Brace yourself for the déjà vu. Few corners of this '60s surfer motel, strikingly reimagined as Australia's smartest beachside escape, haven't graced Instagram already. And deservedly so. Eye-catching scenes await wherever the gaze rests: on glimpses of ocean framed by casuarinas, or those clamshells stacked with pineapples, white shelves lined with only blue books and dreamy fabrics. Even bathrooms are worthy of a close-up, with Frette towels, marble and brass details and floor tiles in Halcyon's signature Caprese blue. Entry-level rooms are compact and lack sea views but are as handsomely detailed as more upscale choices, with antiques and king-size beds. Courtyards front the pool, surrounded by jaunty blue-and-white lounges and duelling soundtracks of cool tunes and crashing waves. Staff, under the suave tutelage of general manager Mauro de Riso (ex-JK Place Capri), go the extra mile.
In a country as vast as ours, where distances can be measured in days rather than hours, there's a particular joy reserved for finding an exceptional inn at the end of the road. The best regional hotels become destinations in themselves - reasons to load up the car, or get on the plane, and transport yourself somewhere special.
See our other 2016 Australian Hotel Guide finalists: