A stylish boutique beachfront hotel with bespoke rooms, its own day spa, a beautiful pool and a laidback but upmarket restaurant, with an awarded wine-list, run by top-notch chefs. Honestly, why would anyone want to stay there? We ask the tough questions here at The Echo, but the team at Halcyon House had all the answers:
Q: It’s been seven years since Halcyon House and the Paper Daisy restaurant opened. You opened with a bang, with both the 22-room boutique hotel receiving accolades across Australia and the restaurant gaining two hats in the 2017 Good Food Guide list. What factors have been the most important in maintaining your popularity?
HH: We have maintained popularity for several reasons, namely our commitment to service that means we see many repeat guests year-on-year. Regional tourism is also having its moment, which has meant we have welcomed many new guests too, which has been lovely. Being a luxury beachfront boutique hotel, we have a unique offering and one that, thankfully, there seems to be a continuing appetite for!
Q: When you first opened, Cabarita Beach was a much quieter place, and the Casuarina development to the north was only just getting started. But now there are new places to visit like the Earth Beer brewery in Cudgen, Husk Distillery at Tumbulgum, the M-Arts precinct in Murwillumbah and new restaurants popping up everywhere. So, while the hotel was previously away from the popularity of Byron, it’s now much more in the centre of the action. Is that a plus for your guests?
HH: Absolutely! We have witnessed many positive changes to the region that provides our guests with a plethora of experiences and opportunities. We are lucky to be in an area of such considered growth and feel we have the best of both worlds in terms of access to fantastic places, some of which you’ve mentioned, without being right in the hustle and bustle of everything.
Q: How much do your guests visit the local area – is that an important factor for them? I know your very talented Head Chef, Jason Barratt, stayed at the hotel as a guest, well before he joined the team, and said that he hardly left the pool and dining area during his whole holiday! Is that common? Are your guests looking to cocoon themselves by the seaside in a sophisticated sort of hideaway, or use the place as a base to explore the area?
HH: We get a mix of guests who do just want to check-in and not leave the property, opting to lounge by our pool, visit the onsite Spa and dine in Paper Daisy for all their meals. Typically, those guests have come to fully relax and unwind for a few days, but then we have other guests who want to do it all! Those guests typically stay three nights or more and want to both relax and enjoy the hotel but also head out for a day or two and explore the region and have a variety of experiences. We find that some of the most popular activities are scenic drives, paddle boarding, whale watching, brewery tours, snorkelling with turtles, or a shopping trip to Byron.
Q: In Paper Daisy restaurant, there is an awarded and comprehensive wine list, and Chef Jason Barratt, who came from 3-hatted Aria, is producing beautiful food. But I know Jason says that the restaurant is much more than a breakfast/ lunch/ dinner kind of place – in particular it caters for people who want to grab a cocktail, or chat in the bar with bar snacks, or guests who want food to takeaway. What do you think the special vibe is when you dine at Paper Daisy?
HH: I think our location and our menu combine to give diners a unique dining experience of relaxed sophistication. If guests want to sit at the bar or by the pool and eat bar snacks while sipping a cocktail they can, but they also get to enjoy a four-course dinner each night in the restaurant. Our staff tend to get to know our guests well during their stay, and with that comes a nice sense of homeliness. Jason’s menu changes daily too, in keeping with the seasonal produce on offer, which keeps things interesting.
What would you say are the most popular cocktails?
HH: That would have to be our signature Halcyon Daze cocktail.
Q: Have you opened any additional spaces within the hotel precinct, and what’s been the reaction to that?
HH: The Halcyon Spa opened in 2017 and we recently added a 1-bedroom suite to the hotel room offering. They’ve both been very popular!
Q: Do you have any special events or happenings at the restaurant coming up?
HH: Just this past weekend we had a Torbreck Wine lunch event and do have some other exciting initiatives in the works, but we can’t share anything about them yet. Christmas lunch will be offered again, which is always popular, and yes, people are already booking their spots for that now by emailing [email protected]
Book for the restaurant,
or book accommodation, at
21 Cypress Crescent,
Ph 6676 1444