Blue Mountains, Australia

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley

Rates from (inc tax)$1,594.74

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (21AUD), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Outback ultra-luxe

Setting

No expanse spared

RUNNER-UP: BEST FOR FAMILIES – SMITH HOTEL AWARDS 2015

The Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is a Jurassic Park of sun-soaked escarpments, elegant living and sumptuous décor set in the Blue Mountains. In-room swimming pools come standard with private villas, so you can dive off the dust of exploring over 7,000 acres of pristine wilderness without having to set foot back into it.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A bottle of local Orange or Mudgee wine on arrival

Facilities

Photos Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa Hotel - Blue Mountains - Australia

Need to know

Rooms

40 villas, including spacious two- and three-bedroom retreats ideal for group getaways.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible subject to availability (try not to leave, ever!). Check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $1594.74 (AU$2,091), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (AUD2,300.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates include gourmet breakfast, lunch, dinner, non-alcoholic beverages and selected regional wines and beer with meals, plus two daily on-site nature activities a person. Spa services, premium alcohol, minibar and room service cost extra.

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.

At the hotel

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.

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 villas sit demurely in a long, non-view-hogging line. Ask for one-bedroom Heritage Villas 17 or 41 at either end of the ‘street’ for maximum privacy. The three secluded two-bedroom Wollemi Villas and the sole three-bedroom Wolgan Villa sit up the hill closer to the lodge, affording greater wildlife-watching opportunities.

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).

Packing tips

Loose linens for the spa, pressed moleskins for riding and smart-casual ensembles for dinner.

Also

Smoking is allowed on villa balconies and a designated area of the main homestead balcony. Rates exclude a surcharge for credit-card payments (3.36% for Amex and JCB; 1.25% for Visa and MasterCard, a stay).

Pet‐friendly

Pets are not permitted, in order to protect native animals. See more pet-friendly hotels in Blue Mountains.

Children

Welcome, with brilliant bespoke activities available, although Wolgan is more geared to grown-ups. Baby cots are free; babysitting costs AU$40 an hour.

Overview

Kids of all ages are welcome at this family-friendly resort, with bespoke nature-based activities available for children, but Wolgan is geared to grown-ups, so you might not want to get too distracted keeping an eye on the young ones.

Best for

Adventurous, outdoorsy but very well behaved types eight years old and upwards, but all ages are welcome.

Recommended rooms

The three Wollemi Suites have twin-bed-convertible second bedrooms, with rollaways adding extra flexibility. The sole Wolgan Suite also has its own kitchen and a third bedroom. Private pools are a little larger in these suites, too.

Activities

With a whole valley at their disposal, kids can run wild here, with bush craft and cooking, pony rides and stunt kite flying all on the dancing card. They can even have archery lessons. A range of nature-based activities have been developed for children, so they can make the most of the 7,000 acres of wilderness.

Swimming pool

Every suite comes with its own pool and while there is no separate kids' pool, the main swimming area does have a child-friendly shallow end. Bring your own inflatables though, and be responsible for your own supervision; there's no lifeguard.

Rates

More details

Rates include gourmet breakfast, lunch, dinner, non-alcoholic beverages and selected regional wines and beer with meals, plus two daily on-site nature activities a person. Spa services, premium alcohol, minibar and room service cost extra.

Meals

The resort expects children to adjust to an adult environment, out of respect for the privacy and enjoyment of all other guests. The smalls are welcome to eat in both restaurants, where à la carte options and the special children's menu should tempt, although dinner at the Wolgan Dining Room and Valley Bar must be taken between 6pm and 7.30pm if you have kids under eight in tow. After 7.30pm you’ll need to order room service back at your suite (extra charges apply), or book a babysitter if the adults in your party plan on eating at the main restaurant. That said, there's flexibility to arrange early meals prior to 6pm at the more informal Country Kitchen restaurant, open from 6am until 6pm. Child-pleasing dishes such as pizza, pasta, burgers and ploughman's platters should keep hunger at bay.

Babysitting

Babysitting is provided at AU$40 an hour, for a three-hour minimum; ideally book a day in advance.

