BEAUTY AND THE FEAST
WITH DESIGNER DETAIL, HAIR STYLISTS ON HAND AND DINING DESTINATIONS ON THE DOORSTEP, THIS ISN’T YOUR AVERAGE AIRBNB
Byron Bay is setting the scene for a new kind of B&B. A loft-style love nest curated by hairdressing wunderkind Jaye Edwards is seducing the style set with chic bed and beauty getaways.
That the converted warehouse happens to be one of the most Instagrammable backdrops imaginable hasn’t hurt in spreading its reputation.
While colour-splashed wall murals from artist Brian Connolly clamour for attention with the cactus garden, it’s the detail that sets Cacti Mi Casa apart from your average Airbnb. Sleep-in on a soft cloud of dove grey and blush linen in the lust-worthy bedroom and borrow The Beach People towels when it’s time to hit the sand.
A roomy rainshower dominates the sleek bathroom, where the Edwards eye is evident in little luxuries like a GHD straightener and Kevin Murphy’s Angel Wash replacing the standard issue.
Of course, professional help never goes astray when it comes to staging spontaneous shoots for social and that’s where Cacti Mi Casa’s connections come in handy.
With my partner sent to scope out the surf, it’s just a few steps through sliding doors to my appointment at the adjoining Edwards and Co salon.
An ocean dip at Tallows may be a shortcut to sea-salt waves, but their stylists are masters of the mermaid mane. You can even have a wine while the magic happens.
After one heavenly head massage and a few twists of the tongs, I’m ready to explore.
Cacti Mi Casa is in Byron’s industrial estate — a few minutes’ drive to the town’s traditional tourist heart, but if you know where to look you’ll find everything you need within its boundaries.
The peaceful pocket off Ewingsdale Road is home to an eclectic assortment of designers and diners, circus schools and studios, brewers and boardshapers, each espousing Byron’s creative soul in their own unique way.
Cementing the precinct’s emerging reputation are restaurants the calibre of Barrio, which means “neighbourhood” in Spanish.
Supplying a smartly styled setting for lingering rosé-fuelled lunches, it builds on the culinary tradition of wood-fire and charcoal.
That smoky flavour elevates the everyday — in these hands, blackened eggplant becomes unforgettable, the broth spooned over grilled fish a talking point.
Even the cocktails are in on the intrigue — smoked carrot margarita, perhaps?
Eating in the Spanish style is as good an excuse as any for a siesta back at Cacti Mi Casa.
We revive in time to soak in the sunset from the balcony, where a swing seat angled at the hinterland horizon is bathed in golden light. The views extend over rolling farmland to Mount Warning.
If you can’t bear to budge, the thoughtfully equipped kitchen (no cobbled-together cutlery here) has everything you need to make eating in feel special.
If you do, the short trip into town rewards
with cool cocktails at Light Year and dessert at The Restaurant at Byron at Byron (roasted new-season black figs with cinnamon doughnuts and mascarpone sorbet).
After a silent night in this much quieter quarter of Byron, we wake to sunshine slanting through open windows.
With the cute peppermint-painted bikes propped in the doorway for guest use, it’s just a lazy pedal down paperbark-lined paths to one of my favourite breakfast spots.
Folk is the place I picture when I think of bygone Byron vibes.
While the sustainable philosophy behind its pretty plant-powered plates is forward thinking, the cruisy cafe seems to exist in a blissful bubble of nostalgia.
Stevie Nicks croons the soft soundtrack, Fleetwood Mac’s classic Dreams, foliage spills from hanging macramé baskets and I swear their brown ceramic jugs are the same as the ones I sculled Milo milkshakes from when I was a kid.
After a quick stop at the loft to snatch some towels, we swap two wheels for four.
A short and sweet Sunday drive, windows rolled down to warm, wattle-scented breeze, takes us to Killen Falls.
An easy 10-minute wander from the carpark through the rare remnants of big scrub rainforest, it’s one of the region’s most accessible waterfalls. Dripping in natural beauty, Killen has no need to play hard to get.
You can swim behind the curtain of crashing water into the cool, misty cavern … and if that mermaid mane starts looking a little too authentic, you know where to go.
The writer was a guest of Cacti Mi Casa