Raes on Wategos
Byron Bay is home to numerous hotels, but none as storied as this iconic, whitewashed villa on Wategos Beach, constructed in the 1960s or 70s (the exact date is unclear) and later transformed into a restaurant and private home. Legend has it that Salvador Dalí, a friend of the original owner, designed the tropical garden and free-form pool, which are still there today.
After a superlative 2017 refresh, the hotel has emerged dreamier than ever, with rattan furniture, arched windows, seashell sconce lighting and a powdery colour palette, courtesy of Sydney interior designer Tamsin Johnson.
You don’t have to be a guest here to enjoy its easy, confident charm. That do-over also elevated the hotel’s dining room to something worth travelling for. Executive chef Jason Saxby has worked in some of the world’s great kitchens, including Sydney’s Quay and London’s Ledbury, and the space itself is special – a kind of indoor-outdoor terrace with a Mediterranean air. Book in for a three-course long lunch or push the boat out with the full six-course tasting menu.
Likewise, the on-site Moroccan-inspired spa is a destination in its own right and offers a variety of packages for guests and day visitors alike.