Jonathan Riff talks about new book & the experience of running a coastal boutique hotel

Jonathan Riff
Jonathan Riff

Some people are made for adventure. So when it comes to choosing a career, a 9-5 job will be the last thing on their to-do list. But even the most adventurous people think twice before taking major life decisions—especially if they involve leaving everything behind and moving halfway across the country. Jonathan and Megan Riff, however, set off on their adventure without a moment’s hesitation.

Born and brought up in Orange County, California, Jonathan Riff always had a passion for travel and hospitality. He was intrigued by the unique ways in which a simple journey could impact a person. Travelling, Jonathan believed, was a magical experience, giving a person the unique opportunity to learn about a place’s culture and customs and explore it in depth.

He got his degree in Bachelor of Science – Tourism Development & Management in 2010 and was also a candidate for Masters of Sustainable Tourism Development. In January 2016, Riff took a drastic step most wouldn’t dare to, moving to Croatia and taking over an old Communist Social House. The property was built during the Tito period of Yugoslavia and needed to be restored thoroughly.

Over the next few months, the couple designed, planned, conceptualized and completely transformed the property into an 18-room designer-driven boutique hotel. They named the hotel The Admiral Zaton, and operated it successfully for a span of 3 years. In January 2019, the Riffs moved back to the US with the intention of sharing their experiences with the world.

Building a hotel is no piece of cake, but doing so in a foreign country is a different battle altogether. From legal matters to language barriers, the Riffs managed to surpass every difficulty and build one of the best boutique hotels in all of Croatia. The couple is now working on a book about their journey from LA to Croatia and the battles they had to face to build their dream boutique hotel. When The Tourists Leave is all set to release in November 2019.

As Riff puts it, the book is not based on a true story, it is a true story. Through it, the two wish to share their experience of building a new life and running a business in a foreign land. From overwhelming skepticism and learning the local language to fighting bureaucracy, When The Tourists Leave tells the story of how the Riffs built The Admiral Zaton.

While Jonathan was managing The Admiral Zaton in Croatia, he also volunteered as an event speaker at Best Stay. It is one of the most concrete hospitality conferences hosted in Croatia, bringing together top hoteliers and tourism experts of Europe. In only a few years, Jonathan Riff has managed to make The Admiral Zaton one of the top tourist destinations in Croatia.

The world might be full of dreamers, but not everyone has the conviction to follow through. With a crazy story like Jonathan Riff’s, When The Tourists Leavepromises to be a refreshing read for travel-oriented book lovers.