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Emirates opens $115m Australia eco resort
December 2009 1325

The much-anticipated Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Australia’s first luxury conservation-based resort and Emirates Hotels & Resorts’ first development outside Dubai, has now opened its doors. The A$125 million ($115 million) project, built on the same principles as Emirates’ Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, combines the expectations of the high-end traveller with a commitment to social, ecological and environmental sustainability.

Wolgan Valley is on Australia’s Great Dividing Range between two national parks, and borders the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area forming the centrepiece for unique experiences and insights into Australia’s wildlife, history and cultural heritage. Occupying just two per cent of a 4,000-acre conservancy reserve, the resort actively protects its surrounding habitat and wildlife species while delivering the first-class standards expected from luxury resorts. It is the only resort in recent history to receive permission to be built adjacent to a World Heritage Area.

“Post our soft opening, the resort has received unbelievably positive feedback from travel agents and guests who have visited us. The resort hosted international media professionals and tour operators to familiarise them with the property, said Tony Williams, senior vice president for resorts and projects of the Emirates’ Hotels & Resorts division.

The resort has welcomed guests primarily from local markets like Sydney, but with a major marketing and sales operation in Europe, Williams is confident that guest numbers from these markets will increase in the near future. “The European and American guests are slightly resistant to book into a brand new property, until they have a complete feedback.

Other major markets are the Middle East, Japan as well as Asia. December is already looking positive in terms of occupancies and we expect support from the local market to increase from January to March 2010,” he added.

“Middle Eastern guests are popular in Australia and with the resort now featured in our Emirates Holidays brochures; we expect to see a huge increase in bookings, especially over summer next year. Our partner, Leading Hotels of the World will also have the property featured on its booking portals soon.”

Australia was a natural choice for Emirates Hotels & Resorts to open its first overseas property, given Emirates’ large commitment to the country with flight support and frequencies. “Moreover I believe that with Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, we can now offer a product with a combination of location, luxury, privacy and conservation values, unparalleled in Australia. The property will also contribute to the country’s prospects for developing conservation-based, luxury tourism,” added Williams. 

Wolgan living room

This secluded resort features 40 individual suites for a maximum of 90 guests,  surrounded by private verandahs, each with its own indoor / outdoor swimming pool, separate living and bedroom areas and luxurious en-suite bathrooms. Its architecture is reminiscent of traditional rural Australian homesteads.

Guests can indulge in various activities including guided walks to discover wildlife in its natural habitat, four-wheel drive safaris, horse-riding adventures as well as visits to the Wollemi Pine Grove. Catering to families, the resort welcomes younger guests and offers a range of nature-based activities for older children, and these can be conducted either as a family group or for a group of children under supervision.

Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa also incorporates the ‘Timeless Spa’ branded facility. The spa concepts focus on natural products and the provision of holistic treatments which revitalise the body and enhance relaxation.

“We believe that sustainability and luxury go hand-in-hand. Our private resort, with its low density guest traffic will not only immediately contribute to the environment, but also gives us an opportunity to offer higher levels of service,” said Williams. “Arab travellers have naturally migrated to resorts that offer a far more comfortable and personalised experience,” he added.

The resort incorporates several ecologically sustainable design principles such as rainwater collection, full recycling of all domestic water, heat exchange technology to reduce electricity consumption and the use of solar panels for all hot water systems.

The Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa boasts a wide range of dining settings. Breakfast and dinner are served in the magnificent Wolgan Dining Room in the Main Homestead. This federation-style building also features The Country Kitchen, the Valley Bar and Terrace, a walk-in wine cellar and the private dining Creekside Room.

Opening rates valid until March 31, 2010 are from $1,803 for a Heritage suite to $3,236 for a Wollemi suite and $5,089 for a Wolgan Suite. All rates are per suite per night, on a full board basis with two nature-based activities per person daily.

To celebrate its opening, the resort is offering a ‘pay 2 stay 3’ promotion valid until December 23, 2009. In addition, guests staying for a minimum of three nights at Wolgan Valley until December 31, 2009 will have the opportunity to enter a competition, where they can win a five-day stay for two people on a full board basis at Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa in Dubai.

The prize also includes two first class return tickets with Emirates from anywhere within its global network, private airport transfers, two treatments at the resort’s Timeless Spa and two leisure activities per day.

 The prize is valid until October 2010.

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