Squint a bit and the golden coastline of Australia’s Byron Bay hinterland does more than a convincing job conjuring a similar relaxed mountain-meets-ocean luminescence that has tempted countless free spirits up and down California’s Central Coast over the years. That persisting California 1970s vibe is embraced and magnified in every corner of the Sun Ranch hotel, a textural nostalgic ode to sun-soaked good times that recently opened its doors to present an immersive ranch experience.
The newly opened hotel is the passion project of interior designer Julia Ashwood, former fashion designer Jamie Blakey, and their small creative cadre of designers and artists. Imagined as a getaway inspired by the architecture and lifestyle of 1970s Californian ranch houses spiced up with some glamorous modern touches, the once cattle farm is now welcoming guests for a wide array of California-inspired activities ranging from horseback sunset rides, al fresco dining, spiritual workshops, meditation sessions, yoga classes, and of course, astrological readings.
The Sun Ranch may be an Australian destination, but the decor is a blend of warmly hued ‘70s California Ranch nostalgia embellished with Spanish influences.
Situated upon a 55 acre property in the heart of the Byron Bay hinterland, Sun Ranch is imagined to provide a level of luxury shielded by privacy for groups as large as 34 guests. There is even the option to rent out the entire property for those desiring the ultimate home away from home vacation with friends and family.
Individual rooms for two, a luxury suite, and six rustic decor barns offer more typical accommodation options for those staying the minimum two nights. Guests seeking solitude can book one of the adults only Rambler Rooms, four private guest rooms – The Wam Bam, The Rattler, Getting’ Lucky, and Saddle Up – each with a sensually appointed bed, tiled bathroom, outdoor shower, mini bar, vintage sound system, and access to the private Rambler Long House Pool.
Guests may be staying at a “ranch” in name, yet Sun Ranch’s 82-foot basalt rock framed hillside pool – with its grandiose view of the rolling hinterland landscape below – is probably more indicative of the relaxed and luxurious nature of a stay at the boutique destination.
Designed by landscape architects Land Company, the pool mirrors the surrounding landscape with rippled clarity and reflects sunlight across the tiered monolithic length running the span of the Pool Club.
The self-proclaimed “the hotel of good times” is even visited regular by its own resident wallaby, an unofficial ambassador/spirit animal undoubtedly enticed by the property’s 10,000 trees and native plants, all reintroduced to help regenerate the landscape into a site where flora and fauna feel as welcome as those fortunate enough to reserve a stay at the Sun Ranch.
What: Sun Ranch
Where: 17 Byron Creek Rd, Coopers Shoot NSW 2479, Australia
How much: Starting from $543/night with 2 night minimum
Highlights: The Sun Ranch’s 82-foot hillside luxury basalt pool gives a relaxing view of the landscape from the comforts of bleacher style daybeds, with meal and drink service available at the Pool Club.
Design draw: The mix of new, vintage, and reclaimed furnishings impart a timeless design quality that belies the Sun Ranch’s relative new status, a mood exemplified by the hotel’s vibrant sunken lounge focusing around a sculptural fireplace located within The Rambler Long House.
Book it: Sun Ranch
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