Part hippie enclave, part blue water paradise for the well-to-do, the appeal of Byron Bay is found in its diversity. The northern New South Wales town has certainly evolved over the years, but its bohemian roots run deep – the iconic “Cheer Up, Slow Down, Chill Out” signpost that greets you on the drive in from Ballina airport is a prime example.
It’s this contrast that makes it such an alluring holiday spot – that and the perfect surf break, glittering coastline and laissez-faire attitude to life. Where else in the world can you wander bare foot with a coffee in hand and rub shoulders with Australia’s jet set over long lunch?
I recently decamped from Sydney for a taste of Byron bliss myself – a necessary (but safe) escape from the chaos that is 2020. I wanted to sleep more, eat better, move slower and breathe deeper – if only for a few days. Fortunately, Elements of Byron is the answer to all of the above (and then some). The eco-resort sits on 20 hectares of lush Belongil Beach coastline, just 10 minutes out from the Byron township (and away from the throngs of tourists). Offering 202 stand-alone cabins, the resort strikes the perfect balance between low-key and luxury. Conscious in its approach, it’s the perfect amalgamation of the Byron counterculture: unfussy, sustainably-minded but with an air of exclusivity.
“Conscious in its approach, it’s the perfect amalgamation of the Byron counterculture: unfussy, sustainably-minded but with an air of exclusivity.”
Personally, I was heading there to experience the property’s wellness package – not a “retreat” so to speak but a loose offering that allows you to look after yourself without loosing out on the virtues of a vacation. Think sunrise beachfront yoga, optional fitness classes, rainforest walks, tennis, spa treatments, saunas and surfing. It’s a go-at-your-own-pace situation, where meditation and margaritas go hand in hand.
For me, each day started with a sun salutation on the property’s beachfront before a slow breakfast at the Azure Bar and Grill. I’d spend mornings lazing by the adults-only pool reading, snoozing and swimming. For lunch, it’s tacos and tequila from the Summer Salt Bar before an afternoon spent strolling through the nearby rainforest or trying (and failing) to play a spot of tennis.
A daily pre-dinner bath was the the pinnacle of my wellness experience, made only more special by luxe in-room aromatherapy. I’d finish with an early dinner (Elements has an incredibly diverse culinary offering, from hand-made pasta to one of the best steaks I’ve ever had), a glass of pinot by the sunken fire pit before retreating back to heaven (my cabin) for herbal tea in a fluffy robe. Factor in a cloud for a bed and the gentle sound of waves lapping, and Elements might just have provided me with my deepest sleep in months. The resort aims to relax, rebalance and revive and I have to say, they exceeded on all accounts.
Sunrise yoga. Image courtesy of Elements of Byron
Right from the moment you check in, no detail is spared. The service is second to none, the property grounds are impeccably maintained and the vibe is somewhat chilled out whilst still feeling special. It’s a place where stress melts, where the air is sweet with salt and relaxation is part of the itinerary. After a few short days, I felt lighter, clearer and well-rested. I swam, moved, slept, stretched but still sipped cocktails and ate dessert. They say life is all about balance, and I think I found mine at Elements.
If you’re looking to reset in a way that’s not rigorous, Elements is absolutely your garden of Eden.
For more information about Elements of Byron and to book the Wellness Package, please see here.