It’s been a big couple of years for Collette Dinnigan. After 25 years as one of Australia’s most successful fashion designers and announcing the closure of part of her fashion business at the end of 2013, she hasn’t stopped. Dinnigan has been touring with her book Obsessive Creative (Lantern, $100), the subject of a museum retrospective (until 28 August 2016 at the Museum of Arts and Applied Sciences, Sydney) and now, she has made her first official foray into interior design with the renovation of two luxury suites at New South Wales south coast hotel, Bannisters by the Sea.
And they’re heavenly.
Dinnigan approached the project with the same all-in approach she applied to her fashion design. This was more than just a refresh of some bed linen, towels and cushions (though she did that too, beautifully). Dinnigan tore down walls and replaced all the internal and external doors, windows and balconies, completely restructuring the existing suites. The result: two private, peaceful and super-stylish sanctuaries with bathrooms dreams are made of.
Both suites feature all-white, timber-pannelled walls, white shuttered windows and timber and cane furniture paired with a range of beautiful textiles by designers including Penny Morrison, Kathryn Ireland and Carolina Irving. They are reminiscent of beach houses you might find in the Hamptons or the Bahamas.
“I just wanted it to look feminine and elegant, and just beachside…relaxing, cool and comfortable,” says Dinnigan. “I didn’t want it to be pop-y, or dramatic…You’re on holiday and you want to relax.”
Dinnigan placed great emphasis on the things she felt were lacking in many hotels she had previously stayed in. “I’m so sick of going to a hotel and there’s nowhere to put anything, people always discount the bathroom,” she says. Dinnigan’s bathrooms are more than spacious with large Carrera marble vanities, double sinks with elegant Perrin & Rowe tapware plus there are wall recesses on each side of the vanities and next to the large shower and bath areas. Read: plenty of space for leaving your things.
Artworks around the suite are a collection of sea-themed works by Australian artist Martine Emdur as well as Hugh Stewart photographs. Vintage surf photographs by John Witzig and Dinnigan’s own maps and charts from her family’s sailing adventures as a child also feature.
Outside, the generous balconies are a real treat, offering views of the ocean and nearby Narawallee and Mollymook beaches. Choose from sun lounges, customised cane chairs and ottomans or an antique Indian daybed from which to enjoy the views in total privacy.
You don’t even need to leave the tranquility of your suite if you find it hard, (which you will). Rick Stein’s excellent in-house restaurant and pool bar can deliver meals at your whim.
And that’s perhaps the best part. Dinnigan’s suites have all the style, privacy and space of a standalone beach house but with the luxury of enthusiastic and helpful staff, a day spa and Rick Stein’s superb and popular local restaurant just 100 metres away.
Bannisters by the Sea is located around three hours drive from Sydney near the town of Mollymook. The official opening date for the suites is this Friday, September 18. To book, go to Bannisters.com.au.