Byron Bay is a favourite destination for both international & domestic travelers. It attracts an assortment of characters from sea gypsies to celebrities, surfers to gastronomy aficionados, musicians of all ilks and everyone in between. If you’re on ‘the search’ for the perfect boutique accommodation that combines luxury escapism with effortless style then the iconic Rae’s On Watego’s is it. True story.
Situated on the most easterly point of Australia is Cape Byron & tucked perfectly in the first bay is Watego’s Beach – an ideal wave for long boarders & beginners. It’s a long right-hander (plenty of time to find your feet) that mostly breaks gently. However when the swell size peaks expert surfers won’t be shy on their slide form either. This is where you will find Rae’s; absolute beachfront with direct access to this famed break.
There’s elements of modern luxury and bohemian grandeur continually at play through out the hotel. From the rooms carefully selected furnishings to the elegant on-site restaurant the whole ‘exclusive’ and yet not inaccessible to the everyday person vibe seeps into the overall experience; an experience I guarantee you will never forget. Aptly voted one of the world’s top 25 hotels by Conde Nast Traveler the hotel prides itself on offering a private retreat complete with unique surroundings and personalised service.
Rae’s has only 7 rooms which certainly adds to the hotels sense privacy. I was fortunate enough to stay in the ‘Mirabella Penthouse Suite’ which offers dream-scape views of the the beach. Come evening while entertaining friends on the balcony the famed Cape Byron lighthouse created an ethereal impact as the light softly bounced through the national park and over the surrounding bay. The hotel is positioned perfectly for easy surf checks since you can watch the tides and winds and know exactly when is best to paddle out. Interestingly there are plans to add a ‘beach bar’ of sorts to the premises in the nto too distant future which would certainly encourage passers by to stop in for a cold beverage and light snack by the beach.
An astonishing amount of resident artist David Bromley works feature through out the resort, Bromley focuses on the physical and emotional journey of life’s travels and the pieces that adorned our suite are nothing short of epic. Most notably was that my partner Woody Jack (a surfboard shaper) was both surprised & suitably impressed to see Bromley’s art work adorned upon a surf board he had shaped from a recent collaboration they had done together in the corner of the lounge (pictured below) until then he had not known the eventual destination for the piece.
The Mirabella penthouse suite is both a mystical & modern experience. The antique Javanese wooden doors & window frames sync well with the Moroccan themed interior and exterior facade. I’ll wager anyone that you will not find another in such a prime location but don’t just take my word for it; this is Lenny Kravitz’s go to zone when in Australia, Russell Crowe is a favoured guest as is director Baz Lurhrmann who once penned a movie script here, not to mention ‘the body’ herself Elle McPherson who often chooses Rae’s to escape and surf.
Central to the mezzanine effected room is the king size bed; a haven of indulgence complete with fine embroidered linen (my textile happy friend could not stop touching it and marveling at it’s quality until I lightly slapped her hand away). The sunken bath is a decadently inviting & an opulent option within the open plan suite – my partner Woody can attest to this since when the surf wasn’t on this is where you’d find him relaxing. Who knew Aveda conditioner could soften the most unruly surf locks? ha ha. The aforementioned clientele shouldn’t leave you thinking that a stay at Rae’s is unattainable for regular folk either as off peak rates are surprisingly reasonable for both short and long stays. Please contact the hotel direct for current room rates and special offers.
Byron Bay has ample dining options but we chose to dine on-site at Rae’s Fish Cafe which offers unsurpassed views of the Pacific Ocean. The menu caters to all tastes & the fish of the day is always local & sustainably sourced. Staff here were informative and pleasant plus the wine list was extensive and matched the menu perfectly = bonus points. Worth noting is that on the last Sunday of the month a degustation lunch is available and is accompanied by a live modern classical jazz duo. Good vibes and fresh times.
Rae’s on Watego’s and it’s subsequent day spa is managed by the always elegant Marionne De Candia a world renown luxury spa development specialist who was recently ranked as a top 5 world-class facialist by Net-A-Porter magazine. Marionne has effectively capitalized on her expertise to develop her own skin care range MX – inspired by her 30 year commitment to the skin care industry. Marionne’s special topic of interest has always been with the ageing skin, particularly the effects of premature ageing due to sun exposure and environmental agents. In addition her specialty lies within perfect technique and knowledge of the latest advances in anti-ageing skin care.
In summary the hotel caters to a wide range of clientele. Surfers will be stoked with it’s location, other close breaks include; The Pass, The Wreck, Tallows & for the committed surfer Lennox Point (15 minutes south). It’s an ideal place to for romance, escapism, retreat and relaxation.
NB: Children are welcome however the 2 bedroom ocean view room is recommended for its ample space. More info about the hotel, the Byron Bay area and a detailed surf report via the links below.