As Byron Bay has gradually transformed from a sleepy coastal hippie town into something a bit more hipster and capitalist, so have the properties. Fans of this laid-back area might be dismayed by this evolution but Elements of Byron along Belongil Beach proves that it’s possible to indulge in barefoot luxury here.
Admittedly, I was initially shocked at the size and structure of Elements of Byron. With 94 villas spread out over 20 hectares (with plans to expand), my heart sank a little when I saw that my beloved Byron Bay was being filled with what looked like a massive social or sports centre, aka the reception and restaurant area. That being said, Shane Thompson Architects and the interior designer Rowena Cornwell created the property based around the four natural elements of water, fire, earth, and air. I have to respect the fact that rather than settling for a block of concrete, they designed something more organic to blend in with the surrounding environment.
Although I personally didn’t really feel that the design resonated with the core natural elements, it certainly says something that Elements of Byron was awarded “Best Hotel Design” by the Society of British Interior Design International Design Awards this past November in London, which is the highest international award for interior design!
The villas, for example, were strategically designed to work around the trees and they are elevated off the ground to avoid disrupting the fauna below. The lobby is open, airy, and organic, with plenty of curves and movement. When you look at it all together, there is a thoughtfulness in the design that reverberates throughout the property.
Our villa wasn’t huge but because of how everything was laid out and designed, it felt deceivingly spacious. I wouldn’t be surprised if it had been inspired by the Japanese; they made the most out of the compact space by using different levels, neat shelving, and sliding doors so as not to extend unnecessarily into your space when opening or closing them.
Minimalism is the theme here with clean lines and uncluttered spaces, creating the perfect space for paring back down to the basics. That being said, amenities like the Bose music system and the soft linens hint at the underlying luxury of Elements at Byron.
There are several dining options here, with the main one being the bright and airy Graze Restaurant. The lovely farm-to-table menu here can be enjoyed throughout the day, with everything from fresh seafood to gluten-free pizzas.
For lighter nibbles, there’s Barefoot Kiosk by the pool and Drift Bar buzzes with activity in the evening. Grab one of their cocktails and cosy up by the outdoor fire pit for a lovely time.
Level of exigency
The location may be the hippie capital of Australia but Elements of Byron is far from a hippie hotel. Although I wasn’t here long enough to truly experience everything this resort has to offer, the service overall was polite and helpful and honestly, sometimes you don’t need anything more.
Elements of Byron is a full-blown luxury resort but in the best, most minimalistic way possible. I had my doubts about the recent development of Byron Bay but if it’s going to continue this way (and it likely will), one can only hope that future properties will take a page out of their book and have the same respect and mindfulness for the natural beauty that already exists.
Stay from October 09th to 10th, 2016 – Sponsored media stay.
Elements of Byron – Book
144 Bayshore Dr,
Byron Bay NSW 2481, Australia