Byron Bay framed as it is by the Lighthouse atop the Cape headland, and the dramatic peak of Mount Warning far away to the North.
Even more so when you're drinking it in from the balcony of Byron's Beach Suites, a glass of bubbly in hand (drinking that in, too), watching whales frolic close to shore. Excuse me while I pinch myself.
The Beach Suites offers one of Byron's most inconspicuously luxe holiday experiences, effortlessly oozing style (Noguchi tables, anyone?), space and privacy a stone's throw from the sands of Byron's Main Beach.
It's not unreasonable to say that Byron Bay is a public place. It's very outdoorsy. Few people, I imagine, come here for total immersion in remote tranquility. The beach is always busy, the alfresco restaurants and bars constantly hum, and with plenty of comfy corner cafes to choose from, it's a great place to watch the parade of characters that make this place so colourful. Budget travellers mixing with the well-heeled, families, honeymooners, gorgeous sun-kissed things and the original free-spirits all circulating through a handful of blocks near the beach. It's open, welcoming, and, well, very public.
And yet, right in the middle of it at the Beach Suites, step back from the cleverly frosted balcony glass, flop onto the lounge in the living area, and it's just you and the ocean. Even when you lean on the balcony rail, chilled glass of bubbles in hand, there's nary a glance from the hoi-polloi below.
So much privacy in such a public place.
The minute we'd checked in, the kids charged straight for the remote control and sparked the enormous wall-mounted TV to life. It lit up with the image of a gleaming swimming pool. In a flash, they were off, running the length of the Penthouse looking for it, calling out an inventory of bedrooms (Three!), bathrooms (Four!), enthusiastically reporting there was a good-sized TV in every bedroom.
Their investigation eventually took them through a glass door that opened into a well of daylight, stone steps leading promisingly upwards. Turning our heads towards the tele, we watched the kids celebrate their discovery, test the temperature with their toes then, stripping down to their cozzies, leap in.
How good is this?, my wife commented. Kids upstairs swimming. Adults downstairs, relaxed and keeping an eye on them from the comfort of the lounge. Genius.
I had to agree, but I was thinking how handy it might be if you had absolutely nothing fizzy to drink as a result of emptying the contents of the poolside fridge. A quick signal to the beverage monitor downstairs and, presto, problem solved.
A long while later the kids dripped back downstairs. Pruny and plum-tuckered out, they headed for a far away bedroom with a Dr Suess DVD we'd picked up from Reception.
With the kids happily giggling away at the antics of that Cat in the Hat, my wife took the opportunity to nip upstairs for a relaxing dip in the afternoon sun. I turned to the TV and watched her walk to the edge of the pool, dip her toes in then, unexpectedly, remove her cozzie and dive in naked.
Here, in busy Byron Bay, just metres above Bay Street, she was gliding nude through the water. It was pretty gorgeous.
The kids' laughter drifted down the length of the Penthouse. It was one of those moments when everything seems just as it should be. Happy, swim-tired kids, and a naked wife taking advantage of some rare privacy.
The far away chuckling of little folk continued. And just as I was thinking to myself, Ah Suess, you've still got it, there came the rapid slaps of small feet speeding down the hallway and a hysterical chorus of something like Mum...nude...in the pool!
As they raced up the stairs, I turned back to the tele and watched her head snap quickly towards the source of the noise coming her way. I could actually see the penny drop as she closed her eyes and slowly sunk to below the surface taking a wry smile with her.
Seconds later the pool surface exploded as a pair of little monsters leapt in, shattering the moment forever.
Ah, the privacy.
Disclaimer & Trip Notes
> I stayed in a Beach Suites' Penthouse as a guest of the property. The Penthouses are out of this world, at the premium end of the price spectrum, and are blessed with every mod-con you can imagine.
> In addition to the uber-posh Penthouses, the Beach Suites also offers smaller, more affordable but equally stylish room types, namely Beachfront Studios (some with private plunge pools) and Garden Suites both of which have direct access to Bay Street and the beach.