When redoing the interiors of a much loved, classic boutique hotel such as Rae's on Wategos, there's a delicate balance. "Many of the Rae's clientele have incredible memories of the place so it was important not to change the overall feel too much," says the designer charged with task, Tamsin Johnson (in collaboration with Lucy Folk).
"With only seven rooms, I wanted them all to be very different, much like that of a private residence. I wanted to enhance the patina of the hotel while freshening the place up."
The 1960s building with distinctive white curved walls and old Hollywood glamour comprises a villa, two penthouses and four suites. It has been the repeat go-to for a devoted, often celebrity, clientele.
Established by Brisbane-born, now Paris-based Vincent Rae more than 20 years ago, the Byron Bay property hadn't been renovated since, despite a couple of changes of ownership.
"It was incredibly important to let the natural elements speak for themselves. After all, the land overlooks the most magical beach in Australia," says Johnson. "While every piece was hand selected, imported or custom made, they were meticulously considered to ensure they were as beautiful as they were functional, from the custom lighting to the ceramic Italian vases. The design and art books have been selected to encourage reading and reclining in a space that feels like home."
Soon to come: The Rae's Collection includes the private jet Air Rae's and 26.6-metre super yacht Sea Rae's, both up for charter. The restaurant will also be refurbished in August this year and an underground car park is slated for early 2018.
Rae's Restaurant and spa are open to non-guests.
Rae's at Wategos is owned by Antony Catalano, CEO of Fairfax Media's Domain Group.
This story originally appeared on Traveller