I always say motherhood can be defined by two things that happen throughout the day: the joy and elation when your kids wake up - their messy bed hair and warm snuggles are seriously worth the 6am wake up - and the moment they’ve hit the pillow at night. Oh yes, there’s nothing better than tucking them in and knowing you now have a few hours of alone time up your sleeve… even if that includes washing dishes and falling asleep in front of the TV...
I follow a pretty strict routine with my kids (my husband likes to say I run a tight ship), but I find the flow of the household runs much more smoothly when we all know what to expect day to day. Thankfully, I have two kids that sleep really well as a result, but it has meant things have been pretty same-same for the last four years… which is where Halcyon House comes in to play. There wasn’t one momentous occasion that made me realise I was in serious need of a break – more the accumulation of little things that were weighing me down and making me increasingly irritable, stressed and overwhelmed. When Georgie, editor and founder of The Grace Tales, gave me an opportunity to hit up Halcyon House for a few baby-free days with my husband, I knew it was a not-so-subtle sign that I needed to get away for mind, body and soul. With help from both sets of grandparents and my sister’s family (it really does take a village), we arranged to escape the hustle and bustle of our daily routine and head to paradise sans kids… I’d seen a lot of hype all over Instagram about Halcyon House – from the heavenly Anna Spiro designed interiors to their innovative restaurant, Paper Daisy, but nothing could have prepared me for the sheer beauty of the place. Not only are the interiors a feast for your senses (seriously, I could have studied every vase, painting, napkin…), but the attention to detail was next-level. From the welcome drink on arrival (a purple iced-tea concoction) to the attentive staff and well-stocked (complimentary) mini-bar in our room, no thought was spared. This is exactly what a tired mum (hint, me) needed – to be the one pampered and looked after for a change. I knew for this mini-break I needed a true sense of rest – to focus on being calm and in the moment and experience a true rejuvenation of sorts. Luckily, the Halcyon Spa was just the ticket I was looking for. I booked in for a 60-minute Relax Massage and a Refresh Facial on day two of our trip, and I can honestly say the treatments had a profound effect on my mental and physical wellbeing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had spa treatments before, but I’m usually rushing to appointments with a thousand things on my mind, and rushing back home to relieve a babysitter, so the entire process is hardly stress-free. At Halcyon Spa, there was a sense that I had all the time in the world. The changing area pre-treatment was a large, white-washed room filled with all the amenities you could need (think slippers, hair straighteners, robes, etc.), and the waiting room was a mix of calming tea and unbearably beautiful furnishings surrounded by a library filled with all the latest magazines and books you’d ever want to flick through. This wasn’t an ordinary spa, it was a haven of beauty, rest and relaxation, and I only wish I went back one last time before our trip ended. Want the lowdown on what a trip to Halycon House is like? Here’s all you need to know:
Halcyon House is located on Cabarita Beach, northern New South Wales. We flew from Sydney to the Gold Coast and from there it was a short 25-minute drive door to door. Byron Bay, Bangalow, Murwillumbah, Brunswick Heads, Kingscliff and Newrybar are all about 40 minutes away so great options for a day trip. We didn’t feel the need to get away for our 3 day/2 night stay and made the most of our sensational room, the pool, and the fantastic coastal walk from Cabarita Beach to Norries Headland. My husband also surfed right out the front while I caught up on the 500 magazines and books I packed (did I mention there were no kids?).
The Grace Tales fashion director Marisa Remond
Paper Daisy is the amazing in-house restaurant, but you won’t find a regular hotel meal here. Ex-Noma chef Ben Devlin leads a kitchen that is both innovative and delicious, filled with local and unique produce that leaves a truly memorable culinary experience in both your heart and mind. We opted for the more casual bar menu for lunch, and you can even order room service for a private dining option in your room. Not surprisingly, you won’t find a continental breakfast here. Instead, you can choose from delicacies such as kefir pancakes, macadamia muesli and soft eggs with grains. A real treat.
Where to start? Brisbane-based interior designer Anna Spiro has left her colourful and vibrant mark on the entire hotel, from the heavenly bedrooms filled with lush furnishings and art to the dining room area, pool and beyond. Every detail has been considered for an end result that blends function with form effortlessly. Case in point? I had up to 3 showers per day because the bathrooms were so comfortable and the water flow was like a massage in itself. Indulgent? Yes, but the beauty of Halcyon House is that despite its grandeur, it’s also totally approachable, comfortable and welcoming in every sense of the word. Don’t be surprised if you want to redecorate your entire house after your first visit.
The spa is a fairly recent addition to the hotel and one which compliments the beautiful surroundings brilliantly. The spa sanctuary offers a perfectly curated boutique of fashion items – think Sarah J Curtis linen dresses and hats, Solid & Striped swimwear and bassike tees and dresses – while you can also purchase the heavenly Sodashi skincare (100% natural) products they use for their treatments. The spa itself boasts a menu of relaxing and restorative treatments that cater to all guests, including pregnant mums-to-be.
I loved the boutique feeling of the location and rooms. The hotel is big enough to not feel suffocating yet small enough to also feel homely. The staff are seriously attentive and are happy to arrange one of their in-house bikes for a walk, a surfboard to catch a wave or even fun games like bocce or croquet to play on the surrounding lawn. The dining areas always had a happy and relaxed atmosphere, and the pool is the perfect size for a quick dip and fresh juice or cocktail in the sun. During our stay, there were many couples on their baby-moon, couples on a romantic getaway and even some new parents with small babies. The mix of guests made everyone feel comfortable and welcome at all times, and I secretly loved how everyone made an effort with their wardrobe. Beautiful resort-wear for day mixed with smart-casual attire in the evening made for a very well-dressed holiday.