Look at that male: the pale buff chest and silky white underparts. And does that one sound just like a crying baby? This being a resort built in 18 hectares of rainforest, it's tempting to reach for the in house bird guide when you're describing the poolside wildlife, spangled drongos and all. What makes The Byron at Byron special is its immersion in nature, despite being just five minutes' drive from town. The careful screening of the modern, boxy pavilions lets the frogsong, surf rumble and fresh air in but keeps the mozzies at bay. The styling is crisply contemporary, from the paintings by Minnie Pwerle and Julian Meagher to the welcome Byron touches (locally blended teas, guided meditation).
We love the nature, whether it's enjoyed from the thoroughly screened porches or from the winding boardwalks right in the rainforest, under the canopy amid Bangalow Palms, egrets and lily ponds.
The self-guided meditation track through the wetland is entrancing, even if the quotes posted along the way sometimes inspire giggles rather than transcendence.
Sydney chef Matt Kemp is now executive chef, overseeing menus that run to the likes of local jumbo prawns with shaved cabbage, fried shallot and lime, and grilled Cape Byron sirloin with Café de Paris butter, watercress and frites. Go herbal at breakfast with tahini balls and fruit, or opt for the full bacon and hash browns indulgence.
Hit happy hour by the pool for wine at a friendly $7 a glass, local Stone & Wood lager at $6 and cocktail specials, or choose from a substantial wellness offering from the Byron Bay Tea Company.
This review was made independently for the Gourmet Traveller Hotel Guide. The guide's reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way.