Byron Bay is a destination transformed, from a one-time hippie haven to a playground of digital creatives and Hollywood stars. A newly-revealed upcoming luxury apartment hotel – The Bonobo by Raes – will only cement that status when it opens its exquisite doors in 2024.
Designed by Richards & Spence, the Brisbane firm behind Fortitude Valley bolthole The Calile, the three-storey development at 116-118 Jonson Street will rise like a phoenix in the Byron Bay town centre, breathing life into the site of a long-neglected backpackers .
Originally set to open under the name The Barbotine, its new moniker is part of a collaboration with the Catalano family, owners of Raes at Wategos hotel. Set under the beam of Cape Byron Lighthouse, Raes has long been adored by the jetsetting elite.
Striking a similar chord to the adjacent Mercato shopping complex, The Bonobo will feature a somewhat brutalist design with extensive use of brick and concrete, housing 41 two, three and four-bedroom apartments within, softened by cascading greenery.
Each of the spacious self-contained apartments will range from 85-160sqm, flooded by natural light and featuring open plan kitchen, living and dining areas leading to a generous balcony. Large sliding doors will create a seamless flow.
Rooms will wrap around a richly landscaped central courtyard with lush planting and sun-drenched outdoor seats, bringing together a vibrant mix of retail, dining venues and public spaces on its ground levels and creating a social vibe for the hotel.
The Bonobo’s crowning jewel, however, will be a rooftop swimming pool and private terraces, tailor-made for people watching and soaking up the first rays of daily sunlight on Australia’s coast.
Recent years have seen Byron Bay develop an almost cult-like reputation as a playground for the rich and famous, with numerous hotels catering to well-heeled travellers, such as Crystalbrook Byron Bay and Elements of Byron. Yet, both are a long way from the town centre.
The Bonobo could become a name that joins the prestigious and exclusive list, with the added benefit of a central location.
Construction is under way with a completion target set for mid-2024.