Economic Extravagance

2 Mar
I feel miles away from the assortment of locals and tourists as I meander along lily-pad spotted bogs and rare ground orchids amongst the rainforest in Byron Bay.  I’m sheltered by fronds of the endangered Bungalowe Palms that pierce the sky leaving only small blue dots to peek through them.  The kitten-cry song of a Green Catbird performs in the distance as I continue down the softwood boardwalk, twisting and turning about the forest as it leads me astray. 

 Down one route, then another, until I come to a dead end with nothing but a bench facing the bushel of flora and fauna in front of me in which I can no longer continue.  I’m forced to sit and do….nothing.  A single white sign to the left of me on a wooden post not even two feet high from the ground, affirms in bold, black print, “Life can only take place in the present moment.  If we lose the present moment, we lose life – Buddha”.  Noticing it was three o’clock on my watch and realising it was time to officially check in, I head back to the lobby to re-join my friends, eager to learn what else the Byron at Byron Resort and Spa has to offer.  
Although it was meant to be “just a place to stay” we are actually at the ultimate eco-friendly relaxation getaway.  Inspired by nature, it is situated amongst a stunning 45 acre subtropical rainforest, occupying less than 10% of that, just five minutes south of Tallow Beach in the small surfer town of Byron Bay, Australia.  Although this north-east Australian locale receives tens of thousands of visitors each year, the Byron at Byron is an oasis on its own, tucked away and exclusive to those who are lucky enough to stumble upon it.    
“I reckon our typical guests are couples or singles who’re looking for something unique” discloses Beth, the thirty-something Australian at Reception.  “We believe that internal and external peace is the epitome of relaxation so we offer our guests complete serenity by allowing them to be at one with themselves and with nature.  Sometimes, we’ll even get a ring from the odd celebrity who’re keen on the idea as well.  Just last week we had Oprah’s special viewers from her Ultimate Australian Adventure stay with us”.  Exchanging bewildered glances, my friends and I are floored.  Here we are checking into a resort that was discovered and chosen by the likes of Oprah herself.  The credibility alone deserves a gold star.  The concept and what was soon to be revealed of this pristine, ample setting put us in awe.  AndweI hadn’t even made it to our rooms yet.
Separated by 89 species of birds, 188 species of plantation, several reptiles and amphibians and one Swamp Wallaby, the stylish, contemporary motif signifies its natural surroundings.  Timber wood, soft wood and river rock weave through the flooring, walls and furniture patterns complementing the soft white, beige and rose hues that make up the given color scheme.  Energy efficient light bulbs, natural synthetic fibres and recycled paper are obvious fundamentals in the Resorts economic stance.  And the open air concept provides a natural air conditioning so temperate it bears resemblance to a sunny Autumn afternoon. 
 A multipronged approach to environmental luxury is enabled by the Resorts array of tactics in which to be pampered.  Pining for peace of mind?   Find balance with complimentary outdoor yoga each morning or meditate at one of several allocated sites within the rainforest.  Revving for revival?  The Relaxation Spa offers a broad range of organic treatments, reflexology, acupuncture, or tarot card readings.   Fancy five-star flavours?  Accompany the Head Chef on a weekly Market Tour or indulge in local, premium meats and cheeses, seasonal fruits and freshly baked walnut and banana bread, daily.  The facility’s seamless blend of nature vs. nurture also boasts a lush, lawn tennis court, near-by golf course, gymnasium, sauna and infinity pool (heated in the Winter) where even the water appears to become one with the forest that rests afoot. 
The influence of nature goes beyond just décor and facility offerings, however.  The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa synchronises with their precious surrounds, continuously regenerating and maintaining the rainforest as they strive to be an eco-leader.
 “All aspects of the Resort from the design, development and day to day operation have been carefully sussed out and implemented by the Resorts Restoration Team” explains Beth.  “They constantly monitor and facilitate the plantation as they encourage them to become self-sustaining”.  Having been employed at the Resort for more than ten years, she has a transmitting passion for the skilful maintenance of the independent eco-systems that lay within.  We learn that less than 1km from where we’re standing houses a lagoon which opens its sandbar a few times a year allowing the water to drain into the ocean.  This gives the local Bungalowe Palms, Coastal Cypress Pines and Paperback trees a rest from floodwaters and a chance to rejuvenate, encouraging growth and enhancement of the habitats quality of life.
In conjunction with the ongoing Restoration Program, the Resort also supports local tourism-related organisations, educational institutions and partners with Rainforest Rescue.  Rainforest Rescue plants rainforest trees each year to effectively offset carbon dioxide emissions caused by travel and accommodations.  Every rainforest tree planted has the ability to eliminate one tonne of these carbon gases over its lifetime.  At the end of each stay, guests have the opportunity to participate in this initiative by sponsoring a tree for a minimal $25US.  I make a mental note to set aside the cash.
Ready to relinquish the Byron at Bryon and give in to all it has to offer, we re-unite with our luggage that waits patiently with a Resort staff in an electric buggy.  As he drives forth to our Deluxe Suit hidden amongst the trees, we know this will be an economic pleasantry we’ll never forget.

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