byron bay, April 2015

Driving up to the Elements of Byron, a resort part of AccorHotel's M Gallery by Sofitel collection, one can be a little confused. Mod-looking containers dotted around quintessentially native Australian grounds can have you wondering, is this the new world-class resort that everyone is talking about?

It soon becomes clear it's design is intrinsic to the owner's mission of bringing "slow architecture" to the 50 acres of land where Elements of Byron sits. Focused around the ground's ecologies of rainforest, dunal, eucalypt and wetland, each villa reflects it's surroundings with it's landscaping and furnishings.

Central to the resort are three pavillions which feature the restaurant, Graze, poolside bar and spa which encase an infinity pool and fire pit. The pool is the heartbeat of the resort with a lagoon design and multiple cabanas, swinging lounges and deck chairs for hours of relaxation. As the sun goes down, the fire pit is lit and has a great ambience for indulging in the resort's signature cocktails.

The villas are functional and understated. Two bedroom villas share a common lounge and all villas boast huge bathrooms. Keeping the sophisticated Byron Bay traveller in mind they are neutrally furnished with an abundance of light, deep bath tubs, rain showers and large open wardrobes.

Custom made, king-size mattresses by A.H Beard feature in the spacious rooms and are heavenly. Bedside there is a comprehensive compendium on the resort, set up on a digital tablet, which gives access to the spa menu and current events.

The villa's kitchenette is highly functional, with dishwasher, hot plate, espresso machine, crockery and cutlery. With an IGA supermarket only a few hundred metres down the road, it's easy enough to cater for the family and dine on the villa's front deck.

The Osprey Spa focuses it's treatment menu on organic products and holistic wellbeing. With therapy rituals such as "Coastal Dunes Freedom" and "Rainforest Revival", the treatments draw on the local landscape with native ingredients to rejuvenate and invigorate. Morning light yoga is included in the nightly tariff for those wanting to stretch and watch the sun rise over the beach.

The restaurant Graze is one of the biggest draw cards for the resort. Headed by a chef whose experience includes time with the Morgans Hotel Group, the menu utilises some of the best produce from the surrounding coast.

The breakfast spread is filled with fresh juices, pastries, granola and yoghurt, while an a la carte menu features avocado and jalapeno smash on toast and ricotta hotcakes. They're light, fresh and go perfectly with a champagne spiked sunrise juice.

The dinner menu takes on an informal approach of family style dishes, designed to share. Flatbreads come straight out of the oven and a starter of burrata was creamy and indulgent. Larger dishes of a whole baked fish with mango salsa, pumpkin risotto and lamb balls were moorish crowd pleasers. For those wanting a fine dining experience a formal restaurant is opening later in the year.

Uniquely, Zephyr Horse Riding operates on-site and can be booked directly through the resort. For those wanting a horse ride on the expansive beachfront, it's a fabulous experience that feels truly wild and free.

Coming later in the year will be Byron Bay's first ever beach club, taking the resort to an international level. Another 96 villas are due to be rolled out (there are currently 94) and you wouldn't even notice due to the property being so large. In fact you can quite freely stroll the grounds without bumping in to other guests. And it's this balance of luxury, experience and service that has Elements of Byron filling a much needed gap in Byron Bay's resort sector.

FEEL: Laid back luxury.
ROOM PICK: Any villa - although some have beach frontage.
WIFI: Yes, included, with speed upgrades available.
RATES: Nightly rates start at $380 per night including the Farmers Market Breakfast and morning yoga.
IN ROOM: King bed, kitchenette, bath, Appelles bath products, smart tablet, flatscreen TV.
MINI BAR: Sparkling, wine, chocolates, soft drink - not included in the tariff.
GETTING THERE: Jetstar offers everyday low fares making travel more accessible to more people allowing travellers to spend more on accommodation and experiences at their destination.
-Jetstar flies between Melbourne (Tullamarine) and Ballina (Byron) six times a week. One-way lead-in fares start from $99* AUD. To book, visit Jetstar.com *One- way Starter Fare, checked baggage not included. Selected travel dates and conditions apply
-Jetstar also flies between Sydney and Ballina (Byron) two to three times a day . One-way lead in fares start from $75*. To book, visit Jetstar.com *One-way Starter Fare, checked baggage not included. Selected travel dates and conditions apply


I travelled and stayed as a guest of Jetstar and AccorHotels.