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wrikl001
Adelaide, Australia
Tranquil, but may not suit everyone...
3.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 18 Sept 2018
...and it certainly didn't suit us to be honest.

We had booked 3 nights at Azabu but only stayed 1 for reasons that will unfold as I write, and we had read all the reviews which were...mixed - we definitely agree with a lot of both the positive and negative points made.

As we were trying to be a bit sensible on the budget, we had booked 2 nights at Elements, and 3 nights at Azabu on recommendation. We knew this was "dangerous", to go from one place to another and not compare is tough, but we figured they were going to be two very different experiences, and we were happy to get the full picture of the Byron region i.e. beach vs hinterland. Happy, but somewhat hesitant, and in fact we did think about cancelling but the strict cancellation rules meant we were committed, so we figured we would be open minded.

You might not believe it, but both places are basically equidistant from the first roundabout into town - that's pretty much where the similarities ended. I'm not completely criticizing Azabu for that either by the way, they really do cater for two different markets, so it would absolutely depend on what you're looking for.

Azabu is billed as a zen like, Japanese themed retreat - and it definitely is a retreat, and whilst it is only 3.8kms from the town, it feels like you are in the middle of nowhere, well, the middle of a forest, which is stunningly tranquil - aside from the wind chimes which actually were a lovely touch; and the peacocks which although beautiful, at 3.15am, screeching their heads off is far from zen. I also don't really see how some old, flimsy kimonos (unappealing), chopsticks and a blossom like pattern on bed linen that looked like it used to be white but was now a shade of grey, was enough to warrant the Japanese theme...but anyway, thanks to the peacocks, our early start for a tour was an even earlier start, and totally unexpected, I had really thought we would sleep like the dead out there.

There's nothing nearby (ok, 3.6kms away is the Brewery which isn't far, but we were dubious a taxi would come out to get us and didn't fancy bike riding in the pitch black), and I felt like we were on a sort of, adult, school camping trip - particularly as half the guests seemingly checked in at the same time - in a small place, that was a touch awkward (!), and the rooms definitely felt a bit on the tired, basic side of the coin.

Probably my biggest two pain points were: the room was one of the rooms we had read about in other reviews: tricky to open/close bifolds (oh, and there are windows with no blinds on them, so don't expect darkness!!) a bed with nothing else to sit on (not counting the terrace), and a sink that double acts as the bed head. More importantly for us: the pool online is described as "heated spa/pool" - note: the spa is heated (if you turn it on in advance of wanting to get in, and then assuming there isn't anyone else already in there, or waiting - as pointed out during the check in process whilst 2 people were in there - again, awkward...) and the pool is NOT heated. Repeat: not. And since this was one of the first things pointed out to us, obviously it is a frequently asked question and thus I thought the advertising was a bit misleading as I had read the same statement online on several pages, so was reasonably confident both pool and spa were heated; and am sure I'm not alone on that. It's not a huge pool, and could be heated, which since it was also totally in the shade and it's not the middle of summer, was a must for us. Had there been any semblence of sun around the pool area, we might have stayed, but given there wasn't, and our terrace was in full shade, it was absolutely freezing cold at all our options for places to sit. Further, there were only four "sun" lounges around the pool anyway (for 5 rooms), and two of which had the covers off the mattress which let's just say we would not have wanted to sit on them.

I did try the shower in the very basic bathroom and it was a very good shower, but the bathroom itself could have used a full on clean - it was clean, it's just a bit old/tired, so didn't look as clean as I think it was e.g. grout - which is partly also because hardly anything in the room was white (there is a reason hotels use white!!). Oh and there is no safe in the room, surely this is a basic requirement in any accommodation these days..?

Overall, if you want some escapism and like to perhaps meditate, simply want to read, or maybe if you were with a group and booked out multiple rooms, or you just want to go for walks through the forest - then Azabu would probably suit you. As we had come to Byron looking for sun, relaxation and warmth, it didn't suit us.

I must also say that when we left it was as aforementioned, very early, so we emailed Azabu to politely say thank you, it didn't suit us and we were carrying on - and never heard anything back. We had paid for the full three nights, so to not even follow up on why we left I thought was a bit "off" - if it was my business, I'd absolutely have wanted to illicit feedback from guests leaving early to understand why, and at the very least acknowledge the fact that they had paid for two nights and due to the very strict cancellation rules would mean we wouldn't get anything back. Of course, I was hoping to get something back if I'd had any sort of conversation with them, but..........Obviously we were willing to accept we might not when we left, but the least they could have done was confirm that and apologise that it didn't work out! After all, they could either re-sell the room, or not worry about doing anything in there for two days at our expense.

