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Luxury Hotel Review: Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, NSW

By: Joanna Hall
 
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Where Is It: Wolgan Valley, just a few hours west of Sydney.

 

Why Go: An isolated, tranquil location coupled with impressive accommodation.

 

Best For: Couples seeking quiet romance, but the resort also caters to families.

 

Three Things We Loved: The private pools, the dining, the expansive countryside.

 

The Ultimate Factor: Isolation with all mod cons and more.

 

Overview:

 

It's one of those exclusive resorts which everyone has heard of; owned by the premium airline giant, Emirates, managed by the luxury hotel brand One&Only, and tucked away in a pristine valley just a few hours from Sydney. But as we discovered, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is much more than an idyllic venue for couples seeking a romantic getaway. For a start there's the property, and region's history, with Wolgan Valley's settlement traced back through just two families: the Walkers and the Webbs. The Walkers were the first to arrive, and they established a cattle outstation in the valley to service their main estate, Wallerawang. The homestead, which is still on the property, was built in 1832 from materials found almost entirely on site. Then, in 1929, the Webb family took over a three-year lease of the property, with it transferring to them fully in 1935, and remaining in their possession until 2006. There's also the environmental message. The resort was the first carboNZero certified hotel in the world, rated carbon neutral by carboNZero, an internationally accredited greenhouse gas program. The design and construction also incorporated many green building principles, including the use of solar power and extensive use of recycled building materials found on site including old timbers from a disused bridge, old rock and building stone, and thousands of old original steel fencing posts. For a romantic getaway, especially if you like the great outdoors and sweeping country vistas, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is ideal. From the moment you arrive you feel like a celebrity; after leaving the main drag and driving through kilometres of countryside, you leave your car at the entrance in a covered, secure area, and a 4WD arrives to transport you to the property. Although Wi-Fi is free and available throughout, there's no mobile reception. On arrival at the property your bags are swept away, and you check in; then a golf buggy driven by one of the amiable staff whisks you away to your very own slice of country paradise - your room. Then the real fun begins.

 

The Accommodation:

 

You don't have a room at this resort: you have a villa. The large, freestanding, lodge style accommodations have a variety of unique features, including their own indoor lap pool and expansive verandah. The majority of villas fall into the Heritage category, Federation style constructed in wood and stone, with sweeping views of the gardens and surrounding countryside, and ideal for couples looking for privacy and romance. The other accommodations include Wollemi Villas, with two bedrooms, and a huge Wolgan Villa, which is 410 square metres in size, with two bedrooms, a gourmet kitchen and a third guest room which could be used for staff or a nanny. And yes, kids are welcome at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley.

 

Where We Stayed:

 

Our accommodation was a Heritage Villa which is 83 square metres in size. The entrance leads into the living space, with a fully stocked fridge with cold drinks and beer, and a Nespresso machine. Everything, including the snacks, are included except for Champagne and any spirits (although both were reasonably priced). The living space is beautifully furnished in keeping with the Federation style; rich wood furniture, plush soft furnishings, and even glass blown light shades and neutral linens. Your private lap pool is to the right, extending down the full length of the building to the front veranda. Turn left as you enter the villa and you'll head into the sleeping space, the centrepiece of which is a large four poster bed. There's also a walk-in closet with a safe and vanity desk, and in both the sleeping and living areas have flat screen televisions, fireplaces and more. The bathroom features twin vanities, and a separate shower and bath. Toiletries are provided including items from the luxury Sodashi brand. The room comes with other perks. There are two mountain bikes with helmets on the front porch to use whenever you wish, binoculars for spotting wildlife and birds, a collection of books and DVDs, and a range of international TV channels with free movies on demand, should you tire of the great outdoors.

 

What Else Is There:

 

Dining is an integral part of the Wolgan Valley experience, and all your meals are included. Lunch is taken at the delightful Country Kitchen, a provedore-style venue which is part al fresco to take advantage of the views and good weather. It is open during the day with a menu of light meals and snacks, using many local ingredients such as olives, also cold pressed meats, cheeses, home baked bread and salads. Breakfast and dinner is served in the main building's Wolgan Dining Room, which is also the location of the Valley Bar and Terrace Lounge for a pre dinner drink. The Dining Room is a vast space with plenty of room between tables to allow for intimacy and quiet, and you can choose to dine on the veranda in good weather, or snuggle up by the cozy fireplace in winter. There is a restriction here on families with children under eight, who are invited to dine between 6pm and 7.30pm, but child minding can be arranged if desired. There's also an option for in-suite dining for a fee. The menu has a focus on local seasonal produce, and what's grown on the property, with something for everyone; it is fine dining at its best, with delectable wagyu steaks, organic chicken, seafood, fish and vegetarian options. Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley has a strong focus on both outdoor pursuits and its many conservation efforts. One is the protection of Australian flora and fauna; the owners have planted native plant species in key areas to restore the valley's natural balance and beauty, including the reintroduction of the famous Wollemi Pine, one of the most exciting botanical finds of the century. In fact, in-house tours you can take to get a real feeling for the place include the heritage tour, which tells the stories of the founding families, nature walks, and wildlife safaris in a 4WD or small bus to spot wildlife by day or night including wombats, kangaroos, wallabies and wallaroos. Wolgan Valley also has its own stables, so a trail ride of the property is an option, and if you really want to contribute you can participate in Conservation Hour, where you help the resort keep to its conservation goals such as tree planting, weed control, animal surveying and more. Equipment for this is supplied. There are also dedicated activities for children, and a range of non-inclusive activities can be arranged with local operators such as fly fishing, golf and tennis. And if you really feel like chilling out and doing nothing but enjoying the resort, it has a full-service spa on site, and a large swimming pool.

 

The Verdict:

 

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is the kind of property which will be on many people's bucket lists, a true retreat in the country far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and where you can truly wind down and relax. Even if the weather is inclement there is plenty to do, from a swim in your own private heated pool, to relaxing on your veranda reading a good book, or watching the scenery.  If you are feeling active, however, choose from the many activities which will both educate and entertain. There is something for everyone, besides the option to indulge and do nothing in style.

 

 
 

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FAST FACTS

 

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is located around two hours west of central Sydney, at 2600 Wolgan Road, Wolgan Valley (near Lithgow) NSW 2790, 1800 856 772, www.oneandonlyresorts.com.au.

 

 

 

 

 
 

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