Byron Bay, Australia

The Sunseeker

Price per night from$157.89

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (AUD245.45), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Kitsch perfect

Setting

Northern Rivers new wave

‘Holiday often’ is the tagline at The Sunseeker, and with stays as stylish as this one, we’re firmly on board. The hotel’s canny alchemy fuses mid-century Californian cool and kitschy motel signifiers: Palm Springs meets Hockney at the pink and turquoise poolside and the spirit of David Lynch looms over the entrance’s red neon, crazy-pave pathway and old-school coffee cart. Inside, every detail has been poured over. Play and pleasure are twinned priorities here: kid’s can let loose at the jungle gym or glide around on the hotel’s fleet of bikes, freeing up adults for activities of a different kind, namely, dallying through the cocktail menu at the Tiki-brutalist bar before retiring to the festoon-lit fire pit for a soundtracked sitting of whimsical sundowners.

Smith Extra

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A bottle of Sunseeker wine in collaboration with Jilly Wine

Facilities

Photos The Sunseeker facilities

Need to know

Rooms

20, including two suites.

Check–Out

10am. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Prices

Double rooms from £140.37 (AU$270), including tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Rates don’t include breakfast, but guests can fuel-up on coffee and pastries from the outdoor coffee truck.

Also

Stuck for souvenirs? Visit the hotel's on-site shop for a curated array of items, including sun-spangled prints and Christian Tortu citrus-infused candles.

At the hotel

Pool, bar, free on-site parking, coffee cart, playground, 24-hour laundromat, bikes and surfboards to borrow, WiFi throughout. In rooms: Cable TV, Minibar, Bluetooth speakers, Leif bath products.

Our favourite rooms

The Sunseeker rooms are a fine choice for couples looking to get away, with ample – and incredibly chic – lounge space (think corduroy mustard sofas and tropical prints by the hotel’s designer Lila Theodoras), beautiful arched windows and funky yellow bathroom tiles. Opt for room number nine for strategic lashings of natural light. For extra privacy, go for one of the timber-clad bungalows; cleverly designed ‘tiny houses’ with fully-equipped kitchens and large Smeg fridges stocked with Army and Navy cocktails, local IPAs and funky natural wines. Sleeping up to four people, these cosy cabins also come with their own private patio, complete with a hammock, outdoor bath tub and mini barbeque deck.

Poolside

As if plucked straight from John Water’s pink-tinged imagination; the kitsch, kidney-shaped pool is as retro as they come, calling to mind a world of vintage postcards with its delightful juxtaposition of turquoise waters and coral edges. This advanced mineral pool is heated in winter, and has a shallow, child-friendly section for little ones to splash around (supervised, of course) while adults can recline on one of the cushioned day beds with a biodynamic rosé and a soundtrack of languid Balearic beats.

Packing tips

A film camera to capture your poolside memories in an appropriately retro way.

Also

For guests with accessibility needs, please enquire about the wheelchair-friendly Standard Room. Bikes, boards and scooters are available to borrow, all free, aside from the electric numbers which cost $50 for a full day and $30 for a half day.

Children

Welcome. There’s a jungle gym type playground for little ones as well as go-karts, scooters and bikes to borrow. The two-bedroom family suites are ideal for families with a king-size master bedroom, and a separate queen with overhead bunk bed.

Sustainability efforts

Reuse and recycle are the pillars of Sunseeker’s vision; working with Five Mile Radius, the hotel rescued over 2,420kg of concrete from landfills and transformed it into custom terrazzo benchtops. The same can be seen in the ‘crazy-pave’ flooring that lines the entrance, made from slate tiles salvaged from the original hotel rooms. This motto extends to energy, too; there are 82 solar panels on site – and given its location on New South Wales’ largely cloudless coast, that’s a whole lot of power. In rooms, there are compost bins for waste collection (which are then utilised through Subpods), refillable organic bath products and 3,000 litre water tanks servicing each bungalow (as well as one giant 15,000 litre tank for the pool and garden areas). Additionally, Sunseeker lends its support to organisations such as 1% For The Planet – to whom a portion of each stay is donated, and Byron Rangers, who focus on keeping Byron and the Northern Rivers free from waste.

Food and Drink

Photos The Sunseeker food and drink

Top Table

Daytime, shack up on a parasol-shaded daybed. Come evening, take your tipples to the firepit where festoon lights and boats-turned-benches make for a cosy, campside feel.

Dress Code

Anything goes, but why waste an opportunity to parade your throwback threads in a suitably throwback setting? We’re thinking Farah Facett fringes and pipelined running shorts paired with a graphic tee and some serious sunnies.

