Elements takes in a vast carpark, 203 villas, two pools and a lagoon. But if that makes it sound like a glammed-up caravan park, take heart. It's popular with groups and families, but realised with enough care to keep things feeling smart, from smiling service to direct access to Belongil Beach. (The only actual caravan on the premises, at the beach bar, dispenses green juice and craft beer.) The rooms are airy, with timber floors, kind lighting and mod-cons in the form of Bose speakers, and an iPad compendium that actually works. Add rainforest walks, a genuinely fun adults-only pool (swim-up tequila bar!) and the odd wallaby on the beach and Elements proves that sprawling can still be special.
We love the total absence of naff collateral in the rooms. It's a small touch that goes a long way to making it welcoming.
Join a free yoga class at first light (okay, 7am) on the bay.
Touches that make breakfast an unexpected cut above include loaves from local heroes Bread Social, the offer of avocado toast, fine leaf tea, and (praise be!) decent-sized mugs for a serious cuppa. At lunch and dinner hit Graze, the lobby restaurant for Mediterraneanish dishes given local flavour with eggs from Scrubby Gully, tomatoes from Coopers Shoot and Nimbin Valley cheese.
Swim-up tequila bar! Swim-up tequila bar! It's adults-only and serves tacos (prawn and chilli; brisket braised in Tecate) around the cabanas and swing-chairs to boot. If that sounds too exciting, there's family-friendly fun by the fire pit, and the minibars are stocked with enough Byron gin and beer (and Buffalo Trace) to make a night in just as enticing.
This review was made independently for the Gourmet Traveller Hotel Guide. The guide's reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way.