‘Don’t tell my mates’: Two blokes take on Byron’s famous wellness retreat

Byron at Byron is the wellness escape every man needs, writes Andrew Mevissen.

When it comes to wellness breaks, the vast majority of hotel clientele are women. Often they attend with groups of friends.

Rather than indulging in a five-star pamper, men and their mates tend to opt for liquid indulgence. Instead of resolving their problems, it’s a way to drown tensions and problems without having to face them.

But with a rising concern for men’s mental health, there’s a mounting importance for men to get away. To talk, relax, reset and refresh.

With that in mind, my good mate Glenn and I decided to try a type of wellness escape ourselves. Just as two married, middle-aged, straight blokes.

When it comes to balance, restoration and relaxation, it’s hard to go past Byron Bay. There’s an undeniable eclectic enclave of bohemian culture. Open-minded beach vibes, an unbuttoned escapism and a dash of celebrity only work to boost this.

In fact, Byron has become such a popular escape from reality that it seems more a state of mind than a destination.

Byron at Byron Bay
Byron Bay

Being constantly tied to work means we are two busy, stressed men. Once domestic routines, family duties and typical midlife baggage are added, our decision was made. Some harmonious Byron therapy would help us unwind, recharge and refocus.

We simply wanted to chill and refresh instead of getting drunk, which is the aim of many boys’ trips. A dedicated wellness hub was a little too hard-core for us, so we opted for a more mainstream resort.

Introducing Byron at Byron.

resorts Australia
Byron at Byron. Credit Byron at Byron.

This five-star rainforest and coastal sanctuary is quintessentially Byron Bay. It celebrates the place and all it stands for, which a quick glance at the title reiterates.

The journey there

If Byron offers a journey into mindfulness and calmness, then the road trip there is one of lightness and joy. There are the simple joys, such as the open road ahead and the wind in your hair.

Then there’s the excitement of leaving your cares behind. Knowing adventure awaits. The uninterrupted camaraderie as you sing along to your favourite tunes with a mate.

Byron at Byron
Andrew and Glen with their Avis ‘chariot’. Credit: Andrew Mevissen

You share life stories, tell jokes, discuss your challenges and solve the world’s problems.

It’s time. Space. Freedom. Qualities guys often do not get enough of.

Nothing beats a road trip to enjoy them.

From Sydney, we’d picked up the keys from Avis for a chic Nissan X-Trail and pointed our spacious chariot north. Tunes lined up, we were on our way.

At our journey’s end, the sight of Byron at Byron’s dreamy, sapphire-blue resort pool beckoned.

The resort itself

“Everything feels better when you’re in the water.”

I’d just surfaced from a dive. The relaxation had begun, aided by a zesty margarita next to the infinity pool.

If you can’t beat the girl’s getaway, join them.

Byron at Byron, a multi award-winning Crystalbrook Collection Resort excels in barefoot luxury. The laid-back vibe that Byron is renowned for is captured perfectly by the resort. It’s an oasis, immersed in natural beauty.

resorts Australia
Byron at Byron

Not the usual type of accommodation two gym mates would normally pick for a quick, three-night escape. But we wanted to test the waters. To break the mould. To experience a real holiday.

One that didn’t require another holiday afterwards, dedicated to recovery.

The serenity is palpable when you enter the open-air atrium, which flows seamlessly into the poolside lounge. Nearby is the open-sided restaurant, appropriately called Forest, flanked by tropical palms.

A gentle sea breeze wafted through. The rolling murmur of the nearby ocean could just be heard over ‘Easy Like a Sunday Morning’, which was emanating from the pool bar. Every day is Sunday at Byron at Byron Bay.

It didn’t take us long to relax into resort mode. Instead of downing ales as mates tend to do, we sipped on cocktails and ciders by the pool. We also consumed hearty club sandwiches.

We dozed in deckchairs, swam, talked and laughed. Byron’s magic was working already and we hadn’t even checked into our rooms.

Nestled right in the jungle was our luxurious, twin-bed suite, which could only be accessed by walkways snaking through lush foliage. An impressive feature was the rainforest shower.

Everything here is environmentally friendly, sustainable, up-cycled, recycled, locally sourced and responsible – as it ought to be.

The resort restaurant in particular is passionately local, focusing on sustainability and organic produce.

Byron at Byron
Food at Byron at Byron

Think poached king prawns with avocado, green apple and coriander. A kangaroo tartar with lemon myrtle mayo. For dessert, there was local honeycomb, honey maple macadamia and lemon curd ice cream.

Organic and bio-dynamic wines complemented each meal.

The Byron at Byron influence

The next morning we joined a group on the resort’s peaceful deck for an hour of complimentary guided yoga. We followed this up with a swim and a nourishing breakfast overlooking the pool.

Don’t tell my other mates but, just for something fun and different, we also signed up for a one-hour Soul Man treatment at Byron’s spa centre.

Byron Bay resorts
Yoga at Byron and Byron.

Our backs and faces were cleansed, scrubbed and massaged. For me, this was a rare experience and I was so relaxed I fell asleep in the middle of it.

Time had slowed down. We’d swapped out mad commutes, endless emails, domestic chores and family responsibilities.

Instead we played tennis and trained in the gym. Other days we walked to the beach for a swim and a snooze or took the 10 minute drive into town.

One of the best breakfasts we ever experienced was at The Pass Café.

Everything was unstructured, relaxed and chilled. We were chilled.

This made it easier to talk openly to each other. We spoke about what was happening in our lives and how we could take what we’d learnt in Bryon home.

resort Australia Byron Bay
Andrew and Glen.

We all need a break. We all need friends, not just drinking buddies.

Byron and its eponymous resort proved fertile ground for us to become more centred, balanced and connected.

Our man-escape experiment proved fruitful. We’ll repeat it when we need to. Boys trips in the future may well look a little different.

Byron at Byron Resort: crystalbrookcollection.com
Avis – www.avis.com.au

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