Raes On Wategoes
Nestled into the landscape and history of Wategoes in Byron Bay, Raes is the ultimate luxury boutique retreat. With 2 penthouses and 5 suites, you are steps away from the beach and two minutes down the road from the heart of Byron. We spoke with Francesca the director of Raes, about its iconic design and new addition.
When was Raes originally built and who for?
"Raes was originally built in the 1960’s, with bricks laid by the Wategos Family themselves. The property was built with the vision for it to be a grand, eccentric and unique home for Byron local Ruth Harris. Ruth’s aesthetic was known to be Mediterranean Gothic. Penthouse 1 was her bedroom, Suite 3 was her study and her garden (urban legend has it) was designed by Salvadore Dali. Ruth opened a Fish Shack on the lawn out of the front of the hotel, and later on opened a restaurant called the Argentine Ant and then La Belle Epoque. The restaurant was where Suite 7 currently is now, with an outdoor terrace where our current restaurant lies."
Tamsin Johnson worked with you recently on the refresh of the interiors, what was the focus of its facelift?
"Tamsin did an incredible job of keeping the integrity of the structure of the hotel, whilst totally transforming the interiors, yet still allowing it to be iconically known as the same luxury boutique hotel. She made the rooms more appropriate for our beachside location, whilst also allowing them to have design elements that are both with a focus to be comfortable as well as suitable to you when travelling."
"Essentially, a weekend at Raes feels like you are staying at your very stylish friend's beach house. With all the luxurious appointments you would expect at any hotel, alongside all of the comfort elements you would expect at home. It is Australian luxe beachside chic at it’s best."
Our French Linen Mustard campaign shot at Raes on Wategos
The addition of the Cellar Bar has added a beautiful dimension to the hotel - was this a previously underutilised space?
"The Cellar Bar has been an incredible addition that has been received well by locals and guests. The space where the Cellar Bar is, was in fact where our wine cellar used to be. Hence the name! We now are a hotel that allows our guests to never need to leave the four walls of the hotel & Wategos with both a more involved dining experience in the restaurant, to the relaxed bites in the cellar, to poolside dinner or must-do In-Room Dining – why leave?"
"Further to the addition of the Cellar Bar, a few months after it’s inception we felt it was necessary to expand it beyond the Cellar and onto the terrace. We’ve now doubled the size of the bar, and allow for those Wategos views to be enjoyed from the bar as well. I can’t imagine what Raes would be without the Cellar Bar."