Byron Bay Set To Boom
Get in early as the luxe coastal favourite stirs from its enforced slumber.
As regional travel restrictions continue to ease, our favourite travel destinations are excitedly reopening their doors.
One such spot is the perpetually sunny Byron Bay. With its celebrity credentials and crop of boutique luxury resorts, the northern New South Wales town and its environs are already a domestic travel hot spot. And if you’re thinking of a northern sojourn anytime soon – best get in now.
“From the day that [NSW Premier] Gladys Berejiklian announced regional travel in New South Wales our phone did not stop ringing,” says Rae’s general manager, Francesca Webster. “There is that confidence out there for people to start locking in travel.”
Rae’s on Wategos has long been an RR favourite – a unique 1960s Spanish Mission styled boutique stay mere footsteps from the enviable Wategos Beach, a stroll into town yet secluded from the youthful shenanigans and backpackers.
Webster substates that as much as tourists are scrambling to secure a spot and engage some time away, operators are equally excited about welcoming guests.
“As much as for our guests, the return to normal is for our staff too – and for the chance to do what we do best, we’ve got our mojo back.”
The same sentiment is felt across the cape, the expansive Elements of Byron Resort echoing such thoughts.
“When the announcement came through, an enormous amount of people hit the phones,” says Michael Skinner, Elements general manager. “However, there was a lot of confusion, people wanted to book in overnight – the general public didn’t really understand the details.”
For Elements of Byron and its 50-acre beachside resort, nestled just to the north of town and with direct beach access, the enforced shut-down had a few silver linings. None of the full-time staff were let go, with the business opting to utilise its workforce across areas such as maintenance.
“I say it’s like fixing a plane – you can’t do maintenance while you’re in the air, you need to land. We never land, so this has been a good chance for us to improve the property further,” adds Skinner.
Rae’s remains closed for maintenance until June 19, while Elements has outed an opening date of June 17.
Both properties are looking at ways to limit and safeguard guests and staff in relation to ongoing COVID restrictions, with Elements to cap the number of availabilities during the pending July holiday period.
“I think it will take some time to come back. Peak holiday periods, like this July holiday break will still have this demand, but the unknown of social distancing, we don’t know what that looks like, so we’ve taken a step-by-step approach,” adds Skinner.
“It’s going to be interesting as to how we navigate the remaining restrictions, being government compliant while managing the expectations of the client.”
Rae’s is hopeful that its relationship with its clients and those yet to experience its wonder will immediately resume on reopening.
“I don’t think we need to remind people that we’re here and we’re grateful for that,” says Webster. “And hopefully those who aren’t going on that overseas holiday are willing to invest in a good meal and a luxury stay.”