Sleepover: Arajilla Retreat

A bed for the night off New South Wales

The location

The location

Lord Howe Island, a gorgeous volcanic spot two hours' flight from Sydney, where the South Pacific meets the Tasman Sea. There's a beautiful, turquoise lagoon, dramatic mountains and a pleasantly consistent climate. It is blissfully quiet because no more than 400 tourists are allowed to stay overnight at any time. Arajilla is located at the northern end of the island, close to the small but charming Old Settlement beach and the idyllic lagoon. The resort consists of 10 exclusive units discreetly constructed from wood and linked to the reception by a boardwalk lined with kentia palms. It is set among a high rainforest canopy with magnificent old banyan trees.


It's worth the effort to get up before dawn and settle into a deckchair on your veranda with a cup of tea. The early light flits through the crooked branches of the banyans while the cicadas crank up to full volume by 6.30am and local birds, such as the pied currawong, start up a melodic chorus.

The comfort factor

The rooms were designed by a leading Sydney interior designer in a minimalist, contemporary South-east Asian style with neutral colours and tones. Some are split-level, mezzanine affairs, with whitewashed walls, wood panelling and huge windows fitted with wooden venetian blinds that make fantastic use of the tropical light. Downstairs, the small lounge is extremely stylish, with beige carpets and a sofa with huge cushions and sleek lamps. There's also a small kitchenette with a fridge well stocked with "stubbies" - tins of Aussie beer. The beds, with inviting pillows and cool linen covers, are perfect to sink into after the long flight from the UK. The furniture is easy on the eye too: beautifully carved Asian wardrobes and ornamental bamboo ladders.

The bathroom

The spotlit bathrooms are thoughtfully and tastefully designed. Most also have a bay window with another venetian blind. The smellies are placed in attractive small green ceramic tubs. As rainwater is a precious resource on the island, you are politely asked not to linger for too long in the bath or shower.

The people

Many Australian couples, a mixture of honeymooners and older, well-to-do types on weekend breaks.

The food and drink

The restaurant features Thai Buddhist statues and high windows to give a graceful conservatory effect. Breakfast consists of fresh tropical fruit and delicious pastries. The evening menu is contemporary Australian with Asian influences: salads of plum tomatoes and Parma ham and main dishes featuring fish or pasta. It is top quality, and beautifully presented. The wine list is extensive with an emphasis on Australian reds, starting at £12 a bottle. Reckon on £70 for three courses for two people including drinks. You'll need to book because the restaurant is popular with all visitors to the island.

The area

You could spend a fortnight here and not run out of things to do. Cycle from beach to beach (the island has only one road with a speed limit of 15mph). Hike to the top of Mount Gower, a day trip that involves some scrambling but offers unrivalled views. Then there's the island's 129 species of bird, from the British blackbird to the woodhen - a small, downy creature pulled back from the edge of extinction.

The access

Arajilla is unsuitable for wheelchairs as there are too many steps and no lifts. It is popular with families, who can use either of the two-bedroom apartments.

The damage

It's cheapest to visit Lord Howe Island with a tour operator. Travel Mood (08700 664556; offers flights from the UK to Sydney with Qantas from £575 per person and a package to Lord Howe, which includes Qantas Link flights from Sydney and three nights at Arajilla for £709 per person. Arajilla is closed in August.

The address

Arajilla Retreat, Old Settlement Beach, Lord Howe Island (00 61 2 6563 2002;

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Bid Writer

    £25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Day In a Page

    Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

    ‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

    Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

    ... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
    12 best olive oils

    Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

    Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back