Let your appreciation of good design guide you to Burleigh Heads for a very stylish stay.
There is a small coastal town in northern NSW that serves as the perfect archetype for the 1980s Field of Dreams quote: “If you build it, he will come.” No, Kevin Costner didn’t build a baseball diamond in the Tweed Coast town of Cabarita Beach, but some clever hoteliers rebuilt an old surf motel there, and yes, the people did, indeed, come.
Five years ago, Cabarita Beach wasn’t much of a destination. While the low-key town had previously attracted shoestring-holiday families, by no stretch of the imagination was it a signal fire for contemporary luxury, until the ultra-sleek, Anna Spiro-designed Halcyon House opened its superbly renovated doors.
As Australia’s doyenne of design, Spiro knows how to distil the essence of place into the space between walls and forge an aesthetic worth travelling for. The sheer association of her name with a restaurant or hotel catapults an establishment to the top of the proverbial hot list. And while her talent is evident, there’s more to it than just a deft arrangement of pretty things. Her style, although adaptable, somehow embodies a bright, luxe and jubilant Australian-ness we’re all onboard with.
Perhaps her popularity speaks to our maturing as connoisseurs of accommodation. In that, where budget allows, we’re willing to substitute quantity for quality. We’re more open to sprinkling the year with bite-size escapes, rather than hoarding our leave for one marathon trip. And this means we’re hunting out next-level lodgings – the type that will beautify our social media presence.
One such example can be found a 30-minute drive north from Cabarita Beach in Queensland’s Burleigh Heads. The suburb has been bestowed with a Spiro-enhanced accommodation option called Bon Sol, which delivers Capri vibes to a typical Gold Coast esplanade.
In a place like Burleigh Heads, which offers the saltwater attractions and beachside mellowness that many coastal escapes do, the quality of accommodation can be persuasive.
“People are on the hunt for more beautiful places to stay and often places like Bon Sol are the drawcard for visiting somewhere like Burleigh Heads,” says Spiro. “If it were the choice between Burleigh with Bon Sol and Noosa with nothing comparable, I believe many people would opt for Burleigh. There’s something special about staying at Bon Sol.”
Set in a brutish block of flats typical of the Gold Coast’s architectural vacuum of the 1960s–1970s, Bon Sol is an inconspicuous oasis. But inside, Spiro’s incomprehensible ease at blending diametrically opposed prints creates a mystifying serenity.
Few people can unite such elements and avoid a result akin to a ’90s bargain bin at Spotlight. Yet contrast has always been a friend to Spiro and she uses it elegantly to conjure a sort of casual opulence.
“I always strive to go against the tide and challenge myself to curate rooms that have an interesting mix of furniture, fabrics, art and accessories. Contradiction plays a very big role in the work I do,” says Spiro.
Although places like Bon Sol and Halcyon House are buffed with an air of affluence, Spiro’s genius exists in making these spaces approachable with a true anchor in their location. “At Bon Sol we layered many tones of blue and green to reflect the colours of the ocean. This creates a wonderful sense of place,” says Spiro.
Along the way, the designer has managed to hit on a style that is both inclusive and exceptional. It’s what she describes as “comfortable, different, exciting and inspiring” and is a succinct example of our willingness to let accommodation dictate destination. “I love a space that wraps you up and takes you on a journey,” she says.
The Burleigh hit list
Come for Bon Sol, stay for Burleigh’s burgeoning food and drink scene.
Hatted Labart is a sleek bistro in the heart of Burleigh serving exceptionally executed fare in a beautifully inviting setting. A level up.
This is absolute ocean-side dining that’s both polished and delicious. The views are spectacular, but it’s not the only show-stopper at Rick Shores.
Occupying a vast space above Rick Shores, the Burleigh Pavilion is bringing back the Gold Coast’s halcyon days; it’s chic, casual, and en pointe.
Proving Burleigh’s bar scene is on the up-and-up, Rosella’s is cool, clever and authentically Australian. Pop in for imaginative cocktails, natural wines and fun, on-theme bites.