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An Unexpected Newcomer: The Surf Yamba in Coastal New South Wales, Australia

The coast of Northern New South Wales is not exactly the place that immediately springs to mind when thinking about boutique hotels. This is why Jon King of Design King Company was not particularly excited when the Mayne family asked him to build a property there. ‘I didn’t immediately sense that this would be the site for a unique boutique hotel, but when I got a glimpse of Yamba from the air on my way home to Sydney I suddenly realized the magnificence of the place, with the river, stretches of beaches, headlands, and national parks. It completely captured my imagination,’ King says. After spending more time in the area, he says he began to ‘see below the surface, to get the subtle rhythm of life and the special qualities of the place and its people.’

The Surf Yamba is the town’s first boutique property representing the perfect combination of a laid-back coastal style and a beachy Mediterranean atmosphere. The design team strived to bring to life a place where guests would feel as comfortable barefoot as they would on the rooftop deck with its classic European influences.

Design King Company fully accomplished its goal by drawing inspiration from traditional romantic seaside accommodation, Yamba’s 1950s lighthouse, and the awe-inspiring oceanfront Pacific Hotel nearby. Apart from the Mediterranean influences, there’s also a nod to the nautical, with the curved building guiding the visitors’ imagination to an Art Deco ocean liner.

The hotel is proud of its ‘check-in and chill out’ philosophy. Materials like Italian terrazzo in hues of strawberry gelato and pistachio together with warm timbers find their place in the guest suites. Meanwhile, the communal areas are adorned by glazed ceramic breezeblocks not only providing privacy and protection from the salty air but also concocting ephemeral light. ‘Most importantly, they encourage the passage of sea breezes through the walkways and main stairway,’ says King. Striped canvases, grasscloth, modern metal balustrades, and colorful mosaics in the bathrooms are all meticulously thought-through details completing the interiors.

Scandinavian brands Muuto and Hay and Australian outdoor furniture brand Tait have all contributed to the hotel’s finishings that are designed to call for Australia’s vibrant surfing culture with a modern twist. All of the interior details, King says, ‘complement and reinforce the tones, textures and light quality associated with living by the sea. Together, they are timeless and uncomplicated, and combine to become the relaxed and sophisticated building you see today.’

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