Just minutes from Byron Bay, this new luxury private retreat is the perfect setting for an easy group escape. 

Pulling off Hinterland Way onto Plantation Drive en route to Villa Riad in Ewingsdale, 10 minutes from downtown Byron Bay, offers a taste of what’s to come. It feels exclusive and secluded, with large properties set back from the road, half-hidden among tangled vines, palms and knotty figs.

Upon entry to the sprawling whitewashed property, via an impressively large decorative timber door, the effect is immediate calm. Inspired by a traditional Moroccan riad, the property is enclosed and lush, with subtropical gardens and trickling water features. There’s a series of suites within the main Gallery House plus three larger private garden villas, all loosely arranged around a fountain-fed magnesium pool (with accompanying traditional sauna).

The colour palette is white and natural timber alongside moody black and charcoal – Morocco by way of Bali and India. A wander around Villa 2 is an exciting journey of discovery. Is that bathroom basin a slab of hollowed-out petrified wood? Can I sit on that swing? What is that heavenly scent? And there are plenty of places to recline, artfully nibbling grapes or sipping wine – in your outdoor stone bath beneath a sparkling night sky, for instance, or on a sunlounger by the pool.

Villa Riad, NSW

Accommodating up to 22 guests, the property is booked as a whole so it’s made for intimate events or escapes – a small wedding, a healing retreat or a family reunion would make excellent use of this serene hideaway.

Owner Elsa Comiskey envisions a place where your cares are deposited outside the distinctive front door. She plans to work with guests to create a personalised experience for each group, drawing upon contacts acquired during her 20 years in the area. Choose from healers, beauty therapists, yoga instructors and chefs, such as Simon Favorito – founder of the Conscious Cooking Academy – who’ll create wonders in your villa’s sleek kitchen while you graze on warm olives and sourdough. And he’ll top up your glass while he’s at it.

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SEE ALSO: 48 Epic Hours in Byron Bay


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