No need to pack

Baby cots and high chairs are supplied by the resort.

Also

Baby food and milk can be heated on request and a nice assortment of deliciously healthy packed lunches can also be arranged. If you opt for a Heritage Suite rather than the more spacious Wollemi and Wolgan Suites, extra beds for older kids can be added to suites for AU$350 a night (on request).

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, 200,000 indigenous trees have been planted and native wildlife reintroduced. Much of the hotel’s food is sourced from artisan suppliers within a 160-kilometre range, or grown in Wolgan’s own kitchen gardens.

Food and Drink

Photos Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa Hotel - Blue Mountains - Australia

At the hotel

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.

At the 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.

Last orders

The Country Kitchen sees action from 12pm to 4pm, serving day-long coffees, light snacks and lunch (12pm to 2pm); the Wolgan Dining Room is open for breakfast from 8am to 10.30am and dinner from 6pm to 10pm; the bar pours drinks from 10.30am to 10pm.

Room service

24 hours, offering a range of regional dishes; a AU$25 surcharge a room applies to each order. Expect everything from crispy lobster spring rolls to Wolgan Angus beef burgers with hand-cut fries.

Location

Photos Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa Hotel - Blue Mountains - Australia
Address
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley
2600 Wolgan Valley Road
2790
Blue Mountains
Australia

Planes

Fly into Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport (www.sydneyairport.com.au), around 190km from Wolgan, a hub for numerous international and domestic flights.

Trains

CityRail (www.cityrail.info) and Great Southern Rail (www.gsr.com.au) services run from Sydney to Lithgow Station. From there, the 35km, 45-minute transfer to the resort costs around AU$100 each way by taxi (up to four people) or AU$165 each way for groups of up to six via a local tour operator.

Automobiles

Driving to Wolgan Valley, 190km north-west of Sydney, is an adventure in itself, and leaving your car at the gate – a resort policy – only adds to the sense of arrival at a place of some remoteness and seclusion. Two routes are suggested: via Katoomba and the Blue Mountains proper, or via Richmond and the strangely named Bells Line of Road, a long, spectacular and less populated drive direct over the hills to Lithgow. Free on-site parking is provided near the hotel. Alternatively, luxury 4WD transfers can be arranged for AU$685 one way per vehicle via Bells Line of Road, or for AU$860 via Katoomba; just ask Smith24 for more information.

Worth getting out of bed for

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is a universe unto itself. Unless you are here for more than three or four nights, we wouldn't recommend leaving. The resort's field guides are friendly, smart and hugely well-informed, and if you're keen to explore, be sure to take one: wildlife, Aboriginal history, colonial heritage and guided mountain bike tours are all included in the tariff. Nocturnal wildlife spotlighting and stargazing are particularly popular, but the stand-out activity is the guided horse-riding; you're driven across the property to state-of-the-art stables to saddle up on some fine thoroughbreds. Only extended rides and riding instruction incur charges. Clay target and compound bow shooting can also be organised on the property for a fee. If you do feel the need to stray further afield, golf, fly-fishing, 4WD expeditions and a regional food and wine tour are all on hand; costs apply.

Local restaurants

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley’s seclusion is part of its charm, and with all-inclusive meals chances are you’ll do most of your dining at the resort. If you fancy a bite in nearby Blackheath, Vesta (+61 (0)2 4787 6899) is a warm and welcoming spot to tuck into antipasto, fish dishes and home-made ice-cream, with locally-produced wines. Escarpment (+61 (0)2 4787 7269) turns out modern fare in a light, bright bistro setting. If you take the quirkily named Bells Line of Road, pop into Apple Bar (+61 (0)2 4567 0335) at Bilpin for excellent pizza and a glass of wine, or linger over a well crafted meal at local fine-diner Lochiel House (+61 (0)2 4567 7754). Wentworth Falls may be an hour's drive from the hotel, but elegant restaurant Nineteen23 (+61 (0)4 8836 1923) makes it worth your while, with fresh local produce crafted into imaginative dishes, such as quail breast with sweetcorn, harissa, smoked almonds, basil and sheep's milk yoghurt.

