Byron Bay is a destination transformed, from one-time hippie haven to playground of digital creatives and Hollywood stars. A newly-revealed upcoming luxury apartment hotel – The Barbotine – will only cement that status when it opens its exquisite doors in late 2023.
Designed by Brisbane firm Richards & Spence, the vision behind five star Fortitude Valley bolthole The Calile, the three-storey development at 116-118 Jonson Street will rise like a phoenix in the Byron Bay town centre, breathing life into a former backpackers that has remained empty for some time.
Striking a similar chord to the adjacent Mercato shopping complex, The Barbotine will feature a somewhat brutalist design with extensive use of brick and concrete, housing 41 two, three and four-bedroom apartments within, softened by cascading greenery.
The word ‘barbotine’ is French for a mixture of clay and water used to decorate pottery.
Each of the spacious self-contained apartments will range from 85-160sqm, flooded by natural light and featuring open plan kitchen, living and dining areas leading to a generous balcony. Large sliding doors will create a seamless flow.
Rooms will wrap around a richly-landscaped central courtyard with lush planting and sun-drenched outdoor seats, bringing together a vibrant mix of retail, dining venues and public spaces on its ground levels and creating a social vibe for the hotel.
The Barbotine’s crowning jewel, however, will be a rooftop swimming pool and private terraces, tailor-made for people watching and soaking up the first rays of daily sunlight on Australia’s coast.
Recent years have seen Byron Bay develop an almost cult-like reputation as a playground for the rich and famous, with numerous hotels catering to well-heeled travellers, such as Crystalbrook Byron Bay and the intimate Rae’s on Wategos. Yet, both are a long way from the town centre.
The Barbotine could become a name that joins that prestigious and exclusive list, with the added benefit of a central location.
Michael Grassi, Director of hotel developer Podia, says The Barbotine will cater to those who seek the intimacy of an Airbnb, with the service and convenience of a boutique hotel.
And it will be a premium experience, with independent hoteliers Jeremy & Jones - a duo linked to the five star Elements of Byron Resort on the edge of town - managing the new hotel. The targeted star rating is yet to be revealed.
Construction is expected to commence mid-2022, with potential completion as early as late 2023.