ELEMENTS OF BYRON OPENS, LIZARD ISLAND REOPENS
Long a destination for surfers and hippies, Byron Bay – two hours from Brisbane, nine hours from Sydney and the eastern-most point of Australia – has added a new contemporary resort to its hotel options: Elements at Byron.
Part of Accor Hotels’ MGallery brand, Elements spreads out from a main pavilion taking its shape ‘from a windswept dune’, housing reception and public spaces, including a restaurant and bar. Just beyond is the large lagoon pool.
Accommodations – there are 103 villas in total – come in a number of different types, but a beachside villa will give you the above deck with freestanding bathtub, as well as a dining terrace and a gas fireplace for when the nights get cool. As part of the efforts to minimise the footprint of the hotel, existing vegetation has been ‘supplemented with layers of endemic planting’.
While Elements at Byron was preparing to start welcoming guests for the first time, Lizard Island – off the far northern coast of Queensland – completed the finishing touches on its return late last year. All the way back in April 2014, guests and staff were evacuated before Cyclone Ita quite literally passed through the island, forcing a year-long closure and complete rebuild. Just as the resort was getting ready to think about reopening, Cyclone Nathan did a (less severe) number on the island in 2015. Sixteen months of work and $45 million later, all 40 rooms and suites and facilities are now open.
Interiors by Hecker Guthrie come with hardwood floors and are mostly done in whites and greys. Pick a Sunset Point villa with plunge pool if you want to take a dip while overlooking the ocean – or spring for The Pavilion or The Villa for even more space.
As you’d expect, you can do everything you’d imagine at a place like this – eat, drink, relax, get out on the water, head to the spa, explore the surroundings, and of course, snorkel/dive your way around the natural wonder that is the Great Barrier Reef.
[Photos: Elements of Byron, Lizard Island]