Byron Bay, Australia

It’s easy to find a hotel in a city. You can narrow down your options by amenities, neighborhood, price, size, and even vibe until you find a spot that feels like it was tailor fit just for you. It’s harder once you leave. Some small towns have a handful of unexciting accommodations. Others are known for a single great resort. While most are destined to remain as day trips since there’s nowhere to spend the night. Then there are the anomalies like Byron Bay.

Byron Bay is the easternmost point on the mainland of Australia. The remote town shouldn’t be a tourist destination. It lies 100 miles south of Brisbane and 480 miles north of Sydney. Its land was damaged by industries (meatpacking, whale slaughtering, sand mining) that weren’t environmentally friendly for decades. Plus it’s home to less than 10,000 people. But longboard surfers arrived in the 1960s. They were followed by hippies, backpackers, and yogis. Foodies, musicians, and families eventually followed. They’ve created a laid-back vibe that feels like home. So you have plenty of great hotels from which to choose in Byron Bay.

Photo: The Atlantic Byron Bay

Your first option is right in the center of town. The owners of the Atlantic first arrived in Byron Bay to take a year-long sabbatical. They never left. Instead, they bought an old guesthouse, in desperate need of renovation, and turned it into what looks like a cool friend’s beach house. There are four clapboard cottages on the property. Their rooms have king beds, Aveda products, and lots of natural light. There’s an open kitchen, BBQ facilities, and a lap pool for everyone to share. An Airstream, a fire pit, a bocce court, and surfboards dot the central green lawn. While bikes, with wooden boxes attached to their backs, are lined up for you to start exploring. The Atlantic is cool.

Photo: The Bower Byron Bay

Your second option sits closer to Arakwal National Park, Aboriginal land that borders the Tasman Sea. The Bower is also a converted property. A 1970s motel now houses 14 suites. They have floor-to-ceiling windows, unique artwork, and rain showers. The Cottage is 100 years old. The five-bedroom home is perfect for families and parties. While the Barn, full of reclaimed wood and sliding doors, is ideal for couples. It has a glass ceiling and an egg-shaped tub in the bathroom, an outdoor shower, and piles of pillows. Hampers, full of local produce, can be ordered for any meal. There’s a small pool in which to cool off. Plus the friendly staff is always ready to lend bikes and surfboards, towels and umbrellas for the day’s adventures. The Bower is sleek.

Photo: The Byron at Byron Resort & Spa

Your third option lies south of town near unspoiled Tallow Beach. The Byron at Byron Resort & Spa is a full-service hotel with top service. Its 45 acres sit along the edge of Tallow Lake and the rainforest. Wooden boardwalks meander under the natural canopy. Wallabies and goannas have free range. The main building is an open-air space with covered verandas. It overlooks the heated infinity pool. A Brookies Gin cocktail cart starts the weekend right before sunset. The restaurant weaves local produce, European influences, and Asian accents together. While the modern rooms, set in steel-framed boxes, are huge. They have front and back enclosed verandas, walk-in closets, and even traveler-friendly washers and dryers. The Byron at Byron Resort & Spa is smart.

Now there’s only one problem. Between the Atlantic, the Bower, and the Byron at Byron Resort & Spa, you might have too many good options in Byron Bay. It’s a good thing you’re destined to make multiple trips to the boho-chic beach town.

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