The Bower – Lux Nomade checks in to Byron Bay’s high-end boutique hotel
There’s a lot to be said for the fairytale-like hinterland that surrounds Byron Bay, but if you’re looking for a high-end stay within walking distance of town, The Bower should be top of your list.
Despite a relatively contact-free operational approach, the defining feature of The Bower – apart from its elevated, contemporary design – is a sense of soul. For what is essentially a converted motel, this is an almighty feat, although spend five minutes at The Bower and you’ll quickly realise that the only motel-esque element is the location: conveniently situated on the main road out of Byron. Step into any one of the studios, the heritage five-bed cottage, or the modern, light-filled four-bedroom villa, and you’ll be met with a distinctively designer fit-out that’s infused with thought. In the studios, moody dark interiors are complemented by vintage features – lit by antique lamps, with hardback classics carefully positioned next to faded vintage prints on matte black shelves. For larger groups, the 100-year-old cottage tastefully blends a beachside bohemian aesthetic with neutral tones and heritage design elements. The open-plan kitchen opens up to a timber deck and a cedarwood mineral spa shaded by thick bamboo.
The full redesign of the Bower – including an award-winning architecturally designed swimming pool – was completed in 2020, and since then the boutique hotel has built its reputation by providing contemporary luxury accommodation with the kind of welcoming energy that entices you back.
The last time I stayed, the promise of a tropical spring was beginning to warm the air, and I spent the afternoon reading in the sun, half submerged in the magnesium swimming pool. Despite its proximity to the main road, The Bower feels remarkably private, with palms reaching into the sky above the pool and a collection of dark-toned, wood-panelled buildings. I stayed in a studio that night, and as we were walking back from dinner in town, a storm had rolled in and churned up the sky. When we got back to our studio, greeted by The Bower’s signature scent, the picture box window above the freestanding bathtub flashed with lightning – creating a theatrical sense of drama. I closed the Ralph Lauren French linen curtains which run through the centre of the high-ceilinged, moodily monochrome space, and curled up beneath the layered grey linen sheets.
This time, I’d been booked in to stay in The Barn – a white-washed, less mysterious but equally handsome space. I dropped my bags and poured tea for myself and my friend who was visiting for the evening. Although there isn’t a restaurant on-site at The Bower, the minibars are overflowing with a masterfully curated selection of local and international treats. Pre-mixed cocktails from Archie Rose sit next to Good Happy kombucha that’s brewed in the nearby town of Mullumbimby, and you’ll find a box of Origins Tea alongside a Nespresso machine with recyclable pods. As well as plates, bowls, glasses, and heavy ceramic mugs, the kitchenette comes equipped with a toaster, sandwich press, and rustic bread boards that call to be loaded with sourdough and cheese from Byron’s gourmet Bay Grocer (just a few minute’s walk from The Bower). If you know the idea of leaving your room won’t appeal, you can pre-order a hamper to be delivered during your stay – a grazing platter of sustainably sourced cured meats and cheeses, or a picnic hamper stacked with fresh fruit, baguette, and chocolate.
For our one night in town though, we found ourselves (intentionally) at Supernatural – an intimate, Parisian-style natural wine bar in the centre of town. We ordered delicately fragrant riesling on the recommendation of Supernatural’s owner Jodi, who buzzed through the low-lit room with an appropriately Parisian laissez-faire beauty. We ate oysters doused in vinaigrette and a series of share plates: sweet cured salmon and charred broccolini decorated with gems of local honeycomb and a smooth tahini halo.
After dinner (and a blood orange negroni to round out the evening), we walked the ten minutes through town back to The Bower, and I ran a bath in the deep egg-shaped tub that sits beneath a glass ceiling in The Barn’s stone-walled bathroom.
In the morning, I pulled open the heavy wooden doors that open onto the private courtyard. The air this time around lacked the tropical heat of my previous stay, but the pool at sunrise was perfect – a pocket of turquoise beneath a gentle salmon sky.
For breakfast, you can pre-order a breakfast hamper and enjoy goat cheese frittata, fresh fruit, and pastries from the comfort of your room. If you’re keen to head out, The General Store is a few doors down the road, serving up buckwheat vegan waffles and an excellent truffle mushroom toast.
With The Bower as your base, Tallows Beach is within easy walking distance, and Lekker bikes are available to take you the short cycle to The Pass. It’s very likely though that the idea of leaving the pool won’t hold any appeal, particularly once the cocktails start flowing from the garden bar.