The popularity of Byron Bay as a destination has seen the growth of resort-style hotels around the town. One worth visiting is CrystalBrook Resort, set in beautiful coastal rainforest not far from Tallow Beach and only a 5-minute drive from downtown Byron Bay.
Set on 45 hectares of rainforest, palm and eucalypt forest, the hotel features suites set deep in the rainforest down winding forest paths and boardwalks. Don't worry, they have golf buggies to help people with mobility issues get to their rooms, but walking out away from the main building is part of the joy.
Exploring the rainforest grounds at Crystalbrook Byron Bay
Exploring the grounds yourself is an enjoyable experience. In particular, follow the creek out to Meditation Point. This quiet area has shelters, benches and various paths to explore. They might do yoga here on some days as well.
Meditation point on the grounds of Cyrstalbrook Byron Bay
Every room is a suite set in modern two-storey buildings at various points around the grounds. You have a choice between ground floor and second-floor suites, and my preference is for the upper floor because you will get more of a sense of isolation in the rainforest, and views into the treetops. The ground floor is also nearly as good, and the rooms provide plenty of privacy even on the ground floor.
The suites are deep without the rainforest at Crystalbrook Resort
In terms of the location of the room, you can't choose which area your room will be in when booking online, but a quick phone call can fix that. You have a choice of rooms in the main block by the creek or the Cypress, Rivergum or Acacia rooms that are a little more isolated. Again, the more isolated the better in this resort.
The standard suites are around $500 a night, depending the season, and include a double bed overlooking the rainforest, a living area and desk, a kitchen with a 4 setting dining table, a swell as a well-featured kitchenette, and a washer/dryer combination. The bathroom is large and great for two people, with a wide sink, shower and separate large bathtub. Out the back is a closed in back porch with rainforest views. There are also luxury suites and double adjoining suites.
Relax on the back porch in your suite at Crystalbrook Resort in Byron Bay
The experience of sleeping in the suites provided me with two nights of the best sleep I have had in a long time. The combination of the ocean in the distance, the wind in the trees and rainforest sounds were enhanced on the first night with gently falling rain. To understand how refreshing the sleep to this natural deep relaxation soundtrack was, you have to realise that on both nights I woke up from a dream of being incredibly relaxed and refreshed to being actually incredibly relaxed and refreshed.
Facilities & activities
Other than just exploring the grounds, there are lot of other great facilities. The most popular is the pool and sauna. Whether you are just relaxing by the pool or getting in some morning laps, this pool in a forest is a great way to start your day or unwind after exploring what the region offers. They serve food and drinks at the Blue Bar at the pool, though most people seem to eat or drink at the cafe rather than the pool.
If you are looking for the right treatment to add to the experience, then try the Eleme day spa, which includes a range of massage, beauty and detox treatments. For a bit of shopping, go to the resort boutique for that souvenir or gift.
Exploring the grounds at Crystalbrook Resort in Byron Bay
The hotel features the well regarded Forest restaurant. Most guests choose to sit outside to enjoy the natural air of the surrounds but there is also plenty of indoor seating for rainy, hot or cold days.
Outdoor dining at the Forest Restaurant at Crystalbrook Byron Bay
The restaurant has made a lot of effort to create the perfect seasonal menu. This is fine dining, so you should be looking to get at least an entree, main and dessert, and maybe some sides to complete the meal. There are also share platters and great steak options for people who just want a decent feed. While others might prefer to sample lots of flavours with the tasting menu.
Dinner at the Forest Restaurant, Crystalbrook Hotel
The restaurant also does breakfast and lunch. There are a number of recommended options for breakfast, but the two standout choices are the smashed avocado with poached eggs and coconut feta, complemented by pesto and served on sourdough, or the prawn omelette.
Prawn omelette for breakfast at the Forest restaurant
There is also great all-day cafe dining on the Verandah. This is the perfect place to sit with a beer, cocktail or a simpler but still delicious snack or meal. Even with cafe service, it still feels like you are just sitting on your back verandah relaxing.
Relaxed dining on the Verandah at Cyrstalbrook Byron Bay
Just a note on the service. It is professional and unobtrusive. That is to say, that you can walk around the hotel freely without people always trying to serve you, as you get in some 5-star hotels but you can always get service at a moments notice.
In addition, while the service is professional, there is a level of that Byron Bay individuality about the staff. They provide the service to the standard expected of a hotel like this, but also doi in their own individual style.
Follow the path out the back and it is a short walk to Tallow Beach. This is a popular location for walking and you will encounter many friendly locals (and their dogs) every morning exercising on the beach. You will also see the occasional swimmer here but swimming is not encouraged.
Tallow Beach is a short walk from Crystalbrook Resort
The Byron Bay Golf Course is more or less just across the road, and they welcome non-members. There are some restaurants nearby too, with the golf course's Bowerbird restaurant possible the best in the area. Otherwise, you need to head into downtown Byron Bay. It is a 5-minute drive, though taxis and Ubers can provide patchy service on the weekends - but during the day, you might opt to ride one of the complimentary bicycles into town.
Going out to dine at Karkalla restaurant in downtown Byron Bay
The area has a lot to explore, from natural attractions through to many of the food and drink businesses that have been established in the area. There is plenty to discover during your stay and enough that you will want to come back and explore some more.
Crystalbrook is a place to genuinely relax in luxury. This is where the simple joy of being in a coastal rainforest area is teamed with great suites, food and service. Some people may spend days just in the hotel without wanting to leave, and others, it will be a stepping off point to enjoy the attractions of the region.
The author stayed as a guest of Crystalbrook Byron Bay