Disconnect from Facebook and reconnect with Mother Nature at Blackbird Byron, a three-room retreat in Byron Bay that champions the great outdoors, from its alfresco magnesium mineral pool to its view-toting pavilions. Sleeping quarters are a modernist vision of glass, wood and steel, without sacrificing on cosiness. Hands-on husband-and-wife team James and Stella are your hosts, rustling up breakfasts and pizza on demand, offering local recommendations and sorting in-room massages or on-site yoga. And half an hour away, buzzing Byron Bay beckons…
Get this when you book through us:
Bubbly and olives on arrival, wine & cheese in the room and complimentary a la carte breakfast upgrade
Double rooms from £260.56 (AU$485), including tax at 10 per cent.
Rates usually include Continental breakfast. WiFi is free for browsing (ask the owners for the dongle), or $30 for streaming (up to 40GB).
With advance notice, yoga and pilates sessions can be arranged (an extra cost).
At the hotel
Open-plan communal kitchen/dining area. In rooms: TV, air-conditioning, minibar, free bottled water, tea- and coffee-making kit.
Our favourite rooms
The hotel’s trio of rooms are democratically uniform: Pavillion One is just a little bit bigger than the other two. They’re all snug and charming, with pretty tiles in the bathroom, on-loan binoculars and a tempting patio, where you can sit and soak up the region’s sights and sounds.
The hotel’s on-trend magnesium pool comes with expansive views of Cape Byron and the glittering Pacific Ocean.
There’s no spa, but in-room beauty treatments can be arranged on request for an extra cost.
If you don’t feel a Wordsworthian thrill at the notion of being awoken by early morning birdsong, come armed with ear plugs.
Public and communal areas are wheelchair-accessible and all bedrooms are on the ground floor.
Sorry, littles: this hotel is for full-grown Smiths only.
Produce is organic, grown on-site or locally sourced from fair-trade suppliers; earth-kind cleaning products and light bulbs are used. The hotel conscientiously composts and recycles.
There’s no restaurant or bar, but the hotel has teamed up with chefs Alex Clark and Emily O’Kane (winners of the TV show My Kitchen Rules) to make sure you won’t be going hungry. Book in advance, and the pair of Aussie culinary A-listers will whip up a private poolside feast for you, complete with cocktails and coastal views. They’ve masterminded a globetrotting menu loaded with local ingredients; depending on the day of the week and what’s in season, you can expect hearty Italian dishes, smoky Texan barbecue, Asian street food or oyster-stacked seafood platters. Spontaneous snackers, fear not: the hotel’s deli fridge is stuffed with salami, olives, cheese and cocktails to stave off unplanned hunger pangs. (You’ll also get a Continental breakfast full of fresh local produce, natch.)
The hotel is half an hour’s drive from Byron Bay, a popular seaside resort in New South Wales; the closest town is Mullumbimby, a 15-minute drive away.
Ballina Byron Gateway Airport is 49 kilometres away (a 40-minute drive). You could also fly into Gold Coast Airport, 60 kilometres away. The Smith24 team can book your flights; just give them a call.
Wheels are a great idea if you want to go exploring and enjoy easy access to Byron Bay. The hotel’s parking area is about a five-minute walk away from the main building, so drop your luggage off first.
Worth getting out of bed for
Go for a refreshing dip in the magnesium mineral pool and soak up those incredible views of Cape Byron and the Pacific. Treat yourself to an in-room pampering treatment from a visiting therapist; the 90- or 120-minute aromatherapy massages include reflexology, a warm peppermint foot soak, a green-clay face mask and more. Take the hint from your in-room binoculars and try to spot a yellow-tailed black cockatoo or two: the rare birds call Mount Chincogan home. Go exploring in rugged Nightcap National Park or ask the hotel owners to point you in the direction of the region’s secret waterfalls (only adventurous types need apply). Go swimming in Brunswick River at high tide and splash around at Torakina Beach. Additional outdoorsy thrills come in the form of Mount Jerusalem National Park, Minyon Falls lookout/walking area, Whian Whian Conservation Area and the Inner Pocket Nature Reserve. Don’t miss Crystal Castle & Shambhala Gardens: a botanical wonderland with giant crystals and fossils and tropical plants. Indulge your inner hippie and embark on the Shambhala Gardens Tour, which includes a guided meditation at the Blessing Buddha, the Crystal Experience, Music of the Plants and the Peace Experience. Groovy, baby.
Punch and Daisy promises ‘local, seasonal, delicious’ treats for breakfast and lunch; the relaxed café is tucked away at the end of Stuart Street. You could swing by for a coffee, too: beans are sourced from popular local roastery, Moonshine. 100 Mile Table Cafe on Banksia Drive is a sociable space styled with industrial flair; the long communal table is the setting for smoothie-and-toastie-toting tête-à-têtes. If you want a side of sunshine with your chicken and ginger congee, sour fish curry or crispy pork belly roll, sit in the garden. Fans of wood-fired pizza and snacky Italian fare should make a beeline for Milk and Honey, a popular pizzeria on Station Street.Pocket-rocketFleetin Brunswick Heads only has space for 22 bottoms (or 14, if the weather’s inclement), so seats at this elegant, ambitious restaurant are in high demand. Expect dazzle-factor dishes and carefully matched wine.
Sip cocktails at the Mediterranean-inspired Mez Club’s serene white-and-wicker-decorated space at 85–87 Jonson Street. The cantina serves light bites and there’s a ‘souk’ upstairs with its own bar, available for private parties and events.
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 hotel in Mullumbimby and unpacked their sarongs and sisal bags, a full account of their bohemian beachy break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Blackbird Byron in Byron Bay…
Blackbirds: not known for their excessive reliance on technology or social media. At Blackbird Byron, you’re encouraged to switch off, too. If you come here expecting unlimited internet you’ll be discouraged (though there’s an on-loan and somewhat temperamental dongle knocking around), but if you turn up with a healthy appreciation for Mother Nature, you’ll be richly rewarded. The three rooms and the alfresco pool all come with winsome vistas of Cape Byron and the Pacific Ocean; binoculars are left in your room, ready for the region’s close-ups. Design-fans will be pleased, too, thanks to the modern, minimalist mish-mash of glass, concrete and metal, worthy of a Wallpaper magazine photoshoot. Adding comfort to cool are the friendly, husband-and-wife owners, who will rustle you up tempting breakfasts and delicious home-made pizza.