Reviews

Photos Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa Hotel - Blue Mountains - Australia

Anonymous review

We’re plummeting through a vertiginously kaleidoscopic, William Robinson-esque landscape of eucalypts and wattles, sheared-off sandstone and coiling road that soon crumbles into a dirt track. Down, down, deeper and into the valley of Wolgan we plunge. It’s not so much the middle of nowhere as the bottom of nowhere: silent, still, alive with heat and intrigue (you can almost hear the eerie pan pipes in the crevices). The ridges! The ravines! Bloody hell, the epic magnitude of the valley beggars belief – just seeing it and being in it is worth the three-hour drive out of Sydney. And we aren’t even at the resort yet…

Sublime nature or the lap of luxury? From the moment we are met at the guest car park on the outskirts of the resort, it’s clear that we’re in the hands of experienced dilemma wranglers. Navigating the twin distractions of this eco-friendly heritage haven should prove as smooth as the five-minute transfer to the resort itself. The staff member who drives us is full of enthusiasm for the landscape and the way Wolgan embraces it. The 4WD, an air-conditioned sofa of a car, adds its own cool hug.

At reception, we sign in over a glass of locally produced sparkling wine, and get a brief round-up of the resort’s charms. To be frank, we are lap-of-luxury hounds, so our major concern is, ‘Where’s the spa?’ The acutely attuned staff whisk us over to the handsomely appointed Timeless Spa before we can even get tetchy. Then, for our sins, we submit ourselves to four hours of hellishly relaxing treatments in a room for two overlooking the rolling river flats and shadowed by the 100-million-year-old sandstone cliffs of the valley.

Soothed by our excellently executed therapies, we walk to the homestead where dinner awaits us. En route we pause to look around with reviewers’ eyes and contemplate the architecture. If one was forced to quibble, one might observe that the 40 standalone suites (each very lovely and well designed in itself) share an uncanny sameness, like the creepy future suburbs of our collective nightmare. But the magnificent main dining room and fantastic 28,000-course meal with matching local wines completely blows away that tiny gripe.

After drifting off in the three-bedroom Wolgan Suite, the next morning is a surprise indeed – mist lies thick along the valley floor, deeper than the sleep of babes from which we have surfaced. Breakfast is delayed for our activities of choice; the Mrs saddles up for a horse trail-ride and the Mr opts for a mountain-bike ride. Straight up, Wolgan’s field guides are the best, masters of revealing the marvels and mysteries of nature. Me and my guide hoot like 16-year-olds as we barrel along the paths then wait, quiet as suede, as we watch life shimmer into being at the platypus deck (one of the most astonishing spots on this 4,000-acre block of wonders). The horse ride transports Mrs Smith back to the time before machines and we are both left revived back in the present day, unwinding over a good breakfast coffee as the day burns the last of the mist out of the valley. Not for long though, as we ready ourselves for the arrival of… the kids.

Yep, we had one short but sweet night to ourselves before our three little ones descended upon us and indeed upon the whole of Wolgan. Luckily, the hotel management can organise pick-ups in and out of the valley without a fuss, so they’re bringing them in an hour. We worry: like most boys they are loud, noisy and smelly – essentially stomping, shouting, anti-spa machines, determined to stamp out quiet and relaxation wherever they find it. How will this upscale boutique resort cope?

As it turns out, the amazing staff, armed with a kid-friendly activities plan spanning bush craft and kite flying, can handle children beautifully and keep them (and us) occupied, alert and alive to possibility. In this playful wilderness, there is much to share across the generations: archery, horse riding, wildlife safaris and a most spectacular swimming pool. We end our day with a private barbecue set up for us on the deck of our stylishly furnished home-away-from-home. With the sun well behind the valley walls, the kids get a little bit of screen time before they collapse into their luxuriously soft beds, and in the silence, we snatch a couple of hours of wine and stars – all from the toasty 28ºC comfort of our private indoor-outdoor pool (every villa has one).

