Some take a vacation to get away from it all, others like to go away and see the sights but my favourite has always been to take a trip and immerse myself in the culture, the environment and more importantly the people that will ultimately create the lasting memory of the place where I had visited.
I've travelled the globe often but what I have learned to love are the weekends away to a place not so far away, just the perfect recipe to renew my body, mind and spirit. My favourite places and destinations have become the ones that are close to home and where you can easily unpack and get into the rythym of the place.
I recently took such a trip to a place known all over the world, a holiday spot that ten years ago when I was there seemed to be the spiritual home for those who did not want to be part of the world of consumerism but instead wanted to run away from it. We tend to believe as I did many years back that being spiritual cannot exist with the material.... It has taken me some time to blend the two worlds but what I found on my recent trip courtesy of Raes on Wategos was a merging of the very two worlds that some say cannot co-exist.
The world that I am referring is the one full of luxury, attention to detail, the most beautiful surroundings and the people who make the very place worthwhile. Some cannot fathom why one would spend $800 a night for a place to rest our weary souls and bodies at the end of a long day and think that any hotel will do. This weekend I found out the real difference, not that I didnt already know it but it was a truth that I had forgotten!!
I've often heard that places dont change but people do and after setting foot into Rae's I certainly realised that since my last visit to Byron I had definately changed!
The place to be seen in Byron Bay, Rae’s was voted by travel bible Cond Nast Traveller as one of the world’s top 25 hotels, and it’s the sanctuary of choice for celebrities such as The Rolling Stones, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise, Elle Macpherson, Keanu Reaves and Kate Hudson.
From its location on beautiful Wategos beach to its handpainted mosaic tiles and marble corridors filled with works by Australian artist David Bromley, every room of Rae’s screams “glamour”. We arrived on the Friday night our room, a beautifully decorated Balinese, Asian, European style Villa...incense burning, lit candles and aromatherapy oil filling the room with a special scent created by the resorts Spa Manager Marionne De Candia....I was in heaven and fitting since I was spending my Sabbath in such a divine place.
Raes is oppulent, european, eclectic with an LA Bungalow meets Morocco with each room having its very own distinct feel and decor. My partner and I were treated to a stay in Room No.6 - and that meant we slept in "Elle's bed" bathed in the same bath and brushed our teeth standing in front of the mirror where the famous "Body" stood....
Waking up on Saturday morning we headed to breakfast in the Alfresco dining room overlooking the ocean, sounds of the waves, green tea, fresh strawberries, croissants (not gluten free I'm afraid) and my man by my side....what can be better than that? Oh yeh Marionne, the darling of Raes spa, who has worked her magic on Elle Macpherson and Catherine Martin whisking us away for our treatments.
The spa is tucked away next to a tropical poolside, there's a steam room with an oppulent spa, interior with mosaic tiling and Balinese style teak doors. Marionne started with one of her famous lymphatic drainage facials combined with the healing energy of reiki...and if that wasnt enough a deep tissue aromatherapy massage to follow.....so if you're looking for a different kind of Byron experience, different meaning ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE you cant go past Raes!!!
We spent the rest of the day snoozing away in Elle's bed and later ventured to St Elmo's Bar.....cute as, quaint and very Melbourne...not surprising since it's run by two Melbournites. Paul and I sat by the heater and reminisced about Melbourne a place where we both grew up and a place that we both left behind many years ago.. With a few red wines, and Chai Latte (yep thats me) it was truly the perfect weekend and we both realised that living what I call the privileged life is definately one that we should all aspire to.... its far from superficial and starting at $800 a night for a stay at Raes, that I was definately happier and much more spiritual....who said money doesn't buy happiness :-))
Byron has definately grown up and I guess so had I. Who would have thought that a weekend away would be filled with such synchronicity, not only did I experience the most amazing spa treatment but what was even more special was the instant connection and friendship with Marionne which grew out of one weekend. I realised this weekend that the friendships we make on our travels and not necessarily the things we see are what make a difference. I'm definately sounding a little older and a little wiser....places dont change but people do, could also be the company and my wonderful man and the magical energy of Raes....