When you arrive at The Swell you won’t find your usual reception lined with computers. Instead, follow the burning aroma of Dutchie incense to The Swell Bar (where all holidays should start). Fitted out with a golden velvet lounge and thriving greenery, the ’70s-inspired space is a mere taste of the cool, lived-in charm you’ll find inside your room. Here, a welcome spritz is encouraged, while one of the friendly staff – dressed in a very fitting Byron Bay uniform: breezy button-up shirt and bare feet – checks you in.
Behind The Swell is a pair of Californian natives, married couple Andrew Maltin and DayNa Decker. The couple now call Byron Bay home but have spent much of their lives travelling. Their new Byron experience has been designed to encapsulate some of their favourite overseas memories.
Working with local designer Nyree Mackenzie, Maltin and Decker have taken the bones of a small roadside lodge in the centre of town and transformed it into an elevated, surf-inspired oasis.
“In setting up Swell, we’ve [worked to] capture Byron’s essence: its vibrant art scene, farm-to-table cuisine, iconic surf and strong sense of wellbeing,” Maltin tells Broadsheet.
When you step inside any one of the 16 custom-designed suites, the first thing you’ll be wowed by is the laid-back luxury: a velvet king velvet bedhead arching across one wall, ornate light shades and your own cocktail station. (If Gatsby had a cool-Cali edge, this is where you’d find him.) Take note of how relaxed the space feels, with its warm, earthy tones – a wet day wouldn’t ruin your holiday when it means retreating to a room like this. Each suite features a cosy reading nook, large accordion windows, and a minibar with a menu that reads like a list of the area’s best producers: Loco Love chocolates, Good Happy kombucha, Daily Food’s Super Bites and Etota spritzes.
But the hotel’s appeal goes beyond the rooms. The adults-only stay boasts a sprawling fairy-lit garden, a pink marble-tiled pool area lined with bamboo umbrellas, and an infrared sauna and ice bath. Come summer, the adjoining pool bar will be open for service, but in the meantime there’s waterside delivery.
A key reason for staying here, though, is the location. Positioned on the corner of Butler and Lawson streets, the town’s best bars and restaurants, main beach and markets are – quite literally – at the back gate. General manager Sorcha Horgan says the hotel will continue to tap into its neighbouring businesses as its offering expands.
“[The Swell Bar] will soon introduce a new food and drinks menu where, again, the focus will be on local produce,” she tells Broadsheet. “We’ll serve a light brekkie and snacks such as a charcuterie board using locally-made dips from the markets across the road. That’s the thing about Byron – we’re so lucky to have so many farmers around.”
It’s not just local food stores the team are keen to support; there are plans to host live music nights in the front garden as the weather warms up, too.
11 Butler Street, Byron Bay
0481 602 937