Hotel restaurant

There’s no restaurant on-site, but should you get peckish, the bar serves gourmet grazing boards of pickles, fresh sourdough and a variety of cheeses. Out front, you’ll also find an old-school coffee cart churning out caffeinated pick-me-ups along with pastries and mini baguettes. Choose from mozzarella, basil and tomato or prosciutto and manchego. We’ve heard their chai latte is pretty great, too.

Hotel bar

‘Tiki-meets-tropical-brutalist-bar’ is the elevator pitch for Sunseekers poolside saloon, but if you’re having trouble picturing that, let us help you out; this spritzed-up barbeque hut is an elegant concrete cube clad in 1980s wicker with a dark wood pitched roof, vintage seafoam green bar stools and brass finish bench tops. At the back, you’ll find a thatched teepee tent where dangling red lanterns hang above a sprawl of leafy plants and zebra print seating. The offerings here are defiantly local – choose from New South Wales’ Yulli’s Brews craft beer, the bay’s finest biodynamic wines, or a cocktail menu of elevated classics devised by local winemaker Peter Windrim.

Last orders

Grab breakfast from the coffee cart any time from 7am till midday. The pool bar doesn’t have fixed operational hours, but if you’re around, they probably will be too.

Location

Photos The Sunseeker location
Address
The Sunseeker
100 Bangalow Road
Byron Bay
2481
Australia

Nestled just outside of bustling central Byron, the hotel lies just under 10 minutes north of Suffolk Park, flanked by Arakwal National Park and Tallow Beach.

Planes

Ballina Airport is a half-hour drive from the hotel, with flights arriving from all over Oz. You can also fly into Gold Coast Airport, about an hour away. Brisbane Airport is just over two hours away and may be the best option for international flights. Car rentals are available from either.

Automobiles

Wheels come in handy for exploring everything this sun-dappled corner of New South Wales has to offer. There’s free, 24-hour parking at the hotel, with an allotted space for each room.

Worth getting out of bed for

For any seasoned Sunseeker, beach trips are non-negotiable. Luckily there are plenty on your doorstep. The closest is Tallow Beach where you may just spot a few of bottlenose beauties making a splash, or venture a little further to Wategos and The Pass – two of Byron Bay's iconic beaches. Should you feel like breaking a wave in tandem, the hotel has boards to borrow, as well as bikes (including electrics) on which to explore the neighbouring Arakwal National Park. Additional outdoorsy pursuits come in the form of Minyon Falls, a 100m cascade surrounded by dramatic natural scenery, or the more ambitious Cape Byron Lighthouse trail, which as it happens, doubles up as a really good workout. A 15-minute drive to the Hinterland will reveal a line-up of lovely towns worth exploring. Newrybar is best for thrifting, with quaint streets of cottage-style shop fronts selling antiques, indie homewares and local produce – don’t miss Newrybar Merchants, a rustic retail space housing a collective of local makers. Bangalow and Federal are similarly charming, full of pleasing pastoral pizzerias and bucolic bistros. Though if it’s a hint of holiday hedonism you’re searching for, head north; central Byron never sleeps.

Local restaurants

Out in neighbouring Newrybar, Harvest is the name in everyone's mouths; a hinterland hot spot serving seasonal fare inspired by Australia's native plants. Much of what you’ll find on the menu has been plucked straight from the restaurant’s garden, and what hasn’t, has been sourced from local, artisanal producers. For a full tour of the tastebuds try the eight-course tasting menu featuring dishes like bay lobster with ‘nduja butter and finger lime followed by sweet treats such as coconut sorbet, wood roasted pineapple and ginger. Bangalow’s Ciao, Mate, meanwhile, is a 1960s-style Italian diner dealing in natural wine and artful wood-fired pizzas; for something a little different order the ‘Brussel sprout’ with white onion creme, blue cheese and garlic. And in the centre of town, No Bones pedals plant-based fare in a super slick setting of terrazzo and pop colours. This sustainably-minded spot is fully vegan and 90 per cent of the menu (which includes the likes of handmade gnocchi, tempeh parmigiana and beetroot tartare) is made or grown as locally as possible in order to reduce their environmental impact.

Local cafés

Optimise your day at Byron newcomer High Life, an indoor-outdoor cafè specialising in bullet-proof coffees, chais and elixirs enhanced with medicinal herbs and anti-inflammatory boosters. Over in the ‘burbs of Belongil Beach, the folks at, well, Folk dish out wholesome veggie brunches, house-brewer kefir and straight-from-the-oven pastries.

