Hotel Marvell, Byron Bay hotel review

Hotel Marvell is Byron Bay’s newest and only five-star hotel. Debuting in August 2023, the boutique property is refreshingly unique – a delightful package of cutting-edge sustainable design and high-end luxury served up with both professionalism and the relaxed hippie hospitality Byron does so well. There’s nothing like it in Byron Bay: with 24 rooms including six suites, it offers the coastal hotspot’s only rooftop pool and bar above, and below, an exquisite Asian-fusion restaurant bonito and classy bar.

Traveller: Bronwen Gora
Room: Standard room
Address: 4 Marvell Street Byron Bay
Date: August 2023
Price range $650 for a standard room to $1200 for a two-bedroom suite
Best for Couples, honeymooners, young professionals, solo guests… essentially discerning travellers who love top-notch comforts and first-class service couched in modern settings.

Hotel Marvell Byron Bay’s Location

Absolutely ideal: Hotel Marvell is in a quiet spot on Marvell Street only a few blocks from Byron’s glorious beaches. Turning left from the front entrance it is a short stroll to the major thoroughfare of Jonson Street and shopping precinct, restaurants, bars and pubs.

The room

A second-floor standard room with king-size bed, divine linens and pillows, and large window framing the balcony overlooking Byron and the hills beyond. All 24 rooms and suites have generous balconies. The luxe tiled bathroom offers an upscale rain shower with handheld, if you want to see the view, the mirrored panels above the sink slide open to the room. There’s bespoke cabinetry and fittings throughout, a well-stocked bar fridge and push-panel nook with wine and tempting tipples from Byron Bay Spirits Co. The bedside wall is made of sustainable freeform polished concrete, and punctuated with an abstract sculpture-style light. Above the bedside table is the latest in touch-screen panels controlling the lights, dimmers, and window blinds. A lot of poking ensues – it’s tricky. The dimmers defeat me, but I just manage to turn off the lights come bedtime.

Standard room at Hotel Marvell, Byron Bay
Standard room at Hotel Marvell, Byron Bay

Claim to fame

Eye-popping architecture by Byron Bay-based Harley Graham showcasing the latest in sustainable design, all cloaked in calming, earthy colours. Guests experience this right at the start when they enter the hotel via the pedestrian ‘Marvell Laneway’ – a triple-height atrium evoking the jungle. Vines cascade from above and tropical plants abound. The serene space also doubles as the restaurant’s garden terrace and leads through to the foyer, bar, and lifts to rooms and rooftop.

The showstopper

Definitely the elegant rooftop bar and Slim Aarons-esque pool area. This is destined to become the place to be seen in Byron especially at sunset. You can perch at a high table or ensconced on a couch, sipping a signature Hotel Marvell cocktail made with local Winding Road Distillery gin, and snacking on hibachi grilled snacks as flickering LED lanterns lend atmosphere. Adjacent to the bar and up a few stairs is another terrace area with stunning lap pool and covered sun lounges.

Relax at the rooftop pool at Hotel Marvell, Byron Bay
Relax at the rooftop pool at Hotel Marvell

The family factor

While kids are welcome for sure, Hotel Marvell – especially the rooftop pool and upscale restaurant for that matter – are better suited to couples and holidaymakers after a tropical beachside escape that is equal doses of subtlety and sophistication.

Beyond the rooms

Retreat to the Hotel Marvell’s ground floor for exquisite food at the restaurant bonito, a quiet drink at the stylish bar or some downtime with a book curled up in a comfy chair or on the bench beside the internal garden. Bonito offers up sensational food thanks to being overseen by ex-Spicer’s Retreat chef Minh Le. The restaurant serves continental and full breakfast as well. The sunny tranquil tables at the front become the most popular place to start the day for both guests and the public alike.

Cocktails are on the menu at bonito
Cocktails are on the menu at bonito

Within a short walk you can find…

…virtually all the major hotspots thanks to Hotel Marvell’s central Byron Bay location. A few doors down is Bayleaf, one of Byron Bay’s most famous cafes where Hollywood A-listers like Chris Hemsworth and wife Elsy Pataky have been spotted. Also close is The Byron Theatre, its live plays and shows are popular.

