Location: Byron Bay is already home to several luxury resorts, but Hotel Marvell is the first five-star hotel to open in the middle of town - next to shops and restaurants and a five-minute walk from the beach.
Getting there: An easy 45-minute drive from Gold Coast Airport on the M1.
Style: The hotel is a feat of design from award-winning Byron Bay architect Harley Graham that manages to stand out while also blending naturally into its surroundings on the street.
Plentiful hanging plants drape over the earthy concrete exterior, and the entrance is off a shaded laneway that includes seating for outdoor dining. Inside, it’s a similar colour scheme with contrasting materials - terracotta, concrete, natural wood and, of course, lots of linen.
Price: Room from $699 per night, suites from $785 per night, 2 bedrooms from $890-$990 per night.
Perfect for: A couple’s getaway or a weekend for a group of friends who like the finer things in life, at any age.
First impressions: Arriving in sun-soaked Byron Bay fresh off a flight from chilly Auckland, I felt like the season had changed - and Hotel Marvell was the perfect spot to spend what felt like a summer weekend.
The staff were warm and genuinely welcoming in a way that’s rare for a five-star establishment, and during the day the atmosphere was calm. Granted, it’s just opened, but you get the sense that even if it was fully booked, the relaxed vibe would be maintained.
Rooms: Each room has its own shaded balcony, providing cool relief from the sun and a sense of privacy - and the decor is a welcome contrast to many five-star stays.
No harsh white lighting or crunchy sheets here - it’s all linen, cloudy pillows, soft and generously sized towels, and lights that gradually fade with the help of a touch screen.
The touch screen also controls the curtains and cleaning service, which takes a bit of getting used to if you’re technologically challenged like me. But we got there in the end and the blackout curtains worked a treat.
Bathroom: Dreamy towels and Leif toiletries in full-sized bottles (reduces the chance of running out of a miniature bottle) ensure a luxe bathroom experience.
Food and drink: The hotel is home to restaurant Bonito, headed up by chef Minh Le. Fittingly for a foodie destination that’s just minutes from the beach, seafood is the hero of the menu, with a focus on fresh local produce. It’s well worth a visit even if you’re not a guest at the hotel.
Full disclosure - at the time of my stay shortly after the hotel’s opening, breakfast and room service weren’t available but have since been added to the menu.
Facilities: The hotel’s biggest drawcard for guests and locals alike has to be that it boasts Byron’s first rooftop bar - the perfect spot to sip a cocktail and see the sunset. The pool and sun loungers on the roof are available to guests.
Basement car parking is available with your access card once you’ve checked in.
In the neighbourhood: It’s an easy walk from the hotel to the beach, shops, restaurants or cafes, or even the famous lighthouse if you’re keen. Rent a car or Kombi to explore the hinterland and neighbouring towns of Newrybar or Bangalow.
Family friendly: Depending on the number of guests, some rooms will be suitable for kids.
Accessibility: There is ramp access from the street, the building itself is fully wheelchair accessible, and the hotel offers a number of accessible rooms - you can contact reception for more information.
Sustainability: The hotel has been built and fitted out with a big focus on using natural materials and local suppliers. For example, the coffee pods for the Nespresso machine in each room are Australia’s first compostable pods, sourced from local growers Zentveld’s Coffee - and the mugs for your morning coffee are from local ceramics artist Brooke Clunie.