For anyone who knows Pra, you’ll know there is one place that grabs her heart a little more every time she visits. It’s a locale that leaves her gagging to throw off her heels, toss on a pair of rip-offs, pop a braid in her hair, and recapture her inner hippy child.
The place? No other than Byron Bay in New South Wales, Australia.
It’s been noted that Byron Bay is a spiritual area. The Arakwal Bumberlin are aboriginal people who have lived around the Byron Bay area for around 22,000 years (!) and it’s no surprise that you can feel a deep-rooted energy humming throughout this coastal land.
These days, Byron Bay is known for its laidback hippy vibes, with a colorful and diverse community that includes tour guides and masseurs, eclectic writers and poets, and Hare Krishnas (Krishna Village Eco-Yoga Community is about an hour’s drive away).
In the past few years, it’s also become very entrepreneurial, swarming with #rebelleboss ladies like sisters Elizabeth and Isabella of Spell & The Gypsy, Inosha Campion of Sahana, and talented photographer Kate Holmes. It’s a bubbling pot of talented kickass women, which is why I love Byron Bay even more now.
When the opportunity arose for me to be in the area a few months ago, the Caviar team went into full research mode and stumbled upon our shining star, 28 Degrees Guesthouse run by #rebelleboss owner Deb Garske, who was an absolute gem.
28 Degrees has the perfect location, putting you right in the heart of it all. Within a totter, you’re at one of the best breakfast spots in town – Bayleaf Cafe – and in under 5 minutes, you’ll be at the beach finding your inner zen.
The guesthouse is so discreet, you could very easily walk right past, but not before glancing in and envying the lucky person who gets to live there. That’s when you might finally notice the inconspicuous 28 Degrees sign.
What we love the most about boutique properties is the utter love and care put into building them. Deb, an interior designer, explained that she had the place blessed before building it and you can feel it the moment you enter into the stylish and serene haven. (For more on this process, what our Q&A with her below!)
You’ll hear the trickling of water to your right, maybe the rustle of the pet lizard moving around, and notice the bikes hanging to your left, ready for an afternoon of exploring. The wooden deck has a sign quietly declaring this barefoot luxury property a no-heels zone. There are yucca plants and statues of elephants and Buddhas and not a single corner has been neglected by Deb’s creative eye.
The central entrance area branches off to the four guest rooms – the two private rooms (Plunge Pool and Lighthouse) are separate with their own selection of amenities whilst the Master and the Classic rooms are part of the main house and have access to common areas like the gourmet kitchen and lap pool.
This guesthouse is seriously chic without making you feel uncomfortable. Think of a property in St. Barts…then plonk it down in Byron Bay. It would be a top choice for a romantic weekend, a solo traveller looking for some “me time”, or a girls weekend. I could even envision a small business renting out the entire property for a retreat. It’s an inspiring place where you could have amazing brainstorming sessions in the living room and then zone out on the deck or at the beach afterwards.
28 Degrees is definitely a “grown-ups” place, which makes sense why they have a 21+ policy in place. Young children with sticky fingers and a love for climbing over sofas with their sandy feet…? Sorry, not here!
And finally, screw traditional check-in desks! You’ll have Deb greeting you and chatting like a long lost friend. In fact, I’d like to think that she is exactly that – a friend.
She’ll help you with anything and is a local guru who knows the whos, whats, whys, and whens. You’ll also find an information book in your room overflowing with foodie destinations, night spots, things to do, and places to go, such as the lighthouse walk and hanging at the beautiful Wategos Beach by the Byron Bay Lighthouse. Her son Jack Entwistle, who handles the social media, is a world pro surfer so if you fancy the waves, well you won’t have far to go to get insider info!
Ever get that giddy feeling when you walk into a room? Now you know how I felt when I walked into my home for the next three nights.
I was in the Private Plunge Pool room, located on the ground floor with a private side entrance to the street. As its name suggests, it comes with its own plunge pool, as well as a lovely private garden. But it’s the interior and all of the thoughtful touches within the room that made me gasp with delight.
Everything has been handpicked by Deb and she has truly made 28 Degrees into a luxurious home away from home. The thoughtfully curated selection of books features ones you’d want to pop into your bag or order on Amazon afterwards. The room is brimming with local brands, including mother-daugher brand Tea Shop, nuts from 2Die4, Byron Moonshine Coffee, and granola from The Belle General in Ballina, a town just south of Byron.
