Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa
- Style Outback ultra-luxe
- Setting No expanse spared
RUNNER-UP: THE ECO AWARD – SMITH HOTEL AWARDS 2013
The Blue Mountains’ Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa takes luxury lodging by the scruff of its antipodean neck and transports it to a canyon-sized Jurassic Park of sun-blessed escarpments, creature comforts and sumptuous styling. With access to over 4,000 acres of pristine wilderness, a world-class spa and private villas where in-room swimming pools come as standard, this is one special playground.
Need to know
- Rooms 40 suites, including spacious two- and three-bedroom retreats ideal for group getaways.
- Rates Double rooms from $1199.81 (AU$1,318), excluding tax at 10 per cent.
- More details Rates include all meals with non-alcoholic drinks and select regional wines and beer, plus two daily on-site nature activities a person. Spa services, premium alcohol, minibar and room service cost extra.
- Facilities Swimming pool, tennis court, spa, sauna, steam room, gym, mountain bikes, DVD/CD library, free WiFi throughout, restaurants, bar, wine cellar, playroom. In rooms: private pool, flatscreen TV, movies on demand, DVD/CD players, preloaded iPod, minibar, coffee machine, binoculars.
- Poolside When you're tired of skinny-dipping in your own temperature-controlled inside-outside pool, lounge more decorously at the beautifully landscaped outdoor pool at the Lodge (heated from mid-October to mid-April).
- Check–out 11am, but flexible subject to availability (try not to leave, ever!). Check-in, 3pm.
Children Welcome, with brilliant bespoke activities available, although Wolgan is more geared to grown-ups. Baby cots are free and extra beds for older kids can be added to suites for AU$350 a night. Prebook the free crèche; babysitting costs AU$40 an hour.
- Eco‐friendly Wolgan prides itself on being Australia's first conservation-based luxury resort and is accredited by international group CarboNZero. Pastoral fencing has been removed, 175,000 indigenous trees have been planted and native wildlife reintroduced. Much of the hotel’s food is sourced from artisan suppliers within a 180-kilometre range, or grown in Wolgan’s own kitchen gardens.
- Also Smoking is allowed on suite balconies and a designated area of the main homestead balcony.
In the know
- Our favourite rooms A modern take on Federation-style bungalows (with stained-glass door panels teamed with natural stone, timber and fabrics), all Wolgan’s suites sit demurely in a long, non-view-hogging line. Ask for one-bedroom Heritage Suites 17 or 41 at either end of the ‘street’ for maximum privacy. The three secluded two-bedroom Wollemi Suites and the sole three-bedroom Wolgan Suite sit up the hill closer to the lodge, affording greater wildlife-watching opportunities.
- Packing tips Loose linens for the spa, pressed moleskins for riding and smart-casual ensembles for dinner.
- Also A centrepiece of each room is a classy tome on Charles Darwin's adventures in Australia, open at the page describing his two visits to Wolgan Valley in the 19th century. There's a magnifying glass to fully appreciate the book's historic illustrations and binoculars on hand to see poetry, and evolution, in motion outside.
Food and drink at Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa
- Hotel restaurant Flaunting panoramic views, the Wolgan Dining Room is an impressive affair, with cuisine showcasing seasonal, local, organic produce and a regional and international wine list as expansive as the vistas. It takes centrestage in the large, barn-like homestead, with the more relaxed Country Kitchen, a providore-style eatery with communal tables, downstairs. Decor is antipodean country club with a contemporary twist – high-backed leather banquettes, comfy barrel chairs and cleverly recycled found objects (including wrought-iron washing mangles and a lightshade formed from old Driza-Bone coats). At dinner sample daily-changing, six-course tasting menus (nine at extra cost) or order à la carte. We recommend a local protein fix – the venison from nearby Mandagery Creek was our favourite.
- Dress code Casual ensembles for dinner, loose linens for the spa and moleskins for riding.
- Top table Tables by either of the central fireplaces and at the window at the bar end of the Dining Room are the most seductive spots. In summer, eating out on the veranda is the way to go.
- Last orders The Country Kitchen sees action from 6am to 6pm, serving day-long coffees, light snacks and lunch (12pm to 2pm); the Wolgan Dining Room is open for breakfast from 7am to 10am and dinner from 6.30pm to 10pm; the bar pours drinks from 10.30am to 10pm.
- Room service 24 hours, offering a range of regional dishes; an AU$12 surcharge a room applies to each order. Expect everything from crispy lobster spring rolls to Wolgan Angus beef burgers with hand-cut fries.
- Hotel bar The perfect spot for G&Ts at sundown, the Valley Bar & Terrace Lounge has a stylish, intimate vibe, and spills out onto the veranda, complete with outside fire and leather-hide stockmen’s deckchairs with leg rests.
Also worth knowing
- Weddings This property is suitable for weddings. More details