GP Travel Diaries: Our Editor Takes A Break At A Luxury Resort In Byron Bay
A quiet time for healing at Elements of Byron Bay.
They say you find yourself in Byron Bay in order to heal or be healed. People with a gift for healing move to the area because of its rich texture, making it the perfect place to teach these offerings; others feel called to travel to Byron because they’re yearning for relief, a soft place to land. I didn’t know any of this when I booked a week’s holiday at Elements of Byron Bay. I was searching for a break, maybe some rest, or deep relaxation, but instead I experienced a transformative week of total wellbeing.
Elements of Byron Bay is a luxury resort a few minute’s drive from central Byron. Set on Belongil Beach, with a bay overlooking Cape Byron and Julian Rocks, this hotel promises an immersive experience focused on wellness and rejuvenation. From the moment I arrived, checking in and receiving a beautiful welcome drink, I felt at ease, like I’d experienced a sub-conscious exhale. The minimalist design of the lobby seamlessly fuses with the natural surroundings, with lush greenery at every turn, and the first thing you notice is the beautiful pool that grounds the resort. It’s at this pool I’ll spend most of my seven days ahead—relaxing, reading, reclining, resting. Arriving here truly felt like I’d transported myself to Bali and I felt instantly grateful to be staying at such a special place.
My room was a suite that felt like a little villa in a secret forest. I was greeted by sweeping views of the lush landscape through expansive windows. The room itself was a sanctuary of comfort, with a comfortable king bed, lush furnishings, beautiful linens, an outdoor bathtub and a walk-in wardrobe complete with heated tiles. Heaven. I was in the room for about 30 seconds before I walked to the end of the cul-de-sac to recline on a lounge with sweeping views of Cape Byron, a glass of NON non-alcoholic wine in my hand.
The resort is set on 20 acres of native rainforest and wetlands, so you’re completely surrounded by the soothing sounds of nature. When I stayed, it was school holidays, and I was expecting noise and chaos, especially given the hotel has more than 200 rooms. Instead, I experienced complete serenity—I think because you are enveloped in nature, Elements has a stillness to it that’s both surprising and hard to describe.
On my first morning, I wandered up to the point for an outdoor yoga class on the grass overlooking the beach. Elements truly has a commitment to wellness: so big is their wellness offering that it even appears as a tab on their website. The hotel runs free yoga classes every morning for guests, it has two kilometres of walking trails on-site with complimentary guided walking tours with a ranger, and the restaurant offers indulgently healthy meals that are designed to nourish your body from the inside out.
By the third day, I was feeling lithe from yoga and light in my body. I wasn’t drinking alcohol—I loved that the hotel is supportive of this with delicious non-alcoholic cocktail options and a range of NON wines. I was also sleeping well—thanks in part to the incredibly comfortable bed and also the deep state of relaxation I had fallen into from being so surrounded by nature.
On the fourth day, I noticed some emotions come up during yoga and I realised that I was healing. What I have failed to mention so far is that the week I chose to stay at Elements was meant to be my wedding week. I had done so much work on myself and had arrived at a place where I was feeling good after a life-shattering breakup, but the state of rest that had been ushered in, simply by being at Elements, brought up some lingering feelings I clearly hadn’t healed. I suddenly felt called to write my ex a letter, and I explained this to the hotel staff, who instantly arranged some writing paper and pens for me. They were completely judgement-free, asking me if they could facilitate any part of this ritual for me (how very Byron), truly going above and beyond. As I wrote the letter, tearing it into pieces and then letting them go, I felt calm and free.
The next morning, I ordered a coffee at the cafe in the hotel lobby and then went for a walk around the property. I felt lighter from the ritual the evening before and one of the hotel staff who had helped with this gently suggested a horse ride. My first instinct was to say no—I had never been on horseback—but then I remembered how healing horses can be. I’d previously been on a retreat where they combined the inner intelligence of horses with talk therapy and found it really helpful. I said yes to a guided horse ride with the team from Zephyr Horses and found myself at Elements’s on-resort horse ranch, ready to saddle up, the same afternoon.
I’m not overstating it when I say that a horse ride with Zephyr Horses is a must-do when staying at Elements. I felt completely comfortable being guided by the expert team while my horse and I navigated forest trails before being led directly onto a beautiful stretch of beach. We rode along the beach at sunset and it was one of those rare moments where the experience you’re having is so immersive that you transcend thought. The trace of anxiety I was holding in my body faded away as we galloped along the coastline, watching the beautiful colourways of the sun setting.
On my final day, I had a massage at Osprey Spa, the hotel spa, which is a literal haven of indulgence and renewal. The skilled therapists employ a holistic approach, incorporating natural ingredients and healing techniques to promote balance and vitality. I had a beautiful facial and full-body massage, and as I surrendered to the expert hands of my therapist, I felt tension melt away, leaving me in a state of bliss. The therapist also sent me home with an at-home routine from natural Australian skincare brand LaGaia, which I’m still using today. (I particularly love the oil cleanser).
One of the highlights of my stay was the hotel’s exquisite dining experience. The on-site restaurant, Azure Bar & Grill, with both elegant indoor seating and an outdoor offering nestled in the lush gardens and towering palm trees, showcases the bounty of the region’s finest local produce. The restaurant uses world-class chefs who have constructed a menu full of nourishing, high-quality and delicious ingredients. Oh, and there’s also a pizza restaurant for when you just want something simple done well.
Byron Bay is known the world over for its uniquely holistic lifestyle. There are so many wonderful yoga, meditation and wellness retreats in this coastal paradise, but something structured like that is simply not for everyone. Elements of Byron provides a level of luxury while allowing you to layer in as much wellness as you want. The hotel truly allows you to craft your own experience; whether you’re looking for a regimen of daily yoga and green juice, or want to have a margarita by the adults-only pool, this world-class hotel really has it all.
This is an independently written review which was not commissioned or paid for by the brand. However, the trip was provided to the writer at the brand’s discretion.