Inspiration

California Vibes Shine Across Sun Ranch in Byron Bay, Australia

Squint a bit and the golden coastline of Australia’s Byron Bay hinterland does more than a convincing job conjuring a similar relaxed mountain-meets-ocean luminescence that has tempted countless free spirits up and down California’s Central Coast over the years. That persisting California 1970s vibe is embraced and magnified in every corner of the Sun Ranch hotel, a textural nostalgic ode to sun-soaked good times that recently opened its doors to present an immersive ranch experience.

Terracotta tile, recycled timber vintage furnishings, and richly vibrant velvet throughout the property impart a convincing patina of time.

The newly opened hotel is the passion project of interior designer Julia Ashwood, former fashion designer Jamie Blakey, and their small creative cadre of designers and artists. Imagined as a getaway inspired by the architecture and lifestyle of 1970s Californian ranch houses spiced up with some glamorous modern touches, the once cattle farm is now welcoming guests for a wide array of California-inspired activities ranging from horseback sunset rides, al fresco dining, spiritual workshops, meditation sessions, yoga classes, and of course, astrological readings.

Large length of vintage sofa seating in a the Sun Ranch lobby room with warm yellow hued walls, vaulted ceilings, a small blue ottoman and wooden side chair. A wood dining table can be seen in the foreground alongside a beaded spiral chandelier, with a green tree linked landscape and lawn in the background visible through large patio windows.

The Sun Ranch may be an Australian destination, but the decor is a blend of warmly hued ‘70s California Ranch nostalgia embellished with Spanish influences.

Blurred head of a horse in the foreground passing by the Sun Ranch's lounge fireplace.

Situated upon a 55 acre property in the heart of the Byron Bay hinterland, Sun Ranch is imagined to provide a level of luxury shielded by privacy for groups as large as 34 guests. There is even the option to rent out the entire property for those desiring the ultimate home away from home vacation with friends and family.

Overhead map landscape view of the Sun Ranch property showing location of each of the hotel's features.

Individual rooms for two, a luxury suite, and six rustic decor barns offer more typical accommodation options for those staying the minimum two nights. Guests seeking solitude can book one of the adults only Rambler Rooms, four private guest rooms – The Wam Bam, The Rattler, Getting’ Lucky, and Saddle Up – each with a sensually appointed bed, tiled bathroom, outdoor shower, mini bar, vintage sound system, and access to the private Rambler Long House Pool.

Dark red/magenta bedroom with small beside pendant lamp hanging in the left side corner near king side bed with stacked pillows and olive duvet, with drapery covered windows looking out to a pool.

View of private access from Sun Ranch guest rooms out to large pool, each with their own pair of lounges and outdoor shower, divided by walls and sections of drapery extending out to the pool.

Blue wall bedroom with natural paper and twine hanging pendant lamp to the left of a bed with scalloped headboard and small side table with potted plant to the right.

Two side by side photos showing the rich shade of magenta covering the walls of the Sun Ranch bathroom, alongside details like rounded mirrors, vintage furniture, and robes set near the bathroom sink.

Guests may be staying at a “ranch” in name, yet Sun Ranch’s 82-foot basalt rock framed hillside pool – with its grandiose view of the rolling hinterland landscape below – is probably more indicative of the relaxed and luxurious nature of a stay at the boutique destination.

A sunlight illuminated concrete wall with shadowed sections and small square opening with blue skies seen in the background.

Designed by landscape architects Land Company, the pool mirrors the surrounding landscape with rippled clarity and reflects sunlight across the tiered monolithic length running the span of the Pool Club.

Five palm umbrellas run alongside a 82 foot pool reflecting a nearby tree during sunset.

Surrounding shaded seats and nearby deck chairs tempt sunrise to sunset lounging.

The Sun Ranch basalt rock framed pool on the right, with beach blankets draped across a tiered seating area on the left with an expanse of grassland and trees in the background.

The self-proclaimed “the hotel of good times” is even visited regular by its own resident wallaby, an unofficial ambassador/spirit animal undoubtedly enticed by the property’s 10,000 trees and native plants, all reintroduced to help regenerate the landscape into a site where flora and fauna feel as welcome as those fortunate enough to reserve a stay at the Sun Ranch.

What: Sun Ranch
Where: 17 Byron Creek Rd, Coopers Shoot NSW 2479, Australia
How much: Starting from $543/night with 2 night minimum
Highlights: The Sun Ranch’s 82-foot hillside luxury basalt pool gives a relaxing view of the landscape from the comforts of bleacher style daybeds, with meal and drink service available at the Pool Club.
Design draw: The mix of new, vintage, and reclaimed furnishings impart a timeless design quality that belies the Sun Ranch’s relative new status, a mood exemplified by the hotel’s vibrant sunken lounge focusing around a sculptural fireplace located within The Rambler Long House.
Book it: Sun Ranch

Go virtually on vacation with more design destinations right here.

Gregory Han is a Senior Editor at Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at gregoryhan.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *