JAX FAX is pleased to announce Luxe-FAX, our new luxury column for your high-end, discerning client. As a resource for agents working in the luxury market, we will show you destinations and properties that are unsurpassed in one way or another - whether it’s for their stunning aesthetics, impeccable service, memorable experiences, exciting adventures, world class cuisine, fine wines or innovative spas. Luxe-FAX will be scouting the world for the new, the hot and the extraordinary experiences saleable to your discriminating, well-traveled client. You may have heard of some of our picks whose names are synonymous with opulence, while others are not yet widely known, though equally outstanding. Luxe-FAX carefully curates the best of the best in ‘experiential luxury.’ True Luxury is in the details that create a special ambiance for your special client.
Australia, a destination always prized for its fantastic landscape and wildlife, is currently raising its luxury quotient with an increasing number of posh hotels and stunning nature lodges. Luxury Lodges of Australia (www.luxurylodgesofaustralia.com.au), consisting of 18 upscale properties in various locales, is an ideal way to explore the diversity and beauty of the country in the comfort of luxurious surroundings. Each of the four Luxury Lodges I visited, located near or within one of Australia’s National Parks, offers a uniquely different and impressive experience.
First, after a long flight, I recommend a stay at the 5-star Park Hyatt in Sydney (www.sydney.park.hyatt.com), right on the harbor with breathtaking views of the iconic opera house. Elegant and luxurious, it’s the perfect place for your clients to get some R & R before taking in the city’s famous sights and glamorous nightlife. Following an 11 month renovation, it recently reopened with stunning interiors. Earth tones and sleek contemporary decor are complemented by bespoke artwork, including striking Aboriginal paintings. With spacious suites, balconies, a rooftop heated pool, Jacuzzi, spa, and superb ‘The Dining Room’ Restaurant with waterfront views, it could be the best hotel in Sydney.
WOLGAN VALLEY RESORT & SPA
New South Wales
A three-hour drive from Sydney takes you through an expansive verdant landscape of sheep stations and charming small towns to Emirates-Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa. This luxurious lodge is set within its own private conservation and wildlife reserve in the Blue Mountain World Heritage Area. Each sumptuously decorated suite is actually a private house with its own living room, library, double-sided fireplace, indoor/outdoor swimming pool and huge veranda. It is classic country fabulous.
Wolgan delivers local, sustainable, world-class cuisine paired with fine wines. I dined on tasty barramundi, squab and duck with field mushroom, sweet corn and pumpkin followed by the enviable cheese course. Whether taking the regional food and wine tour of local artisan producers or exploring the stunning scenery by hiking, biking or horseback riding, you won’t be disappointed. Afternoon and nocturnal wildlife safaris afford an opportunity to see kangaroos with little joeys jumping out of their pouches, wallaroos, wallabies, wombats, possum and spotted tail quolls. View endless stars and the Southern Cross in the gorgeously black sky. For utmost relaxation, the spa offers treatments with indigenous bush oils.
An hour drive from Adelaide takes you to Australia’s famous wine region, The Barossa, where you’ll find The Louise, a lodge with cozy fireplaces and vineyard views. The draw here is the gourmet restaurant, Appellation, where contrary to traditional pairing, the food is matched to the wine. Chef Ryan Edwards wows the well-heeled crowd nightly with locally sourced produce and specialties such as oysters, lamb, Coorong Angus beef and exquisite wines.
The Barossa is renowned for its scenic countryside, top wine tastings and culinary delights. Saturday morning everyone heads to the farmers market to sample out-of-this-world cheese, lamb, poultry, charcuterie, delicacies, jams, baked goods and sweets. Then off to Hentley Farms and Seppelstfield for premier wine tasting and a gastronomic lunch at trendy eatery, Du Jour.
SOUTHERN OCEAN LODGE
A twenty-minute plane ride from Adelaide takes you to Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island - known as Australia’s Galapagos for its rugged beauty and abundant wildlife. Glass-walled suites and a sunken lounge offer amazing views of the ocean in this synthesis of nature and luxury.
Lodge adventures include watching the koalas dozing in eucalyptus trees, walking on the beach with sea lions, visiting a fur seal colony and a canapes-and-kangaroos outing at sundown. The cliff-top walk offers views of the southern sea that stretches to Antarctica. Afterward, relish a foot treatment using Li’Tya native botanicals at the spa.
Master chef extraordinaire Tim Bourke performs culinary magic with his local and seasonal menu. Everything, including the exceptional wine, is sourced locally from South Australia. Nightly, sublime Gawler River quail, yellowtail kingfish, Mt. Compass venison and island caught snapper with the freshest vegetables spiced to perfection transport guests to foodie heaven.
An hour plane ride from Cairns in Far North Queensland, Lizard Island is a secluded idyllic retreat located on the Great Barrier Reef. It is the ultimate way to experience this wonder of nature in true luxury. Recently renovated, chic suites and villas open right onto the clear blue water and pristine beach, striking the perfect balance of casual elegance and natural beauty. All meals are served al fresco at Osprey’s oceanfront restaurant featuring fresh seafood and local produce.
Pamper yourself at Azure Spa. Enjoy a boat tour and be dropped off at one of the island’s 24 private powdery white beaches with a gourmet picnic lunch. Take an excursion to dive or snorkel the dazzling Great Barrier Reef. Thrill at gorgeous coral, spectacularly colored tropical fish, eels, sharks and giant turtles. It doesn’t get any better than this!
Our Personal Guest (www.ourpersonalguest.com) is a local US-based travel specialist who can help you design the best itinerary in Australia for your high end clients. Based in Australia, Epic Private Journeys (www.epicprivatejour neys.com) can also help you arrange luxury vacations.