Our experience at the Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley (“Wolgan Valley”) started long before we had set foot in the doors of this magnificently beautiful property, which has been awarded as one of the best resorts in the world many times and over. A week prior to our arrival, I received a phone call form a softly spoken lady asking if we required any navigation assistance and if we have any special requirements. Now, the other travel bunnie has taken me to quite a few luxury hotels in the past five years, but never have I received a phone call, not even when we stayed at qualia.
Wolgan Valley had been on our list for a long, long time, before it was managed by One & Only, and the fact that the resort is now being managed by one of the world’s most prestigious hotel groups, only amplified our desire to visit the property. One December afternoon when the other travel bunnie picked me up from work, out of the blue he asked if I was interested in a little getaway to Wolgan Valley. Interested?! Are you serious?! If by interested he meant jumping up and down with excitement then yes, one could say that I was interested.
The other travel bunnie took a week off from work in January and after an hour-long flight, we arrived in Sydney, where we stayed a fews nights at The Langham and ate to our tummies content. The drive from Sydney to the Blue Mountains was pleasant and quite picturesque. Three hours later, we found ourselves in our rented Audi at the gate of the luxe spa resort set on a 7000 acre nature reserve where our arrival was expected. We were lead to a relaxation room before being picked up by the resort’s olive green Land Rover Defender to drive us to the main homestead.
The price tag for a one night accomodation for a Heritage Villa isn’t cheap at $2,300AUD, but it does include all meals, minibar, beverages (with some exclusions) and two nature based activities per day. After checking in, we were given a tour of the main homestead before heading downstairs to The Country Kitchen for a light lunch, which involved some deliciously marinated kingfish, sourdough bruschetta with roasted grapes with thyme and fresh ricotta, followed by twice cooked lamb ribs with roasted eggplants, Asian greens and nam jim dressing, and then of course, desserts.
We were driven to our villa in a golf buggy. The villa, inspired by Australia’s Federation period architectural style was spacious and well appointed, offering a sweeping view of the Wolgan Valley landscape. In the bathroom, a sizeable bathtub was located next to a window providing the opportunity to see cute bunnies and kangaroos hopping around on the green grass, while relaxing in a bubble bath. Equipped with a double vanity, stone slated shower with a glass ceiling and Sodashi bath products, the bathroom was a dream, just as the rest of the villa was. Next to our bedroom, was a walk in closet big enough for Minibun George’s cot and still had plenty of room for me to play hide and seek. The most impressive feature of the villa, was the private indoor swimming pool that can be transformed into an outdoor sanctuary when you ask the housekeeper to open the up the sliding doors which undoubtedly was where we spent a lot of time (I even brought my own blow up flamingo). I can still recall lazing in the pool looking out at the sun setting on the surrounding mountains before falling away into the distance.
That evening after dinner, an accident occurred involving Minibun George in our villa. I felt like my body just froze but my brain was running a thousand miles an hour and yet I still didn’t know what to do. I dialled the number for reception and after one ring, it was answered. I explained the situation and within minutes, a well dressed gentleman arrived at our doorstep. I vaguely remember his name being Jake, but I wasn’t in the right state of mind to register any new information in my head. For the next few hours, the team at the resort showed us enormous amount of care and support. Whilst I don’t want to go into the details, I felt like the entire hotel team went above and beyond to be there for us.
Breakfast at the The Wolgan Dining Room was à la carte with buffet. The buttermilk pancakes with banana, maple syrup, cinnamon, honeycomb mascarpone was definitely my favourite breakfast option. Dinner is a three-course affair with beautifully presented options aplenty such as sugar cured ocean trout with squid ink, marinated vegetables, smoked eel, and Mandatory Creek venison with parsnip puree and spätzle. The settings for both are located in the main dining room where a verity of indoor and outdoor seating options are available. As always, the wait staff were attentive, informative and never overbearing. The General Manager can often be seen in the public areas mingling with staff and checking in on us a number of times during our stay to make sure that Minibun George was feeling well.
During our stay, we fed horses, visited the 1832 Heritage Homestead and the kitchen garden, trekked through pristine creeks and native bushland, took photos of kangaroos and wombats, lazed by the pool to soak up the sun. It was wonderful. We were initially worried that Minibun George might get bored on the trip, but the resort is extremely children friendly with daily bespoke activities as well as a play room dedicated for the little ones. The main hotel pool and use of pushbikes located at each villa were also big favourites for George. On our last night after we put Minibun George to bed, we cuddled up and sat by the double-sided fire place watching the flames dance between the logs, mesmerised by the understated luxury of this place.
It was our first One & Only experience and we can say that it won’t be our last.
Bunnies’ Travel Notes
Perks that we loved: absolutely everything
Check-in/check-out times: 3pm - 11am (they are flexible subject to availability)
What we paid: $2,000AUD per night