Just beyond the coastal fever dream that is Byron town, the Northern Rivers' Hinterlands offers a bounty of produce, rolling hills and excellent vibes. Local interior designer Julia Ashwood (known for her work at The Sunseeker and Eltham Hotel) and Jamie Blakey (former designer and founder of fashion brand One Teaspoon) know this all too well. Together, they have tapped into this magic with their new property, Sun Ranch, in Coopers Shoot.
Comprising a five-room guest house and six two-bedroom barns, the project calls upon eclectic influences, with references to Californian and Utah ranches and a research trip to Mexico, all seen through a uniquely Byron lens. "It's a hotel of good times – leaning into the cosmic Byron vibes but also ranch-ifying it. We're aligning things around the full moon. We want you to have a taste, smell, really get into it," says Ashwood.
The Lair – Sun Ranch's tonal take on the classic hotel lobby – makes first impressions count. "It's our own White Lotus moment – the original homestead property inspired the way people move through it." After this guests can slink down to the basalt 25-metre pool or head back to sink into one of the velvet lounges. Guests can also add on horse trail rides with Byron's Zepyhr Horses, arrange a cacao ceremony, in-room massages, astrology readings or sound healing.
For those wanting a more tangible experience, the team has also called upon local chef Pip Sumbak, as the Sun Ranch's chef-in-residence. "Everything's been designed with such care, that I want to create something that people will really remember," says Sumbak. To this end, she'll be working over an Argentinian grill, slicing and curing line-caught fish, cooking in banana leaves and seasoning produce with herbs from the native garden. "I've based a lot of it from working on private islands over the years. We're surrounded by a wealth of deliciousness here, and fire will be the centrepiece." Sumbak will also oversee breakfasts, served in The Lair. "I'll be pulling back to my Estonian roots, so there will be rye bread, smoked fish and lots of ferments," says Sumbak. For guests who are slower to rise, there will also be coffee and pastry drops at their door.
Whether it's in the rooms, by the pool or eating a fire-cooked feast, the team, which spans both creative and hospitality industries, just want you to slow down and soak up the feel-good moments. Blakey says, "It's a salt-of-the-earth experience but it's also all about having all the luxury points".
From $850 per night, sunranch.com.au