A New 70s-Inspired, Ranch-Style Hotel In The Byron Bay Hinterland
Jamie Blakey (founder of fashion brand One Teaspoon) and Julie Ashwood (travel writer behind blog, The Vista) had been dreaming of creating a unique hotel with their group of friends for a few years.
But it wasn’t until they came across a picturesque cattle farm in Coopers Shoot, New South Wales, that the vision for Sun Ranch ‘really came to life’.
‘When we purchased the property, it was an older style brick home. It was well loved and lived in by a large family who ran cattle on the surrounding 55 acres,’ Jamie says. And as fate would have it, the duo discovered when they went to inspect the sprawling block that it happened to belong to a family whose daughters Julie went to school with.
‘We took it as an omen, there was already a lot of love and good times had there,’ she added.
While they constructed six off-grid barns and the ‘Field House’ (an outdoor dining space with an Argentinean barbecue) from scratch, the fireplace of the original family home helped influenced Sun Ranch’s dreamy 70s aesthetic.
‘The thing we fell in love with, and in turn, inspired our whole design concept, was the large circular brick chimney and a slight hint of a sunken lounge,’ Julie explains. ‘We selected textures of recycled oak and terracotta to really lean into Californian ranch houses with Spanish influence.’
In the Rambler Long House, marble finishes bring a touch of ‘Hollywood Hills’ glamour, combined with vintage furnishings and handmade weavings or ceramics across the four guest rooms inside. There’s also a singular ‘private suite’ that’s described as the ‘ultimate urban cowboy den’ with a moody green theme, velvet lounges across the eclectic shared living spaces, and a sultry whiskey lounge.
Every corner of the joyful accomodation has been designed for friends and groups to come together for a good time. It sleeps 34 people, and there’s the option to book out the entire ranch.
‘The land took quite a lot of rejuvenation,’ Jamie says. ‘We planted over 10,000 native plants and trees to bring back the flora and fauna,’ noting a wallaby that visits the valley and a flock of pink galahs in the paddock.
It’s all very Byron — in the best way. Guests can soak in the ‘magic’ views from one of the two pools, unwind in the wood-fired cedar sauna, or even take a guided horse ride across the ranch to a creekside picnic on the property.
‘This part of the world is incredibly beautiful. Those who visit the Bundjalung region know the feeling. The oceans, the mountains, the fertile soil,’ Julie notes. ‘We feel the ranch harnesses the natural beauty of the surrounds and provides a personal playground for you to experience it.’
With an icy cold beer or salty margarita on arrival, what more could you ask for?