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Hotel Highlights

  • Native bushland and iconic Blue Mountains escarpment as far as the eye can see
  • Emirates' signature Timeless Spa – for an hour, a morning or the whole day
  • Purpose-built equestrian centre with top-notch nags

Overview

RUNNER-UP: THE ECO AWARD – SMITH HOTEL AWARDS 2013

The Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa 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

Here's what you get for booking Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa with us:

A bottle of local Orange or Mudgee wine on arrival. Lucky GoldSmiths also get a nine-course degustation dinner, matched with local wines

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa

Spring sensation package Summer retreat package 'Three-night sensation' 'Extend that escape '

Facilities

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

Need To Know

Rooms

40 suites, 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 $1173.10 (AU$1,345), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Rates include all meals with non-alcoholic drinks and select regional wines and beer, 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 suites sit demurely in a long, non-view-hogging line. Ask for one-bedroom Heritage Suites 17 or 41 at either end of the ‘street’ for maximum privacy. The three secluded two-bedroom Wollemi Suites and the sole three-bedroom Wolgan Suite 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 suite balconies and a designated area of the main homestead balcony.

Children

Welcome, with brilliant bespoke activities available, although Wolgan is more geared to grown-ups. Baby cribs are free and extra beds for older kids can be added to suites for AU$350 a night. Babysitting costs AU$40 an hour.

Read more

Pet‐friendly

Pets are not permitted, in order to protect native animals.

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 & Drink

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

Hotel Restaurant

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.

Hotel 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; an AU$12 surcharge a room applies to each order. Expect everything from crispy lobster spring rolls to Wolgan Angus beef burgers with hand-cut fries.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Casual ensembles for dinner, loose linens for the spa and moleskins for riding.

Top table

Tables by either of the central fireplaces and at the window at the bar end of the Dining Room are the most seductive spots. In summer, eating out on the veranda is the way to go.

Local Guide

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Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa Hotel - Blue Mountains - Australia
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa 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 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, Vulcans (+61 (0)2 4787 6899) serves up wood-fired pizzas and roasts from renowned chef Phillip Searle, and 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).

+ Enlarge
No expanse spared

Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa

2600 Wolgan Valley Road, Blue Mountains, NSW 2790, Australia

Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa is located in a private nature and conservation reserve in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, and can be reached from Sydney in less than three hours by car.

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, Smith can arrange transfers to and from the hotel; just ask the Travel Team for more information.

Other

If you don't fancy the winding drive up the mountains, Sydney Helitours (www.sydneyhelitours.com.au) can chopper you into the valley, from AU$1,660 one way for two rising to AU$4,005 for four to six people. The 45-minute helicopter flight from Sydney Airport takes in the Sydney CBD, Harbour Bridge and Opera House before heading west towards the Blue Mountains and Wolgan Valley. Combination packages flying in and driving out, or vice versa, are also yours to command.

Reviews

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

Anonymous review

by Andrew Upton , Directing talent

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 ee…
Read more

Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa

Anonymous review by Andrew Upton, Directing talent

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

Reviews of Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked everything: the folk at Wolgan have got it just perfect. I will definitely return for another stay.

Don’t expect

They offer in-house movies so we thought would be good to snuggle up in front of the fire in the evening, but the service did not work for the entire three days we were there. Given there is nothing else to do at night in winter but chill, it was a pity… but not enough of an issue to take anything from the fantastic time we had. The solution was to take time over the fantastic degustation dinners instead.

Rating: 10/10 stars