Shambhala Byron Bay
When we imagine the ultimate coastal holiday, it looks a little something like stepping from sand to outdoor shower to front patio to awaiting cocktail - in 60 seconds from start to finish. Sadly, the reality too often looks more like 3 beach bags, a sweat drenched sarong and circling for a parking spot with a broken air-conditioner. With this in mind, Shambhala is the dream. A small cluster of Balinese-style bungalows on Belongil, one of Byron Bay’s more stunning and less populated beaches, Shambhala lies exactly at the intersection of surf, sand, and total bliss.
Somewhere between a resort experience and a holiday rental, the boutique accommodation offers amenities like a small gym, sauna and outdoor spa, but leaves you to your own when it comes to room servicing and dining, which, when you consider Byron’s culinary options, is not such a terrible thing.
A four minute walk through a canopy of trees alongside the famous healing tea tree lake you’ll find a couple of typically Byron cafés with simple, fresh food and relaxed beachy vibe. Otherwise the walk to town is a romantic 20 minute stroll along Belongil beach, if you’re into that sort of thing.
I once heard that one day spent relaxing by the sea is akin to a week’s worth of detox in an urban environment. I’m not sure how true that is, but I do know that a week of falling asleep to the sound of waves and dousing a hangover in salt water every morning did feel a little like spray-n-wiping the soul. Needless to say, leaving my little home at Shambhala wasn’t the easiest day of my life. I’d grown used to being greeted by giant crystals and lilting windpipes as I entered my tropical dwelling. But it’s comforting just to know a place like Shambhala exists outside of the imagination – a coastal destination that lives up to the fantasy.