On our final morning we wander down to the Heritage Homestead – a meticulously restored original 1832 house built on the block by squatters who claimed the land for their sheep. The rooms are fascinating, each filled with the paraphernalia of farm life, as are the art works by the Wiradjuri people, the local indigenous mob whose animal totem is the platypus. There must have been many platypuses in the river back then (which says something about the valley’s seclusion and solitude) because Charles Darwin actually visited this very spot in 1836 to get a close look at one.

I know it’s a cliché, but this really is a place to return to time and again over one’s (hopefully long) life, be it for romance, adventure, culture, solitude or fitness. For one thing, it’s good for you – the activities keep you busy all day, plus there’s a smart gym. For another, the delicious food is light, fresh and wonderful. What can we say? Beautiful, and brainy, too – the world’s first carbon-zero resort, which loses nothing to hair-shirtery and gains everything in a real and profound engagement with its environment. And did we mention the staff? Going above and beyond the call of duty, they’re a great team full of personality and passion for their secret inland island. Endings are always sad, and parting is such sweet sorrow – but this was never truer than parting company with Wolgan.

 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The all-inclusive food and local wines. The warm and friendly country hospitality. Wolgan Valley is in a secluded location - you wouldn't want to leave the hotel.

Don’t expect

Active night-life

Rating

Stayed on 9 Sep 2016

We loved

The lovely setting, the staff, the villa and the grounds. The pool and spa, the horses, the food and wine, the stars. 

Don’t expect

Noisy, lively, blingy or cheap

Rating

Stayed on 4 Mar 2016

We loved

Everything! Location, great staff, peace and quiet, luxury rooms and facilities, wildlife, activities. It was heaven!!!

Don’t expect

Noise. All you'll hear is from the wildlife.

Rating

Stayed on 26 Feb 2016

We loved

The luxurious villa with private pool, delicious food and wine, and the beautiful setting of the resort!

Don’t expect

Nightlife; it is of the nocturnal animal kind here.

Rating

Stayed on 22 Nov 2015

We loved

The ambience of informal luxury. That's a hard trick to pull off the staff managed it beautifully.

Don’t expect

Lively nights.

Rating

Stayed on 15 Nov 2015

We loved

The location, the service, the villa amenities and the hundreds of kangaroos on the property.

Don’t expect

Fine dining experience at the restaurants. In my opinion, the food is good quality but not gourmet quality.

Rating

Stayed on 1 Nov 2015

We loved

We loved that this place is so secluded, that the only people in sight are those staying at the resort and the staff. The suites are self contained and have an inclusive mini bar, beautiful rain shower and lovely indoor pool. The food here is spectacular both taste and presentation. I cannot fault the staff either who go out of their way to remember your name and make you feel at home.

Don’t expect

Don't expect to be able to duck off to the shops or go on a day out. This resort is about relaxation and enjoying the nature activities that's on offer at the resort.

Rating

Stayed on 18 Oct 2015

We loved

The room and view was stunning.

Don’t expect

Unfortunately the hotel was below my expectations in terms of service and food, which detracted from our enjoyment of the weekend.

Rating

Stayed on 11 Oct 2015

We loved

You will be amazed by their friendly tour guide, and surrounded by the lovely animals. The meals make you so full and seeing kangaroos hopping just next to you is really fun. Don't miss out their horse riding!

Rating

Stayed on 13 Sep 2015

We loved

We loved the location and bushland, amazing service and a real interest from the staff to look after us

Don’t expect

A busy night life

Rating

Stayed on 7 Sep 2015

We loved

The cabins, the amazing food, friendly staff. The landscape is absolutely stunning. This place is ideal for those that want to completely switch off, relax, be pampered and take it easy ! Absolutely perfect for Baby-moon. An idyllic place for couples looking to refocus, switch off and be in the serenity.

Don’t expect

Mobile reception or to leave the property. It's very secluded (that's the beauty of this place). So once you get there, do know that you are disconnected from the outside world (there is WI-FI) and it's time to switch off and take stock of the moment.

Rating

Stayed on 19 Feb 2015