Clever pursuits breathe life into village
THE buzz around the small coastal town of Cabarita is infectious.
No longer are the pristine beaches a secret haven for Tweed locals or the lucky few who’ve stumbled across it on their travels: Cabarita has arrived and it’s making waves.
From the front cover of this month’s Qantas Inflight magazine, to the pages of such prestigious publications as Vogue Living and Conde Nast Traveler, Cabarita is the new go-to destination thanks in no small part to the opening of Halcyon House, Australia’s newest boutique hotel.
Opened five months ago after a remarkable renovation of its daggy, 1960s-era predecessor, Halcyon House is breathing new life into Caba.
Elisha Bickle, who along with her sister Siobhan, purchased the former Hideaway Motel in 2011, said they were pleased with how well the first few months of operations had gone.
“We are so pleased the hotel and restaurant have been so well received and particularly that the locals have embraced the restaurant,” Elisha said.
“Our vision for the future is just to continue to showcase the beautiful region and all it stands for. We hope Halcyon House continues to drive tourism in this area. Already, we have had many international guests and our aim for next year is to bring more international guests to the region.
“We are not just about showcasing Halcyon House, we are all about showcasing the area as a whole. We hope to continue to expose the Northern Rivers and give that unique, quintessential Australian experience to our guests.”
Partnering with Destination NSW and Destination Tweed, the sisters are particularly keen to build strong relationships with local businesses in the region.
“The Tweed Coast is a beautiful coastline and has much inland beauty,” Siobhan said.
“There are so many amazing and creative people doing great things and we love to explore the area to see all the wonderful things people are doing. Our goal is to work and collaborate with this talent as much as we can.”
The concept for the new-look, five-star hotel is decidedly elegant, or as described in the August edition of Vogue Living, a place exuding “relaxed confidence in the sophistication of simplicity and a deep commitment to nostalgia”.
Gone are the run-down, tired rooms of the old Hideaway Hotel; in its place is a chic space compared by Vogue to the agenda-setting hotels of Palm Springs, London and Capri.
Not only are visitors encouraged to revel in the luxurious beauty of the hotel but they’re invited to down tools, put their feet up and bask in the long, lazy days of summer on Cabarita’s idyllic beach front.
Guests can treat themselves to full spa sessions or, for the more active, give surfing lessons a go with no less than former world surfing champion, Joel Parkinson.
“Joel is such a great ambassador for the hotel and the area,” Siobhan said.
“He loves the area and is a great guy so an experience with him is incredible.”
Locals are getting in on the buzz too. While some might lament the days of quieter surf breaks and fewer cars clogging up the roads, there’s no question Halcyon House has breathed life into the village.
New cafes and coffee shops dot the promenade, doing a brisk trade on sunny weekends, while an array of new boutique stores have added appeal to the recently renovated street-scape.
Halcyon’s acclaimed restaurant Paper Daisy – already listed in The Australian newspaper’s Top 50 restaurants of the year – is drawing a loyal local following, with the eye for detail of chef Ben Devlin – think home-made macadamia butter and his own roof-top bee hive – impressing all.
“Tweed residents have been very supportive of the restaurant,” Siobhan said. “Ben Devlin is doing an incredible job and Paper Daisy is being acknowledged locally, nationally and internationally. So we are really excited and proud of that.”
Locals are encouraged to come in and sample the wears, with the restaurant open to the public for lunch and dinner.