Hidden within the heritage listed Blue Mountains and surrounded by the Wollemi National Park is the indulgent, yet conservation focussed Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa. Just three hours drive from Sydney, Wolgan is a luxe hot spot for mid week breaks or weekends. With Emirates being the preferred airline when venturing on an international flight, I was awaiting the day when I could check-in to their first Australian resort.
The drive from the city to the country definitely catches your eye as you cruise around the grand mountain ranges. As you descend into the valley on the single lane and hairpin roads you start to feel a world away from city life. From the moment you step out of your car, its like everything has stopped in time as you soak in the scenery in the lower valley of captivating sandstone cliffs rising from the surrounding bushland. The initial thought…. it is unbelievably quiet.
Wolgan Valley is everything you would expect from a luxe resort where guest needs are already thought of or prepared for in advance. We were transferred from the Wolgan entry by four wheel drive over two swollen creeks to the modern version of a heritage Homestead. 40 suites over three slightly elevated levels are well spaced across the valley floor. The resort itself only occupies a small portion of the 4,000 acre flora and fauna conservation. Check-in was seamless being seated along with Wolgan water and cool towels awaiting our arrival. Also on offer is sparkling wine to begin settling in.
Our Heritage Suite has a charming view of the 1832 Heritage Homestead and Kitchen Garden. The suites are your home away from home, being a palatial 83 sqm which is sizeable compared to some inner city apartments. Every luxe detail has been thought of and designed to reflect the Federation history while incorporating modern comforts. The extremely rare Wollemi Pine is the resorts signature that is featured on select elements throughout the suite.
Cuddle up in the gorgeous four poster bed as it is unbelievably comfy making you feel like you are floating on a cloud, where I predict that you’ll never want to leave. The decorative pillows magically disappear and a home style chocolate slice appears by the bedside upon turn-down service. Antique style light switches are complemented with modern labels, so less fumbling occurs to find the switch you actually want. I loved the elegant dressing room including a dresser with fabulous hotel lighting, Wolgan fulfilled this design detail perfectly for the ladies.
If there is some light drizzle or clouds drifting by, the glass ceiling over the rain shower is a distraction for endless gazing. We had a little visitor on display on our last morning perched atop the glass soaking in the sunshine. Adjoining the Living area is a private pool, heated to a pleasant 28 degrees to hopefully take advantage of all year round. As we took a dip in the pool we got our first glimpse of the local wildlife in close proximity to the suite, the lawn was vividly green after some rain and two wallabies grazed in the afternoon sun.
We also managed to sneak a peak at one of the three lavish Wollemi Suites. Ideal for guests seeking to really spoil themselves or when travelling with the family. The suite is a very generous 201 sqm to include a separate living and dining area where you can host your own private dinner party as well as two bedrooms both with their own dressing room and ensuite. Relish in the hillside views looking over the resort from the even larger private pool.
The first evening we enjoyed an informal party for two in the more private Terrace Lounge. Summer cocktails were on offer as well as the chefs canapés of the day that took into consideration our dietary requirements. Dinner and breakfast are served in the elegant Dining Room. There are high back chairs to sink into and traditional white linen with personalised Wolgan plates decorate the tables.
Perusing the dinner menu I noticed it was personalised with my name and omitted any seafood courses from pre-advised information. If you indulge in culinary experiences, a six course chefs degustation of the day is recommended or you can simply opt for a more traditional à la carte three course menu. Dishes can be tailored to suit any particular tastebuds and may consist of fresh produce from the Kitchen Garden or gourmet produce from collaborations with local regions.
A tour of the Cheese and Wine room is not to be missed, as the arrangement is exceptionally inviting. Each evening the chef selects the finest Australian cheeses and accompaniments to sample, the truffle honey condiment is so decadent. To celebrate a special occasion, Wolgan surprised me with an extravagant ice sculpture for dessert. It was one of the most individual touches and extremely thoughtful surprise from the chef and staff.
In the morning the Dining Room is an elevated view point to observe the morning mist encompassing the valley or light filled due to the floor-to-ceiling windows. A relaxing day begins with mini yoghurt pots and a fresh fruit platter delivered to your table before you make a selection from the appetising breakfast menu.
By noon, if you still have room for more gourmet delights, lunch is served in the Country Kitchen. Blessed with lovely Autumn weather we sat on the surrounding terrace overlooking the valley and incredible main infinity-edged pool. Upon being seated, a board is placed in front of you accompanied by a clove of baked garlic, fresh bread, mini Pepe Saya butter and a sprinkling of dukkah. My appetite was satisfied even before my lunch dishes arrived.
The Timeless Spa is a must for any relaxation agenda. For a couples treatment, we were guided to spa room 4 where those unsurpassed views of the valley continue and can be savoured from the plunge bath for two. The superior spa room conveniently includes a private change room and shower. The grand relaxation room feels homely with a mix of comfy sofas, arm chairs and ottomans on wheels. One of the features is an impressive pendant light with intricate wood detailing. Whilst reading the magazines we nibbled on our after spa treats of a mini yoghurt, a side of cherries and strawberries and sipped fruit infused tea to keep hydrated.
Wolgan is the number one resort 2014 in Australia on TripAdvisor and has won a number of other accolades. The resort is outstanding with the exemplary service provided to guests and it is no wonder they are a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. We were overwhelmed on the extra mile some of the staff went to make us feel at home that led to a fuss-free and memorable stay.
– 2014 – TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards, Top Hotel in Australia
– 2013 – Smith Hotel Awards, runner-up in the Eco Award category
– 2013 – Travel + Leisure Global Vision Awards, winner in the category of Sustainability
– 2012 – Condé Nast Traveller World Savers Awards – Winner, Preservation Category
– SUITE – A home away from home
– NUMBER – Heritage Suite 24
– VIEW – 1832 Heritage Homestead and Kitchen Garden
– BED – King size and feels like you are floating on a cloud. Easily the comfiest signature hotel bed EVER
– BATHROOM – Villeroy & Boch fixtures, oversize bathtub and rain shower with glass ceiling
– BATH AMENITIES – Luxe Sodashi and iKOU
– BREAKFAST – Yoghurt and fruit platter to begin followed by an à la carte menu
– MINI BAR – Complimentary gourmet items, juice, soft drink, boutique beer and Australian wine
– ROOM SERVICE – No menu option spared including popcorn to accompany your movie. Available for a small surcharge
– WI FI – Complimentary
– NOTABLE GUESTS – Michael Clarke, Carey Mulligan, Mischa Barton, Delta Goodrem and Paula Joye
– PRICE TAG – Luxe
– SPECIAL THANKS TO – Liz, Derek, Daniel, Monique, Sidney and Jayson
– SHE LOVED – Sparkling wine and fresh fruit platter on arrival, private pool, iPad compendium, seeing more than a handful of wombats on the Nocturnal tour, the cheese room and surprise dessert
– HE LOVED – Complimentary on demand movies from the two TVs, mini bar including the red and white wine selection, Nespresso coffees and inclusive resort activities
BOOK | Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa
Summer Temptation package – Special rate courtesy of Wolgan. The Autumn Retreat package is now available for bookings from 1 April to 30 June 2014
2600 Wolgan Road, Wolgan Valley NSW
All photos by Mel McLeod ©