Byron Bay, Australia

The Sunseeker

Price per night from$183.40

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 (AUD281.82), 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. Curated hardbacks line the Library, which, with its cosy brick fireplace, artful flower arrangements and assortment of ceramic trinkets, feels like the living room of your most aesthetically savvy pal. 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 £186.56 (AU$310), 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

Anonymous review

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 made-over motel in Northern Rivers and unpacked their easy-breezy riso prints and branded ‘Holiday Often’ tote bag, a full account of their vintage vacay will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside The Sunseeker in Byron Bay

Nothing’s been left to chance at this 80s motel, lovingly reimagined for aesthetically-driven heliophiles where carefully curated interiors resound with nostalgic whimsy and design-forward details. Here, the past feels profoundly present; the kidney-shaped pool harks back to old Hollywood high life while the warm, art-filled library feels like the mid-century meeting place of creative minds. In rooms, you’ll find updated hallmarks of beachside living: polished concrete floors, soft grey rendered walls, concertina doors and custom timber bed heads compliment the motel’s original features such as arched windows, lofty timber trusses and sun-bathed balconies. The energy is welcoming and convivial with communal spaces set for socialising; prop up on a mint green bar stool at the tiki-brutalist poolside saloon, where local IPAs, biodynamic wines and a roll of classic cocktails are poured throughout the day. Or, get cosy round the fire pit where festoon lights and repurposed boats make for long and lively evenings as the kids let off steam at the neighbouring playground.

Price per night from $183.40

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