The construction of the Wolgan Valley Resort &
Spa, Emirates’ first luxury conservation-based resort outside
Dubai, in the heart of Australia’s Blue Mountains World Heritage
Area, is reaching completion.
“We are well on schedule for
our October 1st soft opening,” said Joost Heymeijer, General Manager,
Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa. “We have reached that very satisfying
point in the development when the hard construction work is behind
us and the focus shifts onto detail, quality finishing and
preparation for operations.”
With the resort’s electrical
and water systems completed, the emphasis is now on each suite’s
fit-out and interior design. Half of the one-bedroom suites are
already fully furnished, and the remainder will be completed by
the end of August. Work is well under way on the Main Homestead,
which will be the social centre of the resort. The main pool area
and gymnasium, as well as the resort’s luxury Timeless Spa, will
be completed by the end of this month.
Built on the same
principles as Emirates’ acclaimed
Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa in
Dubai, the resort is fully integrated into its environment. It
incorporates as many Ecologically Sustainable Design principles as
possible, including 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 resort has over 100 solar-energy units, significantly reducing
its energy consumption and resources footprint.
measures aimed at reducing the resort’s carbon footprint include
efficient room orientation to reduce heating and cooling
requirements, modern insulation envelopes and wide traditional
verandas, which increase airflow around and through the buildings.
The resort even makes use of traditional windmills instead of
natural and recycled materials such as sandstone and timber were
sourced locally within a 100-km radius around the property. Most
of the tradesmen, craftsmen and sub-contractors were employed
locally. This approach not only assisted the growth in the local
economy at a time when this was most needed, but it also
significantly reduced the construction’s carbon footprint.
Emirates’ Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa has been fully committed to
supporting regional artisans, and most of the furniture and
artwork were commissioned and sourced locally.
furniture pieces were manufactured in regional New South Wales,
using superb Australian hardwoods, much of it recycled.
Local carpenters were commissioned to create The Wolgan Range, the
resort’s signature furniture collection. Fallen ‘oldwood’
eucalyptus trees on the reserve were milled to create unique
furniture pieces, while local ironsmiths created the resort’s lamp
fittings and chandeliers.
From an environment and
conservation perspective, landscaping efforts in and around the
resort have also been in place from the start of the resort
development. A two-year programme for the removal of all invasive
and damaging noxious plants from the property was undertaken.
Grass has been seeded and 25,000 trees are being planted, using
seeds from native species collected onsite and grown at a local
nursery in Lithgow.
This ambitious tree-planting programme
has been made possible by the support of local volunteers and an
international student volunteer organisation, with over 60
students volunteering time in June and July to assist with the
resort’s conservation efforts. Planting is well on target, with
over 20,000 trees planted since the beginning of June.
4,000 acres of land dedicated as a wildlife reserve and bordered
by two of Australia’s most prominent National Parks, the Wolgan
conservancy project re-establishes and secures a future for many
of the region’s indigenous and endangered species, which have been
under critical pressure from introduced flora and feral predators.
Almost 40 km of barbed wired fencing were removed from the
property to reduce wildlife being fatally snared while attempting
to jump or pass under the fence. Wildlife corridors are now being
established in partnership with local conservation organisations
to support native wildlife movements around the property and into
adjoining World Heritage Areas. A 50 hectare feral-free area has
been secured to protect the smaller, more vulnerable species.
During the construction phase, Emirates worked with local and
state conservation organisations to address their concerns on the
creation of feral-free areas. Enormous efforts have been made in
the area of conservation, ensuring that all contractors on site
received extensive training on how to prevent environmental damage
and protect the local fauna and flora.
“In terms of
wildlife diversity, we’re already starting to see the results of
our efforts, with increases in the density and movement of
wallabies and wallaroo populations into the valley,” said Joost
“The possibility to discover rare
Australian wildlife, free-roaming in its natural habitat, will be
a major drawcard for Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, especially with
overseas visitors,” he added. “Local and international guests and
their families will be able to immerse themselves into an
authentic and meaningful experience – all within the comfort and
understated luxury of world-class facilities.”
Valley Resort & Spa is one of the only resorts in recent history to
receive permission to be built within a World Heritage Area.
Following some of the most rigorous legislation and environmental
controls in the world, this project is of extraordinary
significance, not just within Australia but on a global level as
The resort adheres to World Heritage Committee
standards and has exceeded the minimum requirements of
construction controls imposed by both State and Federal Agencies –
positioning Emirates as the only foreign investor carrier with
such level of commitment to Australia.
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