Elements of Byron in the chilled beach town Byron Bay is all about relaxing in luxury. The romance of all 4 of nature’s elements comes together in this brand new resort on the northern New South Wales coast. It’s our hot tip of where to stay in Byron Bay.
A lot has changed in Byron Bay since the first time I rolled into town all those years ago. Finding a place to stay that wasn’t a hostel or a hippy commune was completely beyond my comprehension and budget, and so therefore did not exist.
These days, the thought of bunking down in a packed dorm room horrifies me – so perhaps it’s not that Byron has changed a lot; perhaps it’s me.
However, evidence of its alternative past is still so easy to see, but it’s less hemp and tie-dye, more sustainability and local produce. It makes me wonder if Byron’s crusty history really has gone to greener pastures. Maybe it’s just grown up a bit.*
*See below for developments to Elements a reader has described to us that you should probably know about.
You certainly get the impression that Byron’s latest addition to its accommodation arsenal – Elements – is both grown-up and in touch with its spiritual side. By its very name, you get the impression this new resort is on good terms with Mother Earth. And Elements’ location right on the beautiful Belongil Beach, surrounded by bushland suggests an affinity with its environment.
Elements of Byron
As you walk into the reception of Elements, you’re immediately struck by the feeling of space. The high ceilings, the open-plan design and the flow of the building make you feel really quite relaxed.
The restaurant and bar are also in this main room, set back from reception and separated by an enormous sweeping shiny ceiling feature that runs the length of the building.
Through the other side of the building is access to the amazing pool complex and fire pit.
More like a man-made lagoon than a pool, this is definitely one of the best parts of the resort. Bridges, loungers, over-water swing-chairs and daybeds surround and are part of this pool. And it’s only accessible if you’ve got a room key.
There are gates in all round the pool too, so you can get in and out at several different points, but the electronic locking system makes it safe for guests – especially your kids – both in and out of the pool area.
The ‘rooms’ here are more like chalets. All are stand-alone buildings connected by little garden-edged streets running through the property. This means you drive right up to your own room and park next to it. This is really handy and private, but it did remind me of a (posh) caravan park a bit.
The chalets are made of the same stuff those demountable permanent caravans too, so the walls do feel a bit flimsy. However, that’s where the caravan park comparison ends completely.
Inside, our room – a Beachside Villa – was a split-level one-bed setup, with a little living room as you walk in with a beautiful gas fire, TV and sofa perfect for winter evenings. Then up a couple of stairs is the bedroom and minibar. Through another doorway to the side is the big sink vanity.
Either side of the sink are doorways to an en suite and big shower room on one side, and a bathing deck on the other. The bathing deck is home to an enormous stand-alone tub and decorated with blues and driftwood. It’s stunning.
The chalet’s nicely decorated with some beautiful soft furnishings like the hide rug at the entrance, and they’ve done well to embody that beach feel without overdoing it.
The bed was really comfortable and the TV system has the nice touch of having a live video feed to the beach if you’re wondering what the surf’s like!
Drift Bar serves a great range of cocktails and beers from midday onwards, but its duties go a bit beyond just a regular hotel bar. Back out by the pool is the fire pit and more seating where you can enjoy your drinks.
Even better than that, between 5pm and 7pm on Fridays, you can feast on $1 oysters, shucked to order here, plus complimentary nibbles to try before dinner.
You need to go to the restaurant’s register to buy your oyster ‘ticket’ first, then go to the shucker for your food. It’s not a great system, but it’s better than the oyster guy having to handle money, and it splits up any queues too.
To the left of the main entrance to the building, opposite the reception area, Graze offers some incredible lunch and dinner options to visitors and guests. Often a new hotel with new restaurant can start showing holes in its service and food quality when it’s just starting out. Not here.
We were really impressed with our dinner, and were keen to include this place in our top places to eat in and around Byron Bay. The menu brings local produce to your table in abundance – from the ocean to the hinterland – and it’s all superbly cooked.
Everything we ordered here was delicious – from Mrs Romance’s roasted, crusty topped Moreton Bay bug tail and my towering 250g aged Cape Grim fillet steak to Graze’s signature dessert – their architectural version of a Golden Gaytime ice cream.
We left our table feeling full and satisfied.
Breakfast, which is served here too, is awesome. There’s an impressive buffet and a la carte options that really got our day off to a good start!.
Osprey Spa, tucked away near the entrance to Elements, is the tranquil epicentre of this peaceful and peace-inducing resort. From the moment you arrive in the bright little reception area to when you float back out after your treatment, this place will take your relaxation to the next level.
When Mrs Romance and I visited Osprey Spa, we chose two different treatments. Mrs R had the La Gaia Mother Earth facial and right next to her I lapped up the luxury of my Precious Element full body massage.
Before our one-hour treatments, we were given herbal foot soaks in a private outdoor area, and the treatment room itself was partially open too. This meant throughout the experience, we could hear the sounds of nature all round us. It was so relaxing.
Apart from the beautiful Belongil Beach on your doorstep, there’s also a fair amount of bushland to explore around the resort. There are 5 different trails linking together 1.5km track that explores the different parts of the reserve.
We really enjoyed walking from the beach through the rainforest and the wetlands all the way back round to the beach again. And best of all, Elements has set up a beach club area within the fence where you can relax on a recliner with your cocktail after your hike. Not a bad way to finish up your 10,000!
According to our sources at the resort, Elements of Byron has big plans to expand even further in the next few years. By that time the gardens around the chalets and the lake will be fully established – and I’m trying to imagine the food that will be coming out of those kitchens by then!
I was emailed by a reader at the end of 2017 who was staying at Elements at the time. The reader told me that these developments at Elements had changed significantly since we were there in 2016.
The resort is much bigger now, which is what we were expecting and also what we were told by staff at Elements when we were there. However, the luxury feel to the place and its romance seems to have been replaced with more of a family getaway atmosphere.
As our reader explained, there’s nothing wrong with Elements if you’re visiting with your family, but as a romantic destination it leaves a lot to be desired. This is a terrible shame – especially as much of the accommodation is double occupancy only. I hope the management of Elements fixes this issue quickly.
We really appreciate the email telling us about this from our reader. 🙂 We always love getting feedback from people who have invested their time and trust in our site.
Do you have a favourite spot to stay in Byron Bay? Where do you go to chill out and find that all-important peace in your life? Tell us in the comments below!