What do Keith Richards and k.d. lang have in common?
Along with Kate Winslett and Keanu Reeves, Keith and Katherine Dawn have escaped from Sydney concert gigs and movie launches to an exclusive retreat known for its exquisite surroundings – Rae’s, on Watego’s Beach at Byron Bay.
Rae’s is sheer luxury, sought by superstars for respite from the paparazzi and the public. You won’t read about their stay at Rae’s while they’re in-house: discretion is a byword. The powder-pink stucco mansion has only seven grand, individually-styled suites and prides itself on secrecy, offering a peaceful sojourn in a relaxing hidden haven.
But Australia’s most easterly holiday house, nestled just below the Byron Bay lighthouse, isn’t reserved solely for stars: for Mother’s Day, for a sweethearts’ weekend away, or just anyway, it’s the perfect hideaway for guests seeking an unforgettable break.
For me and my companion, the seclusion appealed. We arrived in the evening and dined on the open-air terrace over the ocean. Service was attentive but discreet, the supper the best we’ve had ever, and the atmosphere incredibly indulgent and romantic. I loved the white linen and fine crystal stemware counterpointed as it was with the casual al fresco seabreeze atmosphere.
Rae’s seduces guests into revelling in splendid isolation. Our suite was like a squillionarie’s Mediterranean-Moroccan beach house: glorious sitting room with all appointments, decadent sunken bath under a skylight, draped four-poster, exotic coffee and Champagne, smart private dining room, balconies open to the sea and the sound of the waves washing the shore. I defy anyone to want to leave this space.
Yet we did – but only to slide into the superb swimming pool and the sanctuary of the spa, both set in a lush tropical enclave. The intimate cave-like spa is entirely lined in shimmering gold mosaics and smells sublimely of soothing perfumed oils. Recently named one of the world’s finest, its atmosphere was designed by spa genius Marionne de Candia, commissioned by Vincent Rae to provide Australia’s most elite experience in spa treatments. Marionne insists on using rare imported Spanish unguents from the Germaine de Capuccini range of lotions and potions, especially tender on the skin.
This mansion by the sea begs you to stroll the nearby sands, linger in the fragrant garden, daydream on a sunbed, lunch on soft-shell crab and chardonnay, and generally spoil yourself for a moment away from the world.
Men who want to impress (or say “sorry”) should head for Rae’s. For weddings/honeymoons, it’s an incomparable entree to married life. Rates at Rae’s are so exclusive they’re provided only on application. But be assured, they’re worth it!
The good news is that you don’t have to be a house guest to enjoy the restaurant or visit the spa, by appointment. See www.raes.com.au or call (02) 66 855 366.