When at its very best, hosting is an endeavour underpinned and driven by one core thing – empathy. And that’s something my guest today, James Hudson, had in droves when it came to establishing his hugely successful Byron Bay eco retreat Blackbird.
After many years working in Sydney’s fast-paced and often gruelling hospitality sector and with a young family in tow, James reached a point where he decided it was time to embrace a slower, less hectic way of life.
This ultimately led him to a former banana plantation in the Byron Bay hinterland, a property he’d go on to buy and – with an eye for innovation and sustainable re-use closely informed by his skills in industrial design – resourcefully convert into the critically acclaimed retreat now known as Blackbird Byron.
Since the property officially opened its doors to guests in 2018, James and his extended team have gone on to receive an enviable array of accolades and awards including a Master Builder’s Award in 2020, finalist status in Network Ten’s ‘Hotels by Design’ series and being named one of Tatler Magazine’s top 101 hotels in the world.
With Covid only proving to increase demand for stays at Blackbird, James has gone from strength to strength and is now supported by a tight-knit and dedicated team of staff he views as family.
Please enjoy our chat.