A special little Aussie hotel has been lapping up all kinds of praise, writes Melissa Hoyer.

Halcyon House used to be a one of those old-school motels, nestled on the beach at Cabarita on the north coast of New South Wales, kind of half way between the Gold Coast and Byron Bay.

Cabarita may not role off the tongue like the Goldie or Byron but Australia's newest, incredibly sleek boutique hotel, Halcyon House, is impressing all the right people.

It was opened by Elisha Bickle and her sister Siobhan after the family bought Cabarita's "Hideaway" motel and morphed it into Halcyon House. There is no question Halcyon House is one of Australia's best beachside hotels. So good, it was recently awarded the 2016 Conde Nast Traveller "Hot List" Award.

Only a select 60 properties made the awards and they represent not only the vanguard of
the hotel world, but where travellers are headed to next.


The outcome of the list was that hotels have rediscovered the true meaning of the term design hotel; that "eco-friendly" has come to signify something truly inspired; and emerging destinations have been put on the holiday map.

This former surf motel turned luxury hotel was one of Australia's best kept secrets but now the secret is out. The Brisbane-based sisters always believed the hotel would hit the right note.

"Our vision was to create something that was completely different from what was currently being offered in Australia, a boutique hotel with a low-key Australian feel," says Elisha.

The hotel has only been open just over a year but its interiors - designed by Anna Spiro and Sydney-based architect Virginia Kerridge - are eclectic and feature groupings of vintage cameos, seascapes, mirrors and collected beachside paraphernalia.

Halcyon House has become so popular and "instagrammable", it has reached Pinterest and Insta fame as the "Halcyon Hang".

Halcyon House has 21 individual suites, vintage furnishings and a poolside restaurant, Paper Daisy, under the helm of chef Ben Devlin, who was awarded Brisbane Good Food Guide Young chef of the year in 2014.

When we visited, Devlin had just started a new winter menu and it was seriously sensational -baby lobster, anyone? Local fish, meat, fruit and veges are his best working tools.

Previously, Devlin worked at world-renowned chef-owner Rene Redzepi's Noma in Copenhagen.

The 90-seat dining experience at the restaurant is a celebration of Halcyon House's unique part of the world and the relaxed setting works just as well on the cold, windy, rainy night we have as it does the next day, when it was crystal blue and simply beautiful.

When it comes to room rates, they're not cheap, starting from A$550 ($574) for a King suite to A$1400 ($1460) for a two-bedroom suite. There is no question, Halcyon has had fantastic reviews - and it is a real occasion location - including a spectacular one from the renowned Mr and Mrs Smith travel site. I'd suggest to save up and give Halcyon a whirl. You'll really, really like it.

Melissa Hoyer stayed as a guest of Halcyon House.