Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley

HOOD: Wolgan Valley, Blue Mountains NSW
VIBE: How’s the serenity
PROPERTY SIZE: 40 free-standing villas on 7,000 pristine acres
ROOM STYLE: Aussie country chic
WE LOVE: the comprehensive range of activities on offer for guests (with superb kids ranger programs!) and the environmental ethos amongst all staff.

WORDS BY: Dave Goldman

It took my breath away immediately on arrival

Only a three hour drive from Sydney and nestled between two magnificent national parks (Wollemi National Park and Gardens of Stone National Park in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area), Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley sits within its own 7,000 acre conservation reserve – offering a quintessentially Australian bush experience.

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Lodge with the locals

Upon arrival, we were met at the property entrance by one of their R&M Williams clad staff – this nod to the iconic Aussie country label carries through to all staff uniforms. From there, we were transferred by private 4WD to the 1832 Heritage Homestead for check-in and a warm tea in the Homestead’s Valley Bar and Terrance lounge.

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Beauty personified

ROOM

An ideal retreat for families, the heritage designed Wollemi Villa feels like a private lodge or house. It features a large dining room, lounge area, gas fireplace, two bedrooms, 2.5 luxurious bathrooms, and temperature controlled private indoor/outdoor pool. Outstanding.

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Wollemi Villa living room
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Wollemi Villa dressing room

We quickly checked it all out and jumped on our complimentary bikes to acquaint ourselves with the property and fill our lungs with the crisp mountain air. I found myself constantly looking up at the magnificent, regal sandstone escarpments that envelope and border Wolgan Valley. You really feel like you are in a real life water colour painting with an ever changing palette reflecting the whims of the clouds, weather, and time of the day.

I can only imagine how many artists have been inspired in the past and will have their creativity ignited in the future when in these surroundings.

DINING

All produce for guests at Wolgan is brought in from within a 160km radius – underlining a commitment to supporting local farmers and businesses.

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Private picnics can be enjoyed across the property

The food and beverage options are spot on – all meals are taken in different dining venues throughout The Homestead.

The Wolgan Dining Room, blessed with wonderful valley views, hosts daily breakfast and dinner to a level of perfection and class one would expect from the One&Only Resorts. Lunch in the Country Kitchen, located on the lower floor of the Homestead, was a daily highlight – I am a huge fan of the Ploughman’s Lunch and this was the best I have ever had. The home-made sausage rolls were a hit with the family – the lunch menu in general perfect for a family on the go in the beautiful countryside.

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Wolgan Valley showcases the best in local produce

ACTIVITIES

The highlight of Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is the comprehensive range of activities and experiences on offer and how well suited this property is for family and in particular multi-generational travel.

There are three activity tiers to choose from: scheduled at no charge, signature, and private touring at cost.

While we were in the Spa (more about this in a moment), our kids enjoyed a ‘Wolgan Ranger’ activity: a small 4WD escort around part of the property seeking out wildlife like kangaroos, wallaroos and wombats, and discovering remnants of a tree that had only days earlier been struck by lightning (the kids are still talking about this).

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A river running through Wolgan Valley’s 7,000 acre reserve

Wolgan Valley is nature at its best – raw, honest and educational.

The highlight was a 3 hour ‘All Terrain Aussie Adventure’ where guests are escorted to the fringe of the property on all terrain vehicles. There we ‘made camp’ by a small river, lit a fire, made  damper, and brewed some billy tea over the open flames. Once done we made our way home in the company of hundreds of kangaroos jumping around us.

I haven’t had this sort of connection with the land and its animals since Northern Africa many years ago.

SPA

After a hard day getting your country on the Spa at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is a must. There are six secluded, double treatment rooms all offering a magical Australian spa experience in one of the country’s most beautiful surroundings imaginable. Alternatively, treatments can be arranged in the comfort and privacy of your accommodation.

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One of six secluded treatment rooms

The Spa offers an expansive menu: face therapies, body rituals, a host of massages, and signature experiences including a four hour sunset ritual treatment.

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Wolgan Valley uses chemical free products made by Sodashi

For guests wanting a more active experience, there is a postcard perfect pool, fitness centre, all-weather tennis courts, and of course horses and bikes. This resort caters for all whims and wants.

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is the perfect destination for Australian and International luxury travellers wanting a true Australian country experience with all the trimmings.

Wolgan delivered on all fronts when it came to looking after children. Nothing was too difficult – the focus was exclusively on making sure all guests, regardless of age, had the best experience at all times.

We can’t wait to return.

 Book with us for the following amenities:

  • Daily full breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • $100 USD Equivalent Resort or Hotel credit
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

COMBINE

Imagine combining this country experience with One&Only Hayman Island (Barrier Reef) in the Whitsunday Islands, Queensland?

Contact us for the ultimate One&Only Australia Resorts combined package. The ultimate Australian luxury experience awaits.

Uber-Mexican Style at the One&Only Palmilla

HOOD: Palmilla, Los Cabos, Mexico
VIBE: Serene with a twist of energy and fun
PROPERTY SIZE: 173 guestrooms
ROOM STYLE: Elegant with Mexican accents
WE LOVE: the service standards, the Mexican flavours including the coconut margaritas!
WORDS BY: Anthony Goldman

From the moment we drove into the porte-cochère, we know we were in for a special experience. Our welcome playful popsicles set the tone for this luxurious Mexican sojourn in this exclusive hideaway. 

Our room was spacious and had all the amenities one would expect at one of the world’s top resort locations. Very tasteful with Mexican old-style accents and handicrafts scattered throughout. One feels an interior decorator had the time of their life when commissioning the rooms. All guest rooms here have views towards the sea, offering wonderful views of the Pacific Ocean or the Sea of Cortez from a private balcony.

Our personal butler welcomed us to the resort, complete with tequila, fresh fruit and evening canapés delivered to the room.  He was always there to assist with reservations, tour arrangements and anything else that tickles your fancy.

The food here was excellent. We ate at Agua by Larbi which features the renowned Mexican cuisine of the award-winning Executive Chef Larbi Dahrouch. A blend of Mexican and Moroccan flavours provide a party for your taste buds.

The signature guacamole and hummus washed down with a chilled coconut margarita is a must!

The refresh after Hurricane Odile in 2014 destroyed parts of the hotel and allowed One&Only Palmilla to welcome guests back to a resort with a number of new elements, including the new steakhouse, SEARED created in collaboration with Jean-Georges Vongerichten, completely refurbished guest rooms and suites, and new outdoor lounging areas with panoramic ocean views.

The service was outstanding, complete with pool butlers, refreshing our iced water and facial spray. If you’re looking for a special experience, only 2.5 hours flight from LAX, consider One&Only Palmilla. Your little Mexico experience as close to home as you can get.

AMENITIES: (book with us for)

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Continental breakfast daily, for up to two in room guests
  • 30 minute Virtuoso Exclusive Spa Experiences per booking (One per person)
  • A set of Aromatherapy Candles (His & Hers)
  • Early check-in/late check-out – subject to availability

Wonderful Whitsundays!

The beautiful Whitsunday Islands in Queensland have always been a favourite of mine and I have been lucky enough to visit many times over the years. I was very fortunate to visit the magnificent qualia on Hamilton Island and the One&Only Hayman Island a couple of weeks ago for a few days and I am still in awe of the experience. Continue reading