Although it may just be lockdown talk, Crystalbrook Byron feels like stepping into an alternate, beautiful reality. It is situated on 18 hectares in sub-tropical rainforest, with Bangalow Palms, paperbark and shy wallabies. There are clusters of suites, totalling 92, scattered around the property. They can be found just a short walk from the communal area. The staff is always available to help guests navigate the property using a golf buggy.


Byron deserves our gratitude, despite its star status. COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on the economy of every place it visited, despite its natural beauty and dependence on tourists. The resort, formerly Byron at Byron and located off the busy Broken Head Road, is a 30-minute taxi ride from Ballina Airport. Penny Abrahams, Byron Bay Coastal Transfers, will take you to the airport if a taxi is late. Abrahams, a Lennox Head resident and a travel industry veteran, is another COVID-19 pivot. She taps the best area by running walks with local Indigenous guides, whale watching, and cheesemaking.


It’s like a resort in South-East Asia, but without leaving home. The reception is airy with sage couches and staff in oatmeal linen. Forest restaurant overlooks the 25-meter infinity pool, surrounded by cabanas. At the other end of the day, guests can sip G&Ts at Cape Byron Distillery. This was once a neglected dairy farm that had been regenerated. Outdoor seating is kept warm by heaters and throw rugs on cooler nights.


Rainforest Luxe’s spacious suite is one 32 and features a deep, standalone bath, walk-in robe, a coffee machine, and two balconies, one with a daybed. A full-size refrigerator, microwave, and stovetop are ideal for young families with their routines. You can relax on the rear balcony daybed, which is surrounded by bush, and listen to the kookaburra laugh against the roaring of Tallow Beach.


Forest, a hotel restaurant that Jordan Staniford oversees, is worth visiting. You can enjoy the best of the region within three hours, from Nimbin Valley butter and Iluka Squid. This is in keeping with the hotel’s sustainability efforts, including four beehives on-site. Hearty breakfasts include smashed avocado with cheese and granola with berries. Dinners are equally generous with Yamba chilli prawn spaghetti.


You can ride one of the hotel’s brand new Lekker cruiser bikes into town to get you to the Cape Byron walk, which is a compulsory visitor experience. Walk track totems lead you on the 3.7-kilometre loop that passes Wategos Beach, the lighthouse, and whale-spotting lookouts at the most easterly point in Australia. Stop by the Suffolk Bakery to get meat pies, hemp and hibiscus slices. Another essential Byron experience is a surfing lesson. Gaz Morgan is one of a few operators allowed to teach at Clarkes Beach. It’s easy waves due to Cape Byron’s protection.


The resort offers unrivalled comfort and coffee, and service and support for those in need. There are plenty of communal spaces that allow singles, couples, and families to find a place they love.


The property’s rear entrance leads to Tallow Beach, a magnificent six-kilometre stretch.


The Eleme day spa is a popular choice for guests and locals. I booked in for the spa, but another guest left disappointed that there wasn’t a spot available for the next two days.


Rainforest Suites start at $545 per night; Rainforest Luxe Suites start at $735

77-97 Broken Head Rd, Byron Bay NSW. Tel. 02/6639 2000

Crystalbrook Byron requires that guests 16 and over be fully vaccinated or exempt.

Until NSW reaches its 95% double vaccination target or December 15, 2021, depending on which occurs first.

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