The bedding is from Hale Mercantile Co. and I had to resist the strong urge to dive onto the soft bed and never leave. In the corner, a plush oversized armchair sat waiting for some late afternoon reading (or a nap). The terrace doors open up to your own little garden where you can have seat outside for some morning meditation or take a dip in the pool. There’s also an outdoor shower just around the corner but don’t go showering stark naked because it’s not completely cordoned off!
Over in the bathroom, it was a modern minimalist’s paradise with large stone tiles, a rainfall shower, thick charcoal-coloured towels, and Biology bath and body products meticulously laid out. When the bathroom has been just as thoughtfully designed as the rest of the rooms, you know you’ve found a gem of a place.
Deb has curated every room in such a way that you’ll want to order every single trinket, book, goodie, food, and decor product for yourself once you leave. In fact, I’ve been sourcing bedsheets ever since!
I’m usually one to head out almost as soon as I plonk my bags down but at 28 Degrees, I spent a big chunk of the first day just checking out everything in my room, making notes of the brand names, and just lapping up the cosy boutique atmosphere.
It’s no wonder that we (TCSR) connected so strongly with Deb. Just like our vision, 28 Degrees shows brands coming together. Deb makes a conscious effort to find and support small private brands over the big guys, all while showing people that every touch point in a property can also be a sales opportunity for both parties.
This isn’t a standard B&B-type of guesthouse where you get a prepared breakfast. Deb stocks you up with local granola, yoghurt, and compote, along with coffee and tea, for you to graze through, but you also couldn’t be in a better location if you love exploring foodie spots.
Byron Bay has a fab selection that will sate even the pickiest eater. You’re just a couple blocks away from the main strip lined with restaurants and cafes, including the aforementioned Bayleaf Cafe, as well as Chef Sean Connolly’s Balcony Bar & Oyster Co. which never disappoints. Balcony Bar is especially great for sunset cocktails – be sure to grab a terrace table!
The Mez Club is wildly popular and a must-go for the night scene (though a little too trendy for Byron in my eyes). For something more casual but equally fun, Beach Hotel’s beer garden is perfect for listening to all sorts of bands and partying the night away. Speaking of bands, I also have to give a special mention to Space Buoys who were putting on such a good performance at the beach one afternoon, I couldn’t leave!
My absolute fave thing to do in Byron is walking along the beach and coming up to Beach Byron Bay, a casual-chic restaurant set on the oceanfront. You can also book at Rae’s on Wategos for a special treat – their al fresco dining room also overlooks the beach.
If you fancy a night in and want to give your culinary skills a whirl (and you’re staying in the main house), then the kitchen at 28 Degrees is to die for. It will inspire you to whip up a gourmet meal, which you can then enjoy at a stunning dining table. This got the gears whirring in my head as I started to envision hiring out the entire house for a private supper club with a celebrity chef…this property has so many options!
At 28 Degrees, you’ll have access to the outdoor deck areas for some sunshine and your tranquil, well-designed room for downtime. The beach is also a few minutes away so you’re definitely not lacking in choice for relaxation and rejuvenation.
The laidback hippy vibes of this costal town are enough to calm even the most stressed of us but since you are in the hub of spirituality…maybe try something new! You can find anything from home massages to tarot readings to other healing arts (like Resonate Therapy), with plenty of options in between.
Byron is no place for getting fancy with body-hugging dresses or tottering around in heels. As 28 Degrees will remind you every time you head up their wooden steps, this is a place of barefoot luxury.
My bag was packed with a fab black one-piece from Jets Swimwear and a shirt from vintage-inspired RIXO, in addition to a pair of cut-offs, and flat sandals. I also knew there are some incredible brands right in Byron Bay so left a bit of room in my suitcase for inevitable shopping!
If you like minimalist clothing with sustainable and ethical values, take a look at Sahana by #rebelleboss designer Inosha Campion. Her clothes are all locally made using sustainable materials and the brand embraces the slow fashion movement. I also couldn’t help but buy a few things at Spell & The Gypsy – their modern bohemian style is the perfect fit for the area.
Street parking is available but be careful that you don’t go over the line as you will be fined!
The Private Plunge room is on the ground floor but the other three are upstairs and there aren’t any lifts.
Just a reminder that 28 Degrees is for guests 21 and over.
12 Marvell Street, Byron Bay, NSW, 2481, Australia
Disclaimer: The Caviar Spoon ReBelle was hosted by 28 Degrees but all opinions expressed are our own.