Travel is off the cards, for now.
But when restrictions lift, and it’s safe to do so, the longing for a trip away from our own postcodes will be strong. More importantly, there will be hundreds upon hundreds of hotels around the world, particularly independently-owned boutiques, that will need your help.
They’ll need you to check in, lie on their Egyptian cotton sheets and soak up their charm. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Mr & Mrs Smith for a new weekly series that takes a tantalising peak inside some of the world’s finest properties.
This week, Harriet Charnock-Bates escapes to a beachside gem on Australia’s sun-licked east coast.
This ravishing former surf motel is a sun-splashed dream come true with head-turning good looks and an easygoing attitude. Steps from the talcum-white sands of Cabarita Beach, waves set the soundtrack and interiors come courtesy of Brisbane-based design whizz Anna Spiro
Bedrooms are pleasingly playful with tropical print headboards, scallop-edged lampshades in sorbet hues and plenty of rattan, balconies gaze out across the blindingly blue water, and downstairs, palate-pleasing dining spot Paper Daisy follows suit with art-lined walls and nautical touches a go-go.
The centrepiece though is none other than the palm-framed, retro-cool pool, with its glossy teak sundeck and blue-and-white-striped daybeds – perfect for languid lounging, ice-cold spritz in hand.
So mellow is the mood of this zhooshed-up coastal hangout, it’s impossible not to melt into the breezy, carefree rhythm of it all. The eclectic, sunshine-filled spaces buzz with unhurried conversation, soul-soothing comes as standard in the terracotta-tiled spa, and out on the ocean-facing deck, gorgeous staff glide past carrying gelato cones from chef Jason Barratt’s vintage cart.
It’s a veritable honeypot for the style set – of both the local and global variety – and it’s oh-so-easy to see why, yet the somewhat under-the-radar location, smack-bang in the middle of the Gold Coast and better-known Byron Bay, means its held onto that low-key cool factor that’s often only fleeting.
Days at Halcyon House begin and end with the beach. Hours can be whiled away poolside but expect to spend a considerable chunk of your stay down on the silk-sanded shores, larking about in the shallows and watching local surfers do their thing. Those with sights set on exploring can hop on the hotel’s borrow-able bicycles and ride along to sleepy Kingscliff, or hug the coast right down to endlessly enticing Byron to soak up the free-spirited hippy vibes.
Back at base, the cool-as-they-come bar – with its white-and-blue wicker chairs and oversized palm-frond chandelier – pours out expertly-shaken tipples (from refreshing spritzes to rum-spiked smoothies) and come sunset, a barefoot amble along the sand beckons.
With McTavish boards to borrow and first-rate breaks on the doorstep, Halcyon House is a superlative base for surfers. Newcomers can hone their ‘paddle and pop-up’ close to the shore, while those with a bit of practise under their belts can get their kicks on the consistent right hand point.
Fly to Sydney from London Heathrow with British Airways before flying on to Gold Coast Airport with Jetstar. From there it’s 20 minutes by car to Halcyon House.