Sumptuously decorated walls have never been on my list of must-haves for a beach holiday hotel, but after a night at Halcyon House on the Tweed Coast, I’m thinking I might need to rewrite my list.
The 21-room boutique hotel is a white and indigo gem nestled among the pandanus palms, midway between the Gold Coast and Byron Bay, forged from a 60s surf-side motel and oozing laid-back luxury. With its dreamy fabrics, eclectic art collection and retro charm, it is the most instagramable hotel in Australia, and proof that Besser bricks can be beautiful. Who knew?
I’m smitten the moment I see it. We arrive at the Cabarita Beach hotel after an afternoon competing with the crowds at Byron Bay. Halcyon House is a welcome oasis. The white façade is vivid against the bright blue sky – chic without being imposing or pretentious. The vibe continues throughout the hotel with décor by Anna Spiro that’s stunningly stylish, but relaxed.
The hotel also makes the most of its location – on the doorstep of the Tweed Coast’s most beautiful beach. Cabarita still has an old-fashioned feel about it and has mostly avoided the attention of developers and hipsters, making it a favourite of mine.
If you want a view of the beach, you need to be on the top floor as the hotel sits behind the sand dune, and the view is obscured by pandanus palms. Our room looks across the perfect point break to Norries Headland – a great place for a morning shuffle. I’m so in love with everything in the room as well as the view that I want to move in and finish my latest novel here. (I won’t be a bother, I promise).
And then there’s the food.
My first taste of what is to come from the kitchen arrives in a waffle cone. The hotel serves ice creams at 4pm every afternoon. I wait patiently along with a few kids for my promised treat, naively expecting a Magnum. What is delivered is a tiny piece of heaven – home made goat’s milk ice cream topped with a hot lemon meringue. Divine.
The delights continue with dinner at Paper Daisy – soft shell bay lobster in its own sauce, followed by coal-roasted fish with finger lime dressing. I opt for the signature dish for my main meal – paper bark grilled fish with onion, seaweed and beach plants. Chef Ben Devlin is a genius. Everything is extraordinary.
There’s no space for dessert (because I’ve already had an ice cream) but I’ll make sure I leave some room on my next visit.
Halcyon days, indeed.