Inside Australia’s best resort, Wolgan Valley
We ride our bicycles towards the morning mist as it rises through scrappy eucalypt tress and parched grasses. Anywhere else, this rugged landscape would make you feel small, insignificant. But here at Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa it’s the tiny details that will leave you feeling like a king.The luxury resort set over 1600 hectares near Lithgow in the Blue Mountains has just been named the number one resort in Australia by travellers on Trip Advisor. It’s an award they take very seriously. It’s an award earned through focusing on the smallest of details and making sure they are all just right. Over lunch in the Country Kitchen Wolgan Valley general manager Joost Heymeijer spots an open balcony door on one of the 40 villa suites. It shouldn’t be open with the wind picking up he says and radios for maintenance to come and close it before the wind pulls the hinges. The door is at least 500m away. We can’t even see it. Heymeijer is known for doing this. He started his hotel training at age 11 as a dish boy before becoming a waiter, training as a chef and working his way right up to the top of hotels in Europe and Australia. He’s been with the resort for eight years — it’s been open for four.
Staff say Heymeijer straightens tables as he walks through the restaurant and can spot a blemish not visible to any guest’s eye. You could say this resort is his baby — he knows when one hair is out of place. That hair will be fixed.So it’s no surprise that the rooms here are immaculate. Every single one of the 40 suites has its own indoor private pool — the smallest of which is 7m by 2.5m. The pool is heated with solar power to 27C between 6am and 11pm.In the lounge room an open gas fireplace is set into sandstone. An old map of the valley slides up to reveal a flat screen TV that can be angled to face anywhere in the room or even the adjoining balcony. The minibar has a coffee machine that not only warms the milk, but cools it for iced coffees.In the bathroom the attention to detail — to meeting and exceeding every guests’ desires — is most apparent. Here the toilet paper is not just folded into attractive little triangles — it’s folded and stamped down with Wolgan Valley’s signature sticker — the Wollemi pine. A deep recessed bath sits under the window offering a view of kangaroos, wallabies and wallaroos bounding across the property at dusk and dawn.
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