An absolute must is a post-dinner stroll to The Northern Hotel (which also happens to be owned by Hotel Marvell’s creators) on Jonson Street for a memorable night at Dueling Pianos. Terrific fun, it sees two pianists on grand pianos directly opposite each other, playing reveller’s requests for hours while the crowd sings along. Performances take place Wednesday to Saturday, and then nightly from December 1. Feeling energetic? Put an hour or two aside for the walk to Cape Byron Lighthouse. The official walking track tagged the lighthouse loop takes about an hour and wends around Cape Byron to Wategos Beach, lookouts, and rainforest.

I wish I could take home…

The stunning eco-crystal Tomkin decanter with stackable tumblers and cocktail mixing glass that sits atop the minibar. When I arrive it’s already filled with a welcome drink. It adds a classic touch of yesteryear amid the very 21st-century wood and concrete décor described by designers as “tropical brutalism aesthetic”. I make a mental note to ask after the brand the second I see it – then enjoy the cocktail of Byron Bay Spirits Co. limoncello garnished with dried thyme lime while watching the sunset from my balcony. 

Dish to dine for:

Bonito’s chef Minh Le’s menu is a thoughtfully constructed array of exquisite recipes borne directly from his upbringing as a Vietnamese refugee in Sydney’s west. He learned his craft from childhood while working in a friend’s Vietnamese restaurant. Every one of his dishes exemplifies his passion and skill. I loved the starter of Hiramasa raw kingfish, Thai pesto, kaffir lime, orange, and coconut.

Amenity game

Sustainability-plus is on display here. In the bathroom, full-size (not take-home size) bottles of Leif botanical made-in-Australia lotions, soap and shampoo; on the mini-bar, lovely handmade coffee cups and saucers by local master potter Brooke Clunie; disposable coffee pods from local plantation Zentveld’s Australian Coffee; a selection of teas from Byron Bay Tea; Byron Bay Spirits Co. cocktails in a can in fridge, and mixers in the cupboard. Bemboka & Eadie bedding.

Before booking Hotel Marvell Byron Bay…

Check Byron Bay’s event calendar! Hotel Marvell is already sold out for this coming Christmas and New Year’s Eve, but accommodation in town can sell out several times a year for annual fixtures events such as The Blues Festival and Splendor In The Grass. And of course, school holidays are always jam-packed.

Hotel Marvell
Hotel Marvell 

Insiders’ tips

Subscribe to the newly introduced Hotel Marvell newsletter to receive exclusive access to promotions and regular specials.

Staying in

Watch a movie on the smart TV, and order luxury snacks like Ballina prawn rolls from the rooftop bar’s menu to your room between 8am and 9pm. Take a dip in the rooftop pool and catch a few rays on a sun lounge. There’s also free Wi-Fi.

Things to do in Byron Bay

Hotel Marvell’s helpful staff have all lived here for some time and so are particularly knowledgeable. They can arrange any activity you wish. Surfing lessons have been proving popular since opening, as have the stage shows at the nearby Byron Theatre. It is well worth taking a trip out to some of Hotel Marvell’s environmentally conscious suppliers too, and you can even hire a chauffeur-driven electric-converted retro van from Byron Bay Kombis to take you. Potter Brooke Clunie for instance, who supplies the hotel with her handmade cups and saucers offers pottery-making sessions at her hinterland Red Door Studio in the hinterland village of Fernleigh studio where you get to keep your handiwork. Zentveld also runs tours of its ground-breaking sustainable coffee plantation at Newrybar, another charming village that is also home to the renowned Harvest restaurant and adjoining café.

If only…

…the concrete wall behind the bed was painted a warm tone. Ok, we get that it’s the latest in interior design, but it felt a little too stark despite the rest of the room’s warmly hued fittings and furnishings.

V&T expert rating

8.5 of 10

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