CHECK IT OUT HAL­CYON HOUSE, CABARITA BEACH, NSW

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence -

Bris­bane-based sis­ters Siob­han and Elisha Bickle have taken an old surf mo­tel in the pretty NSW north coast vil­lage of Cabarita Beach and trans­formed it into an en­chant­ing 21-room bou­tique ho­tel.

With the help of ar­chi­tect Vir­ginia Ker­ridge and in­te­rior designer Anna Spiro, they’ve cre­ated a chic bolt­hole that man­ages to con­jure the “boho” flair of Kit Kemp’s Fir­m­dale Ho­tels (in Lon­don and New York) but in an Aussie set­ting. Add a young-gun chef, a Euro­pean-trained ho­tel manager and on-call surf pro and you have a new style of beach ho­tel for the east coast.

Lo­cated 15 min­utes by car south of the Gold Coast air­port, the white­washed Hal­cyon House fronts a fa­mous surf break but its 1960s Span­ish-style arches and blue-and-white-striped pool­side lounges more read­ily con­jure up the calm wa­ters of the Mediter­ranean.

And it helps that gen­eral manager Mauro De Riso cut his teeth at JK Place in Capri.

Great care has gone into cre­at­ing a re­laxed but al­ways stylish at­mos­phere. John De­rian so­fas, Made­line Wein­rib rugs and draw­ings by Wayne Pate were im­ported from the US; Bris­bane fur­ni­ture re­stor­ers have adapted vin­tage pieces, while a team of ex­perts was flown in from Bri­tain to up­hol­ster walls and fur­ni­ture.

All rooms have a pri­vate fur­nished court­yard or bal­cony and fea­ture beau­ti­ful fab­ric-cov­ered walls and con­trast­ing bed­heads, and crisp, white bath­rooms kit­ted out with English tap­ware, mar­ble van­i­ties, hand­made floor tiles and Evo ameni­ties. The two-bed­room Hal­cyon Suite fea­tures a large bal­cony com­mand­ing beach and head­land views. Down­stairs, the cosy living room con­tin­ues the ho­tel’s pre­dom­i­nantly blue-and-white pal­ette, with squishy so­fas and book­cases filled with blue-cov­ered tomes.

Ho­tel fa­cil­i­ties in­clude a hair­dress­ing sa­lon and day spa. DON’T MISS: A surf­ing les­son with ace pro, and ho­tel am­bas­sador, Joel Parkin­son. DINING IN: Bris­bane Good Food Guide 2014 Young Chef of the Year Ben Devlin, who lists Copen­hagen’s Noma on his CV, is in charge of the kitchen at the pool­side Pa­per Daisy. Lo­cal seafood is the star here; try pip­pies with lemon myr­tle and War­ri­gal greens or blue swim­mer crab with tofu, cit­rus and buck­wheat. DINING OUT: Pop south to the Fleet Restau­rant in Brunswick Heads or Three Blue Ducks at The Farm, By­ron Bay. ASK THE CONCIERGE: Room 207, an “ocean deluxe” cat­e­gory, has won­der­ful views. Mas­ter suites come with a large bal­cony, per­fect for sun­down­ers. CHECK­ING IN: Rooms from $550. Book 30 days in ad­vance and save 20 per cent. More: hal­cy­on­house.com.au. ALSO TRY: Ho­tel Tre­san­ton, Corn­wall; The Land­ing, Har­bour Is­land, Ba­hamas.

CHRISTINE McCABE

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