The Byron at Byron: Where luxury meets nature, and martinis meet meditation
After a hectic few months with work I found myself in need of a little break away.
I felt I needed something like a remote countryside cottage or forest cabin where I could escape and digitally detach. But at the same time I craved some 5-star luxury. I wanted mindfulness but I wanted martinis, I wanted nature but I wanted room service…
I give you The Byron at Byron.
A five-star resort nestled in 45 acres of rainforest on the outskirts of Byron. The resort offered everything I was looking for: spa treatments, fine dining, yoga classes, luxury suites, nature walks and a stone’s throw to the beach. On top of all that it was offering a winter warmer special.
I was sold.
I booked the 3-night special and flew from Sydney to Byron the following Friday. Located 20 minutes from Ballina airport the resort is the brainchild of business duo Gerry Harvey and Katie Page who established it with the aim of creating a little oasis in beachside Byron which would mesh nature and luxury well. And they’ve managed to do just that.
As I walked into reception I felt the stress lift from my shoulders. A tropical-style open plan space with floor to ceiling windows, wooden reception, linen and wicker furnishings all create a balmy atmosphere - even in winter.
But it’s the scene beyond reception that immediately grabs your attention.
You walk out onto a huge hardwood terrace with cushion-strewn lounges which stretches the length of the resort and plays host to the restaurant’s alfresco dining and seating. The terrace overlooks the resort’s central focal point which is a spectacular twenty-five-metre long, glistening infinity pool surrounded by green lawn. And beyond that the entire area is surrounded by a towering canopy of lush palm trees. I felt like I was in jungle paradise.
We decided to take our bags to our rooms first before quickly getting back to the terrace for a sunset cocktail.
The accommodation is dotted throughout the rainforest. The eco-friendly bungalows blend seamlessly into their surrounds and are connected by raised wooden boardwalks that meander throughout the resort. Our room was in a more secluded area and about an eight-minute walk to the central facilities.
The rooms are fabulous with all the modern luxuries including a massive comfy California king bed and deep spa bath. But my favourite part of the room was our enclosed balcony with chill-out chairs looking straight into the dense forest. Sitting out there in the morning with a coffee surrounded by melaleuca trees and Bangalow palms is a winner.
Dinner is served in the restaurant or outside on the terrace. And chef Gavin Hughes didn’t let us down. Resident chef since the resort opened, he adopts a paddock-to-plate philosophy and uses regional producers wherever possible. Honorary member of the Byron Farmers’ Market, if you happen to be there on a Thursday you can see Gavin share his experience with resort guests. And the food is delicious.
We opted for the entrée of Byron Bay slow roasted pork belly and the simple-yet-delightful sashimi plate. The perfectly cooked Red Hereford sirloin came with truffle chips and seasonal salad, and if you have room for dessert the warm Valrhona chocolate fondant with popcorn and macadamia soil is to die for. If not, go for the equally-if-not-more-delicious espresso martinis (or two!).
But if dining out isn’t what you’re looking for, the resort also offers full room service up until 9.30pm.
Over the next two days I took full advantage of everything the resort had to offer.
The 8am yoga on the deck is available to all guests. And the spa, which is located off the central area, offers the usual range of therapies, facials and massages. But if you want to really experience the quintessential rainforest interlude you can choose the outdoor massage, which is set deep within the rainforest surrounded by flowing netting and the sounds of nature.
And like me, if a little bit of nature and digital detachment is what you’re looking for, you’ve chosen the right place.
The forest walk starts with a little sign on a wooden post: “Follow the boardwalk to a place of reflection and tranquillity”. So I set off into the rainforest to explore the meditation path which meanders through the palms and lily pad ponds. Along the wooden boardwalk are intermittent signs with words of wisdom to remind you stop, breathe, relax and take in the beauty of your surrounds.
As I wandered the path I came to a wooden meditation bench overlooking Tallow Lake.
As I lay there listening to the native birds (I won’t pretend to know what they were), wildlife, the stream flowing, the rustle of the ferns and the sun cracking through the leaves I felt my mind slowly unspooling. It was precisely what I needed.
After three nights at The Byron I felt refreshed and rejuvenated. The staff Heath, Chrissy and Christina were fantastic and went over and above to make our stay as pleasant as possible.
So if martinis meet meditation and luxury meets nature is what you’re looking for – you’ve hit the nail on the head at The Byron.
Check out some of their packages here.
Sarah O'Carroll is a Contributing Editor with Women's Agenda. The former business editor of news.com.au, she's a content strategist, journalist and business owner.