By name, by nature: Halcyon House, NSW

Pulling into Halcyon House at Cabarita Beach, you might wonder if you are in the right spot. From the outside, it portrays a retro motel, the casual, white three-storey complex is not your usual sprawling luxury accommodation. But don’t let the facade fool you. As you peek around the corner, you are guaranteed to be surprised and impressed by what you find. 

The chic elegance of Halcyon House is balanced with a casual vibe of beach club standards. Enjoy a welcome drink of homemade sparkling minty lemonade in the lounge area while you realign your initial thoughts on this luxe spot. You may find yourself staring at the walls, floors… in fact, the entire space, all decorated with intense shades of blues and white, in all kinds of unique patterns and shapes. Then it’s off to your room where you will again be amazed at the décor. Each of the 21 rooms and two suites are tasteful, bright and individually designed and decorated, keeping to the blue-and-white theme. Designer Anna Spiro has captured the casual, beachy feel of Cabarita perfectly, from the fantastic floor tiles on the balcony and in the bathroom (handmade in Byron Bay), to the beautiful fabric panels that cover the walls.

Despite the smaller size of the rooms, they have everything you need, including a mini bar stocked with local beer and cider and sweet treats delivered to your room in glass mason jars.

Being only footsteps from the beach, a brisk walk and swim made for a perfect afternoon before our evening at the in-house restaurant, Paper Daisy. Since opening this year, Paper Daisy has definitely made a name for itself in the small beach town. It’s bustling on the weekends, but don’t worry, guests get first preference so you’re sure to get a spot.

In the evenings, the area is transformed from daytime poolside bungalow to elegant dining spot. The lights are dimmed, the candles lit and Frank Sinatra is playing in the background. With head chef Ben Devlin on board, the menu is exquisite and playfully creative. Smoked oysters served on a bed of hot rocks, homemade bread with cultured kefir and macadamia butter, and local fish cooked on charcoal and wrapped in smoky paperbark; each dish was delightfully savoured. We were definitely full, but who can resist a dessert menu like this one? With dishes like caramelised white chocolate with Jerusalem artichoke and wattle seed; or spring honey ice cream served in a shell of beeswax with freeze-dried strawberries, we had to try a couple. I couldn’t decide whether the artichoke dessert was sweet or savory, but the flavours were unique and it was an experience to say the least.

To start the day right, take out one of the complimentary retro cruiser bikes and explore the area, head to the beach for a surf lesson or a swim, or enjoy a game of bocce or croquet on the back lawn. Halcyon House is your relaxed beach bungalow getaway.

Room rates start from $550 per night.

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