Prepare to fall hook, line and sinker for 28 Degrees Byron Bay, a family-run guesthouse with Australian beach charm in (buckets and) spades. This eco-conscious charmer counts a prime location, impeccable styling, pot plants galore and romantic rooms – some surveying the local lighthouse – among its charms. (There’s even a small plunge pool in the main house, fit for pre- and post-beach bathing sessions.) Begin the day with one of 28 Degrees’ DIY breakfasts, starring local granola, compote and yoghurt; end them in one of Byron’s ravishing restaurants, or back at boutique basecamp, starfished on your blissfully comfortable bed.
Before 10am. Check-in is available between 2pm and 5pm (guests planning to arrive after 5pm should contact the hotel for instructions).
Double rooms from £371.47 (AU$660), including tax at 10 per cent.
Rates usually include breakfast (paleo granola with organic yoghurt, house-made fruit compote and milk) and a free minibar – topped up daily – to dip into. Rates exclude a credit card surcharge (2 per cent for MasterCard and Visa, 3 per cent for AmEx).
The hotel offers in-room massages and private yoga or surfing lessons; it often runs workshops – miso-making, for example – and hosts artist residencies.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout. In rooms: iPod dock, beeswax candles, Bose bluetooth speaker, free minibar (with chocolate, nuts, local beer and soft drinks), tea- and coffee-making kit, and Hunter Lab bath products. The Main Master and Main Classic Rooms share the lap pool, gourmet kitchen and living and dining area; they also benefit from free bar items in the main fridge, along with tea- and coffee-making kit in the main kitchen.
Our favourite rooms
The Private Lighthouse rooms are knee-weakeningly lovely, on account of their lashings of space and winsome views; the claw-foot bath tub is another highlight (there’s also a separate shower). The beds used throughout are super comfy; bonus points for all the memorable in-room extras: pot plants, beeswax candles, organic Cultiver linen, Biology Skin bath products and so on.
The small plunge pool within the main house uses a special, low-chlorine water system from Austria, called Grander Water Revitalisation. Water-babies can also get a liquid fix via one of the three Private Plunge Pool rooms.
No need to bring a beach bag or hairdryer: they’re provided.
To keep things relaxed and romantic, the hotel's only open to over-21s.
The hotel uses earth-kind light bulbs and cleaning products; laundry is conscientiously done on-site; local, organic ingredients feature in the breakfasts; there are water tanks and low-VOC paint features on the building. Unused toiletries and food items are donated to the local Byron Bay community kitchen for the homeless. Floors star recycled French oak, finished with a low-toxic USO coating. The pools use an eco-kind water-revitalisation system.
Your own, if you’re in a Private room; make friends at the communal table if you’re in the main house.
Anything goes – this is your Australian home-from-home. (We’d honour Byron Bay’s hippy feel with bright white linen, coral or turquoise jewellery and beach-tousled hair.)
28 Degrees focuses on DIY breakfast (try the excellent local restaurants for lunch and dinner). If you’re bedding down in the main house, you’ll have access to the communal kitchen and its fridge, stocked with breakfast supplies; Private rooms have their own morning provisions, to be enjoyed independently. Minibar treats shine a spotlight on local heroes: Moonshine Coffee, Earth beer and homemade granola with fresh berries, for example.
28 Degrees is in the heart of Byron Bay, a five-minute stroll to the beach and just a few minutes from Byron’s best restaurants, bars, cafés and shops.
Ballina Byron airport is a half-hour drive away; you could also fly into Gold Coast airport, a 45-minute drive from Byron Bay. Private door-to-door transfers in a snack-packed Mercedes-Benz V-Class can be arranged for up to seven guests from Ballina Airport (AU$120 each way), Gold Coast Airport ($220 each way) and Brisbane Airport ($420 each way).
The hotel is a two-hour drive from Brisbane. Guests can park in the driveway on Middleton Street, at the back of the property.
Worth getting out of bed for
28 Degrees’ enviable location puts all of Byron’s best bits on your doorstep. The beach, bars, spas, shops, brunch spots and restaurants are all an easy walk away. It would be bonkers not to hit the beach – grab your on-loan sun umbrella and towels from your room first. Visit the quaint, under-the-radar town of Newrybar – and don’t miss Newrybar Merchants, a local collective of creative artisans and producers, housed in a 1890’s building (http://www.newrybarmerchants.com/about). Conquer the Cape Byron Walking track or go surfing, perhaps with help from a local instructor (staff can arrange private lessons). Request a yoga class or a massage (relaxing, therapeutic, remedial, pregnancy or Ayurvedic) at the hotel: owner Lindon is a chiropractor, after all.
Get your caffeine-fix courtesy of Bayleaf Cafe, just 20 metres away from the hotel at 2A Marvell St, which serves faultless coffee and delicious food. Grab lunch at TheTop Shop (+61 (0)2 6685 6495), perched at the top of Massinger Street and Carlyle: succulent burgers, spicy chai and worth-the-calories cakes are just a few reasons to head here. Dine at Fleet (+61 (0)2 6685 1363), a tiny wine bar-modern-Australian-restaurant hybrid at 2/16 The Terrace that deserves its glowing reviews, or head toThree Blue Ducks (a 15-minute drive away), which is set on a working farm in Ewingsdale – expect prime seasonal produce and charming service (+61 (0)2 6684 7888).
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this laid-back guesthouse in New South Wales and unpacked their bikinis and beach shorts, a full account of their Australian break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside 28 Degrees Byron Bay…
Less hotel, more Instagrammers’ dream home, 28 Degrees Byron Bay is volunteering to be your new number-one beachside crashpad. Rooms are a romantic vision of white, dusty pink and toffee-gold reclaimed wood; lighthouse views and a mini-forrest’s worth of pretty pot plants provide welcome additional eye-candy. Byron Bay is an area of outstanding natural beauty and this gregarious guesthouse is on a mission to keep it that way: eco-conscious philosophies lie at the heart of 28 Degrees’ design and daily dealings. Check out the recycled wood floors, nibble appreciatively on the seasonal, organic breakfast treats, stroke the organic linen, and ask staff to explain the nifty Austrian water-revitalisation system, which ensures that dips in the little lap pool come with a clean conscience (and minimum chlorine). A B&B as beautiful as this could only be built on love: bravo, husband-and-wife owners Lindon and Deb.