Design Travel explores the interplay between design and travel. It might be a new hotel for business travellers, an airline collaborating with a world-renowned architect or a product designed specifically to enhance the travel experience. Our brief is to make you want to be there and inspire you to seek out incredible design examples when you travel, or in your own city. 

Stephanie Williams, is an interior designer,  writer and travel communicator. Stephanie was the first editor of Qantas epiQure and her work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, television and online.  She also has a love of fashion design, borne while working for Comme des Garcons

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BEACH BLISS: Byron Bay Hotels Part One, Elements of Byron

BEACH BLISS: Byron Bay Hotels Part One, Elements of Byron

Accommodation in the hippie coastal town of Byron Bay is becoming increasingly sophisticated, with a number of boutique hotels showcasing carefully considered architecture and interiors. Emily McAuliffe checks in to check out three of Byron’s best design hotels and today we're at Elements of Byron.  

A former golf course has been converted into five-star accommodation that seamlessly blends in with the native Australian bush. Owners Peggy and Brian Flannery unveiled Elements of Byron in February 2016, and have more than doubled the number of rooms available since then – clearly they were on to a winner.


The resort now features more than 200 villas discreetly scattered across 22 acres of absolute beachfront property, two kilometres from the main township of Byron Bay.


Architect Shane Thompson was intent on creating a low impact design that wouldn’t interfere with the site’s ecology. At first glance the villas look like simple demountables, but are in fact expertly crafted to fit seamlessly into the environment and integrate high-tech mod-cons.

The stilted huts allow wildlife to cross the property uninterrupted, with echidnas and bandicoots sometimes seen scurrying beneath the buildings, while scrub turkeys scratch about in the gardens. The grounds, which include a lake and creek, attract more than 200 bird species.


From a distance, the reception area and restaurant has the contour of a giant sand dune, and stands alongside a big central lagoon. The property also has a new adults-only pool area with a swim-up bar, plus a beachside cocktail caravan that serves sunset cocktails between 5-7pm, and an outdoor terrace that hosts ‘Fire Pit Fridays’ with a live band.


Food outlets include the Mexican-inspired Somersault, pub grub-style Beach Club and casual Breeze Café. By having multiple food, beverage and leisure outlets spread across the property, the designers successfully dilute hundreds of guests to give the feeling of calmness and seclusion.  

Housekeeping and room service comes at the touch of a button, and all villas are connected with fibre optic cables and free Netflix. The seven villa types include studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments, and are equipped with kitchen facilities and a small terrace or balcony. The bright and airy rooms are fitted with contemporary décor and feel private amid the rough shrubbery.


With a laidback vibe, sweet sea breezes, and sand on one side and bushland on the other, this is a place that feels very Australian, and very Byron.

Book today at Images by Lauren Bamford

RAW LUXE: Byron Bay Hotels Part Two, The Bower

RAW LUXE: Byron Bay Hotels Part Two, The Bower

GETTING CREATIVE: Brisbane's Colourful Art Hotels Part Two, Tryp Brisbane​​​​​​​

GETTING CREATIVE: Brisbane's Colourful Art Hotels Part Two, Tryp Brisbane​​​​​​​