Suffice to say, I can't see us rushing to book Azabu again.
Date of stay: September 2018
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Reviewed 28 August 2018 via mobile

My husband and I just spent two nights here celebrating our wedding anniversary and his birthday. They took wonderful care of us and even went so far as to spoil us with a beautiful bottle of Champaign and chocolates to celebrate with. The location is great, you’re still so close to the city centre but it feels very rural and private. Loved being welcomed by the peacocks and the hot tub was beautiful on a cold night! Thank you so much for welcoming us into your beautiful property. We will be back

Date of stay: August 2018
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank J5887FUnicolew
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 14 August 2018 via mobile

We loved the look of this place when searching for accommodation in the Byron Bay area. Japanese ‘themed’, sadly; with Japanese type of clichéd walls between rooms! (Paper thin)

We could hear everything!! Intimate talk and beyond. Thus, we were somewhat paranoid about the inverse situation.

Couple next door eventually went quiet around 2am.
Had clunked down in high heels late in the night... hmmmm, yes! Go more Japanese and get guests to take their footwear off at the front door.

Asked about alternative room next morning. Thankfully next door was not booked for our second night.

Upon checkout I inquired as to any sound reduction treatment between rooms. It was a stud wall with 10mm plaster... that’s it I suspect.

An additional ‘voucher’ may have softened our disturbed experience, nothing was offered.

Date of stay: August 2018
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
2  Thank Muddy64
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 24 June 2018 via mobile

If you are after a unique escape in Byron than this is the place for you. It’s a boutique zen style property. You feel like you are in the middle of nowhere yet still very close to Byron town centre. This isn’t a brand new or five star property. But I found it clean and very comfortable and loved the vibe. I would definitely come back.

Date of stay: January 2018
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank BAR_808
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
AzabuBB, Manager at Azabu Boutique Accommodation Byron Bay, responded to this reviewResponded 25 June 2018

Hello,
Thank you so much for staying with us, we are a unique property in Byron! Thanks for taking the time to write a review.
We look forward to welcoming you back here again soon.
All the best
The Azabu Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 May 2018

Loved my stay 2 night stay a Azabu in May to celebrate 72 years young in style and tranquility! Great king size bed with rain forest touching the balcony. Despite rain on first day (only added to rain forest feel) enjoyed the French champagne and chocolates added touch from Azabu. Second day enjoyed 3 hour Pamper Package and recommend Trish most highly for easing aches and pains with osteo arthritic knees - wonderful facial also. Azabu is in a quiet secluded part of Byron Bay with easy access to town and other areas. Found delightful to view the rain forest at night with privacy of open blinds and be woken by kookaburra laugh in the morning. Many thanks to Angela, Tamara and Trish - will be back!

Room tip: Recommend room 3, has small bar fridge, balcony with table and chairs
Date of stay: May 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank SoloBoomer
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
AzabuBB, Manager at Azabu Boutique Accommodation Byron Bay, responded to this reviewResponded 19 May 2018

Hello Margaret,
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a loverly review about our retreat & Spa.
We love hearing back from our guests, great to hear you loved your spa treatment too !
We certainly hope to see you back in the near future, until then, take care, from all of us @ Azabu Retreat & Spa.
Angela @ Azabu

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 December 2017

angela has to be fired....she is an unplesent person ...
the hotel condition deteriorating.will give them 2 star hotel rating.
water in the pool and hot tub murkey and unwelcoming,
place looks old .seem the owner dosent want to update or invest in the place any more.
floors in room 3 scrached and dirty.we arrived late and the room was full of mosquitos.we had to fight them out all night.walls so thin i heard next door coughing all night.
king size room is small and shower walls dirty .cockroches in the room during the night.
this was themost unplesent stay in our 1 month long trip in australia.
avoid...

Date of stay: December 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank rafael c
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
AzabuBB, Manager at Azabu Boutique Accommodation Byron Bay, responded to this reviewResponded 6 December 2017

Hello,

This was your previous comments to us only 2 days ago "it was a plesure staing at your unique property.
there is one issue to be resolved".

The only reason you have written what you have, is because you had to shortened your stay by one night because you needed to go back to Europe, you cancelled within the 14 day period, where there is no refund given, so you have given us a bad review!
Safe travels
Angela

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