggest influence on your path to success?

My fantastic business partner Simon who inspires me when required but also helps to keep things fun and entertaining even when things get tough. Being able to see the funnier and lighter side of things through a fairly heavy fog is a godsend. Hospitality is relentless, like a child and also has no on and off switch. We have hotels that open at 10am in the morning and trade all the way through to 5am, 7 days a week. There is no such thing as a proper day or night off.

However, above all my wife deserves most of the credit as I really don’t have to think about what is going on at home during a normal working week. I know that my kids are loved and well taken care of and that means that I am ultimately free to able to focus on building our business.


Navigating marriage and kids can be hard – how do you and Edwina make time for one another?

To be honest this has been pretty hard. I am terrible to go out with because I find it hard to switch off and am constantly critiquing in my head (most of the time) other hospitality businesses and ideas.

When we do find the time we like to jump on the boat, or take a family holiday whilst the kids still like hanging around us.

My wife also likes to think she is good at all sports so sometimes I like to let her beat me at either tennis or golf.


They say behind every great businessman is an ever-ferocious women. As a unified front, what business successes have you shared and how did your wife shine in that #roarmodel moment?

She shares in every success because everything significant at work, I more or less run past her at home. We have a great partnership on both fronts really.


Edwina, those early years of motherhood are hard - the major adjustment, sleep deprivation, the routine of no routine, and with Nick busy managing Tilley & Wills, did you ever have a coping ritual?

Yes, the early years were hard as we had 3 kids aged under 3 and Nick was working really long hours building the businesses. We had an understanding that I managed the kids and the home, and he was free to focus on the business and would help out when he could or when I really needed him. We were lucky in that we lived by the beach in Avalon for those early years, so we spent lots of time outdoors. Plus, we had an incredible community of local friends who all regularly helped each other out - there were many evenings of shared “kid’s dinners” and glasses of wines with friends!


Edwina, what kind of mum are you – relaxed, strict, routine?

I would say I’m pretty relaxed about most things but am super strict with manners - good manners are non-negotiable in our house.


And Nick, what kind of wife is she - relaxed, strict, routine?

Hmmm - many would say tolerant, but she's great most of the time, but occasionally it would be nice to be out of the Naughty Corner. I do occasionally like to head out with mates and do some "research" in other hotels from time to time.


Edwina, how would you describe motherhood in one word....

Motherhood is joy!