An inspired makeover has turned three cottages into a retreat of relaxed style and old-school charm. Describing a place as central and tucked away might seem like an oxymoron, but Atlantic Byron Bay manages to be just that. The Caribbean plantation-inspired property is a relaxed stroll from Main Beach via a raft of boutiques (and what we think is some of Byron's best coffee, at Bayleaf). Yet step beyond the palm-fringed boundary and the bustle of Byron seems miles away. The feeling of escape begins along paths winding through lush gardens, past daybeds, hanging chairs and old-school Adirondacks.
Eight years ago Kimberly Amos, Stephen Eakin and their three sons moved from Sydney's northern beaches to Byron and began transforming the Atlantic's three original beach cottages into a breezy collection of communal living and kitchen spaces, with 15 guestrooms, all with decks. Driftwood cottage has charcoal exteriors, striped awnings and decks off ensuite rooms in chalky colours. Deep in the gardens surrounding Driftwood is an American Airstream popular for chic "camping" in the heart of Byron; a self-contained studio near Driftwood is ideal for a small group or family. Coconut Cottage is all pastels, palms and original artworks, and The Lodge is a relaxed blend of mid-century modern and coastal cool. While helpful staff are on hand, their discretion creates a feeling of well-serviced retreat. There are some decisions they can't help with: swim, surf or nap? 13 Marvell St, Byron Bay, NSW, (02) 6685 5118. Rooms from $285.
Related: Byron Bay travel guide.