Local bars

You’ll find plenty of nightlife in central Byron. Start at Supernatural Cellars, an unconventional natural wine bar where black marble and gold leaf are accompanied by a contrastingly unpretentious menu of minimal intervention, all-vegan wines, each with rather poetic tasting notes; there’s ‘strawberries and cream on a day trip to Venice’, palm trees and no seatbelts’ or the rather ambiguous ‘pack your compass, we’re on foot from here’. Over at Light Years the lights may be dim but the energy is high; decked in pastel pink and retro neons, the interiors are reminiscent of 1950s Hanoi, and the cocktail menu is just as funky – try a lychee lemongrass martini or a fruity Tropic Thunder, made with chilli infused vodka, Licor43, pineapple, passionfruit and lime.

Reviews

Photos The Sunseeker reviews
Elizabeth Bennett

Anonymous review

By Elizabeth Bennett, Journeying journalist

I arrived at the Sunseeker a little bedraggled. After five days of back-to-back bridesmaid duties that brought me to Australia, a couple of nights of R&R was very much in order. Luckily, the Sunseeker was just the place. This Eighties brick motel, reimagined for a 2020s holidaymaker, makes everything feel easy-breezy, much like the vibe of the beach town it calls home.

This wasn't my first time in Byron Bay. I visited in 2009 as part of a six-week backpacking trip up the East Coast and while my memories of that time aren’t crystal-clear (wine in a box is to blame), I can confirm it has had a significant glow-up since I last swung by. While you still see surfers wandering the streets barefoot, buskers out in force and the odd hippy herb shop, the bohemian vibe today is more natural-wine bars, expensive activewear boutiques and açaí bowls on every corner. 

My accommodation of choice had since had a glow-up, too. The aesthetics at the Sunseeker are its first talking point. From the moment you spot the old-school motel sign on the road – complete with its signature red branding – the design choices are impeccable. The library starts off the nostalgia-filled journey with Seventies-style leather sofas, raffia light fixtures and a collection of coffee-table books borrowed from your most in-the-know friend. The pool area transports you to Palm Springs in an era gone by, with its kidney shape, terracotta floor and bamboo tiki bar, not to mention the retro playlist.

In my bedroom, the concrete floors and grey walls were offset with sunshine-yellow bathroom tiles and a huge corduroy sofa. Other details, like the crystal kitchen worktop, the patent red bedside tables and the embroidered flag wallhanging, made it a room to remember – and they highlighted just how many local creatives worked to make the Sunseeker a reality. 

But it’s not a case of style over substance here. Although it is a hotel, it feels like somewhere you can really make yourself at home. Handy touches, like a laundry room and a filtered-water station and ice machine on every floor, make settling in easy. In line with everything else in Australia, nothing feels cramped. The rooms all have mini kitchens (complete with kettles and toasters) and the Sunseeker’s rooms and bungalows feature spacious living spaces, too. Clever practical touches also make the experience feel seamless – the subtle screen for keeping bugs out but a breeze in, for example..

The thoughtful product selection was also impressive. As a self-appointed tea connoisseur, I loved the selection of Mayde loose-leaf tea for a cuppa whenever you want one, and I’m still thinking about the Leif bath products – in particular the divine eucalyptus-scented shower gel. There’s no breakfast included but, considering the extensive brunch scene in Byron Bay, this actually works out well. Instead, you can get that coffee fix or keep hunger at bay until it’s time for said brunch at the coffee cart that sits out front of the hotel. 

The Sunseeker is located a little out of the main hustle and bustle, around a 25-minute walk or 10-minute drive from the main strip. I didn’t feel like I needed a car for my stay – two of Byron Bay’s best foodie spots (Roadhouse and the General Store) and Tallows Beach are within a 10-minute walk of the property, and the hotel has push bikes for hire. I relished feeling like a local, stuffing my beach towel in the front basket (Sunseeker-branded, naturally) and cycling over to my favourite beach, Wategoes. Also available to rent are electric bicylces and, of course, surfboards.

I mainly spent my time horizontal with a book but did make it to a yoga class at Creature Yoga (at the Sunseeker staff’s recommendation) and pottered around the shops in town. Eating was high on the agenda and beyond the local spots, in town I enjoyed brunch at Bayleaf, fish tacos at Chihuahua and some life-changing banoffee ice-cream at Frankie’s Gelato. 

Of course, I also made time for the hotel’s pool. As with everything at the Sunseeker, the attention to detail here is second to none: squishable day-beds, soft blue-and-white-striped towels, and a bowl of chilled watermelon slices delivered to you just when the heat is getting a little too much. The Sunseeker’s motto is ‘holiday often’ – and I certainly wouldn’t pass up a chance to take them up on it here.

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Price per night from $157.89