To say Sun Ranch is a unique and nostalgic getaway, is an understatement. Newly opened in spring 2023, it’s an ambitious, incredibly designed and styled new accommodation in Byron Bay.
Located on 55 acres of Byron Bay’s hinterland, it’s a picturesque escape that feels like stepping back in time to a 70s-style Californian ranch. Co-creators Jamie Blakey (founder of fashion brand One Teaspoon) and Julia Ashwood (travel writer behind blog, The Vista) purchased the estate from a local family, and along with a group of talented friends, they’ve transformed it into a joyful and nostalgic accommodation featuring off-grid ‘barns’, private rooms, and a hillside pool.
Jamie and Julia are lifelong friends and the idea for Sun Ranch has been brewing for quite some time. They had both long dreamt of creating a unique hotel, but it wasn’t until they stumbled upon a sprawling, stunning cattle farm in Coopers Shoot, New South Wales, that the vision for Sun Ranch truly began to take flight.
When they purchased the property, it was an older style brick home, well-loved and lived in by a large farming family, which ran cattle on the surrounding 55 acres. While they constructed six off-grid barns and the ‘Field House’ from scratch, the fireplace of the original family home helped influence Sun Ranch’s dreamy 70s aesthetic.
In fact, the large circular brick chimney and a slight hint of a sunken lounge inspired the whole design concept. They then selected textures of recycled oak and terracotta to really lean into the idea of Californian ranch houses, with that hint of Spanish influence.
Marble finishes also bring a touch of ‘Hollywood Hills’ glamour, this, combined with vintage furnishings and handmade weavings and ceramics sourced in USA/Mexico dotted across the property help give it a stylish, otherworldly but comfortable vibe. In fact, there’s a sense that every single item was highly considered and carefully sourced, including the gorgeous C+G linens throughout.
It’s clear that every corner of this truly joyful accommodation has been designed for friends and groups to come together for a good time. It sleeps 34 people, and there’s the option to book out the entire ranch. Guests can soak in the ‘magic’ views from one of the two pools, unwind in the wood-fired cedar sauna, or even take a guided horse ride across the ranch to a creekside picnic on the property.
Then there’s the location itself. The ranch is wonderfully private, set amongst rolling hills dotted with gums and ancient figs—yet it’s just moments to the charming village of Bangalow and 15 mins to Byron Bay. Jamie and Julia also rejuvenated the farming land and planted over 10,000 native plants and trees.
With its picturesque location, beautifully designed interiors, a wonderful sense of community, and C+G linens, every aspect of Sun Ranch has been carefully curated for an unforgettable experience for guests. We were lucky to experience this magic first hand, and catch Jamie for a chat. Read on below for the low-down on this remarkable new property and all the thought that went into it.
C+G: Tell us your background story of how this 55 acres of farmland in Byron Bay hinterland, which was inspired by Calfornian ranch houses started?
JB & JA: Once we stepped onto this beautiful property the vision came to life almost instantly. We knew we wanted to create something special and share it with the world.
The ranch is a wonderfully private location set amongst rolling hills dotted with gums and ancient figs — yet just moments to the charming village of Bangalow and 15 mins to the centre of Byron Bay and its surfing beaches.
We got to work immediately, rejuvenating the farming land and planting over 10,000 native plants and trees.
The Rambler Longhouse hosts 10 guests (4 x poolside suites and a private suite) and the two bedroom off grid barns can accommodate a further 24.
Sun Ranch is an adult’s natural playground…as well as ice baths, wood fired sauna and 25m mineral pool, guests can also take part in daily yoga, onsite horse rides and other cosmic cowboy additions such as sound healing or astrology readings.
Food is a huge component of the Sun Ranch experience, we want to feed your soul! The talented Pip Sumbak is our resident chef, curating all meals and hosting the gourmet firefeasts in the Field House. We pair all this with local wines, beers and of course our famous ranch salty margarita.
We also offer a free ranch breakfast of delicious market sourced foods, and don't forget the ‘Good Morning, Hot Muffin’ doorstep delivery at 7am.
The ‘Sun Ranch PoolClub’ is the best place to take in a whole day basking in the sun or under the shade of an umbrella. Hungry? We deliver fresh, yummy drinks and snacks straight to your towel.
C+G: For those who don’t know, can you explain a little about who’s involved in this great property?
JB & JA: We are a group of 7 awesome couples who are all involved in either the creative or hospitality industry.
C+G: What makes this so unique?
JB & JA: We have created a multitude of spaces for good times! We’re inspired by great hotels and California ranch houses of the 70s with their strong spanish influences.
Folks who come here feel like they have landed somewhere between Ojai and Hollywood hills — it feels like it teleports our guests, and we love that.
Our interiors are a creative conversation: spiral Italian terracotta lines the floor, tiger velvet upholstery graces the sunken lounge surrounding a huge sculptural fireplace that's paired back with recycled oak cabinetry, and soft pink marble.
We love colour and the way it makes you feel as you move around the spaces. A palette of hot ginger, super blue, dragon's eye, hemes and rosso are just some of the Porters Paints we have created with.
C+G: Every piece of material, furniture, plant and design (including all Carlotta + Gee bedding) came from a place of love and inspiration - can you tell us about the preparation and now how guests can enjoy it?
JB & JA: Every single item was highly considered and carefully sourced including your gorgeous linens. We brought home a shipping container of unique furniture and art from our latest trip to the USA and Mexico.
We then worked with local makers like the amazing Lana Launay to create bespoke lighting for all rooms and incorporated artworks by artists and friend Jedda Daisy Culley.
70s vintage sound systems are also installed throughout the spaces, guests are encouraged to spend their evenings in the lounge sinking into the burgundy velvet, flicking through books, sipping pinot and spinning records.
C+G: C+G linen is featured in every house / room - did you have a favourite part of the property?
JB & JA: That's a hard choice. The luxury timber barns are a beautiful, nostalgic escape and perfect for families (you can even bring along your pooch if you wish).
The lair (the lobby of the hotel) is a beautiful space by the fire and the best place to take in the last light across the hinterland is our ‘Stoney Ridge Healing Circle’. Watch the golden glow with a bunch of mates and some delicious sunset snacks, like tuna poke on nori chips, or whole snapper with coconut and smokey pineapple salsa.
‘The Pool Club’ really is the pièce de résistance though, we designed this relaxing space with basalt rock sourced from the property… so it's as if it's rising out of the earth! From sunup to sunset the music, the snacks and the cool wine flows, it’s very hard to leave…