THE BACKGROUND: Wolgan is Emirate’s Hotels and Resorts’ first venture into Australia. Within two months of its soft opening in October 2009 it was recognised as one of the world’s best luxury resorts by Leading Hotels of the World. This is style in the outback topped off with a Colonial feel. The property was six years in the making as Emirates jumped through hoops to reach stringent environmental regulations due to its pristine location.
WHERE IS IT? Spanning 1600 hectares bordering the iconic Blue Mountains, Wolgang is a four-hour drive from Sydney. The last 31kms are on a dirt road that winds through high cliffs and wide-open bushland. Advise clients to arrive before dark to avoid the wallaroos that frequent the road.
THE HOTEL: The sandstone and timber main property is set against the escarpment with 40 individual suites circling the property. There is a 25-metre swimming pool, gym and Emirates’ signature Timeless Spa (as featured on the airline’s A380s) with six dual therapy treatment rooms.
THE ROOM: The family/two-bedroom suite features a massive central fireplace, sumptuous sofas and floor-to-ceiling sliding windows leading onto a private plunge pool and private dining terrace. Bedrooms lead either side from the main area with double or single beds, walk-in cupboards and bathrooms with a huge glass-topped shower for a bit of star-gazing while you soak. Each suite comes with its own mountain bikes for easy access around the resort.
THE RESTAURANT: While the property is first-class, the atmosphere is relaxed, and dining is not a formal affair. Lunch in the Country Kitchen is simple regional fare with fresh-baked breads, platters and pies. Fine dining is on offer at dinner time in the main dining room where Dwane Goodman insists on using local suppliers wherever possible and all-organic Australian ingredients. The wine cellar displays 300 wines and champagnes of which 100 are local. These are not included in the price!
THE FACILITIES: The spa. Field guides take guests walking, riding and fishing. The property's 1832 homestead has been carefully restored as a museum displaying with kitchen utensils, school books, farm tools and photographs.
THE COST: Emirates Tours (0844 800 1400) All-includive eight-night package from £3,479 pp including three nights in Wolgan with a spa treatment and degustation dinner plus five nights at Four Seasons, Sydney.
THE DETAILS: B2600 Wolgan Valley Road, Wolgan Valley, PO Box 390, NSW 2790. Tel: +61 2 6350 1820.
Wolgan Valley Resort is luxury in the outback. A place where conservation firmly tops the bill.
Group editor, Selling Long Haul/Selling Australia