A New 70s-Inspired, Ranch-Style Hotel In The Byron Bay Hinterland

Stepping into this new accommodation feels like you’re stepping into a 70s-style ranch in California, or maybe the very chic film set of a Quentin Tarantino movie. The beauty is, it’s actually nestled into 55 acres on the Byron Bay hinterland.

Co-creators Jamie Blakey and Julia Ashwood purchased the estate from a local family, and along with a group of their enterprising friends, they’ve turned it into a nostalgic getaway featuring off-grid ‘barns’, private rooms, and a hillside pool.

Sun Ranch has been two years in the making and bookings have just opened today — in celebration of the first day of spring!

Christina Karras

Sun Ranch is a brand new boutique accomodation in Byron, NSW.

The accomodation spans 55 acres, surrounded by lush greenery and rolling hills.

It sleeps 34 people across the entire ranch.

The original fireplace inside The Rambler Long House’s communal living room is what ‘sparked’ the resulting interior design.

With a vibrant sunken lounge and sculptural chairs, it seats 30 guests around an incredible sculptural fireplace.

Rustic tones of terracotta and khaki combine with marble features in the expansive kitchen.

‘Most of our furnishings are vintage, sourced from all across the world,’ co-creator and creative director Jamie Blakey says.

One of the divine outdoor spaces.

A velvet ruby sofa plays into the dramatic red walls of the Whiskey Lounge.

‘The land took quite a lot of rejuvenation, we planted over 10,000 native plants and trees to bring back the flora and fauna,’ Jamie says.

‘The 25-metre hillside pool was constructed from the beautiful basalt rock sourced throughout the property.’

‘It’s visually beautiful as if it has simply risen from the earth, and the vista from the pool looking back over the property is magic.’

The build was also eco-friendly, working with sustainable building company to help build the six off-grid barns, in addition to investing in solar panels and rainwater tanks.

You can even ride horses around to explore the property.

Enjoy a drink with a view.

The barns each sleep four people, across two bedrooms.

‘The off-grid barns are gorgeous, both for couples and families they’re so nostalgic and smell of cedar and sage, each with their own fireplaces and vista through tall gums and across to the hillside pool,’ Julia says.

The spaces are all designed to encourage people to come together and unwind.

Timber interior details, recycled brick and incredible french linens make each barn a perfect retreat.

A look into the private suite, which has a full kitchen, bathroom with separate shower and bath, and fireplace.

Moody green tones come to life in the bathroom.

Custom robes read ‘the hotel of good times’ — a fitting slogan for the hotel!

Inside one of the pool-side rooms in the main house.

Relax on the day beds by the water.

‘[Sun Ranch] holds all the luxuries you could imagine, from the linen to the organic body wash, plus excellent wines, great food. However its laid back and approachable as well as completely private, just moments to Byron Bay, if you do want to drive down for a surf or a shop,’ Julia says.

Christina Karras
1st of September 2023
Landscaping + Pool

Coopers Shoot, NSW/Bundjalung Country

Jamie Blakey (founder of fashion brand One Teaspoon) and Julia Ashwood (travel writer behind blog, The Vista) had been dreaming of creating a unique hotel with their group of friends for a few years.

But it wasn’t until they came across a picturesque cattle farm in Coopers Shoot, New South Wales, that the vision for Sun Ranch ‘really came to life’.

‘When we purchased the property, it was an older style brick home. It was well loved and lived in by a large family who ran cattle on the surrounding 55 acres,’ Jamie says. And as fate would have it, the duo discovered when they went to inspect the sprawling block that it happened to belong to a family whose daughters Julia went to school with.

‘We took it as an omen, there was already a lot of love and good times had there,’ she added.

While they constructed six off-grid barns and the ‘Field House’ (an outdoor dining space with an Argentinean barbecue) from scratch, the fireplace of the original family home helped influenced Sun Ranch’s dreamy 70s aesthetic.

‘The thing we fell in love with, and in turn, inspired our whole design concept, was the large circular brick chimney and a slight hint of a sunken lounge,’ Julia explains. ‘We selected textures of recycled oak and terracotta to really lean into Californian ranch houses with Spanish influence.’

In the Rambler Long House, marble finishes bring a touch of ‘Hollywood Hills’ glamour, combined with vintage furnishings and handmade weavings or ceramics across the four guest rooms inside. There’s also a singular ‘private suite’ that’s described as the ‘ultimate urban cowboy den’ with a moody green theme, velvet lounges across the eclectic shared living spaces, and a sultry whiskey lounge.

Every corner of the joyful accomodation has been designed for friends and groups to come together for a good time. It sleeps 34 people, and there’s the option to book out the entire ranch.

‘The land took quite a lot of rejuvenation,’ Jamie says. ‘We planted over 10,000 native plants and trees to bring back the flora and fauna,’ noting a wallaby that visits the valley and a flock of pink galahs in the paddock.

It’s all very Byron — in the best way. Guests can soak in the ‘magic’ views from one of the two pools, unwind in the wood-fired cedar sauna, or even take a guided horse ride across the ranch to a creekside picnic on the property.

‘This part of the world is incredibly beautiful. Those who visit the Bundjalung region know the feeling. The oceans, the mountains, the fertile soil,’ Julia notes. ‘We feel the ranch harnesses the natural beauty of the surrounds and provides a personal playground for you to experience it.’

With an icy cold beer or salty margarita on arrival, what more could you ask for?

Book your stay at Sun Ranch here

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