|Byron Bay Lighthouse is built in the James Barnet style, known for its towers with large ornate crowns.|
Byron Bay in Australia’s New South Wales is a hidden beachside getaway that mostly attracts Australian visitors rather than the international market. Development blends in with the natural lay of the land, so buildings seem to disappear behind the foliage of a semi-rainforest, creating a casual, rugged and naturally beautiful escape.
Nature-based activities are popular in Byron Bay—for example, Cape Byron Kayaks brings explorers out to the open ocean for some intense kayaking. Depending on the season, adventurers can see whales or dolphins splashing around in the water. The Bay is the easternmost point on the Australian mainland, and a trek to the historical lighthouse makes for a fun journey. You’ll thank yourself after taking in the views of the ocean and the coastline.
After kayaking, suggest your clients lunch at Byron Beach Café, which specializes in fresh local food that’s meant for sharing. The café’s juice bar is also an experience (think cranberry mint and orange ginger drinks). The views of the beach are spectacular (note: request a seat on the back porch if possible), and the café is a popular spot for weddings.
Nearby, the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is home to koalas, kangaroos, rare birds of prey, crocodiles and numerous other local animals, many of which are endangered. Animal fans should not pass up the chance to cuddle a koala or feed a kangaroo, and the high-ropes adventure course is great for thrill-seekers.
There are numerous places to stay in and around Byron, but one of the most popular is The Byron at Byron. The resort appears small at first glance: The buildings are hidden by the rainforest, so it is difficult to see them all at once. In fact, the resort stretches so far out into the woods that golf carts are frequently employed to help guests get around. The resort has 60 Superior Suites and 32 Deluxe Spa Suites, which we hear are the most popular. The spa suites have sliding doors to customize space and light, and deep soaking bathtubs. Each suite also has a screened-in front and back porch where guests can relax in open air without worrying about any rainforest critters.
|A Penthouse at Beach Suites has its own rooftop pool filled with captured rainwater.|
The resort’s spa has six treatment rooms and two separate relaxation areas. It has five signature treatments that sound divine, but the 90-minute Rainforest Body Ritual, we hear, is the hands-down winner. It combines a scrub therapy, scalp treatment, Vichy shower and body moisturizer.
Nice Touch: The spa can arrange in-room treatments for bridal parties or groups. Contact Spa Manager Naomi Quarrell ([email protected]byron.com.au) for special requests or reservations.
Yoga sessions are held on the pool patio every morning (complimentary for guests), and the restaurant overlooks the trees and the water. Try the curry fish, or the chicken and pasta, or the degustation dinner. Head Chef Gavin Hughes has agreements with local farmers, so all of the food is fresh, and guests can accompany Hughes to the farmers’ market on Thursday mornings to help select produce. Contact Restaurant Manager Kelly Hunter ([email protected]) for reservations.
We hear the resort is a popular place for marriage proposals, especially at Bolli Point, which overlooks Lake Tallow. Guest relations have organized picnics at the point with a helium balloon saying “I love you,” which is weighed down by a box containing the ring. Another proposal involved a string quartet. Other guests have renewed their vows in the Lotus Gardens either alone or with a few special friends. We hear it is also a popular spot for a couples spa treatment (a nice way to relax before popping the question!).
|Suites at Peppers Balé Salt have private balconies, and four Penthouse Suites have private rooftops.|
Guest Relations Manager Chrissie Caplice ([email protected]; 011-612-6639-2000) has prepared a guest’s suite with champagne and chocolate and even readied a bath, lit candles and sprinkled petals around while the guests were in the middle of an anniversary dinner in the restaurant.
If your clients still aren’t convinced about The Byron at Byron, tell them that celebs such as Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, Eric Bana and Steve Irwin’s family have all stayed there. Luxury travel advisors should reach out to Sales and Marketing Manager Kerry Gunther ([email protected]).
Just outside of Byron Bay, Peppers Balé Salt sits by one of the few beaches in Australia to be patrolled by lifeguards every day of the year (no worries about swimming on Christmas—there will be a lifeguard on duty). The resort has 41 one-, two- and three-bedroom self-contained suites. Be sure to request top-floor suites for ocean views, and also for large parties (the two-bedroom suites sleep up to five people and the three-bedroom suites seven). We hear the best suite is the Three-Bedroom Penthouse Suite (No. 1322), which has ocean views, an outdoor dining area and rooftop spa.
The hotel’s Golden Door Spa has 16 treatment rooms, so therapies can be booked as late as a day prior to the treatment. (It’s still best to book as far out as possible, however, just to be safe.) We hear the most requested treatment is the 50-minute massage, but we’re intrigued by the signature facial (Facial A la Carte) and the signature body treatment (Aromatic Salt Glow). Men can get their own dedicated facial treatments, and there are even specific therapies for the eyes. Bonus: Guests can add pre-treatment bath soaks to feel ultra-relaxed when they begin their therapies. Luxury travel advisors should reach out to Spa Director Peta Hughes-Jones ([email protected]; 011-612-6674-3233).
Cool Touch: With its prime beachfront location, the hotel has a dedicated watersport guru, who (as the name might suggest) organizes all water-based activities (think kayaking, swimming with turtles and seasonal whale watching). Watersport Guru Tim Jack Adams can be reached at [email protected]. All other activities can be arranged with reception.
Peppers Salt Resort and Spa is in the same resort complex as Peppers Balé, and shares many of the services (spa, watersport guru, etc.). The most popular rooms at the resort are the one-bedroom poolside suites in wings 3 and 6. The two-bedroom suites sleep up to five people, and the three-bedroom suites seven. Note: Be sure to ask for views of the lagoon pool. Luxury travel advisors should contact Front Office Manager Todd Heal ([email protected]; 011-612-6674-7734).
For families and groups that just want a comfortable and quiet place to stay without any bells and whistles, Beach Suites is one of the more private and exclusive accommodations in Byron Bay. We hear the most popular rooms are the Beachfront Studios with plunge pools (Room Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 6); couples tend to prefer the Studios and Suites, and families like the Penthouse Apartments (Room Nos. 12, 13 and 14). The suites have full kitchens (complete with large refrigerators, microwaves and dishwashers), and some even have barbecues for cookouts. Luxury travel advisors should reach out to Manager Helen Buckley ([email protected]; 011-612-6680-9944).
Getting There: The nearest major international airport to Byron Bay is in Brisbane. For guests flying Qantas, Brisbane Airport has a lovely and comfortable business-class lounge for pre-flight relaxing. Closer in, Byron/Ballina and Coolangatta airports are within an hour’s drive. For transfers, contact David Flood of Luxury Transfers.