Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Glamping in the shadow of Ayers Rock..


My front row seat to Uluru or the Ayers Rock in the red heart of Australia was the ultra stylish luxury tented property Longitude 131, with palatial tents named after famous  Australian pioneers or explorer in muted shades of beige and brown.


Voyages which owns the hotel claims to have the best environmental practice in the Australian tourist industry.  I hear that there was great care taken during construction-   most of the work was done by hand without using heavy earth moving equipment and care was taken to see that there were no sacred sites in this area. 


The tents are actually steel structures on stilts, with polyester roofs to reflect heat and rain. The ceiling dome supported by a tall pole has white flowing material billowing in graceful folds to give that illusion of camping.
I loved the contemporary colonial decor inspired by the luxury tented camps of Africa with  each room themed on a Outback Explorer with hand drawn maps, paintings, photographs and memorabilia dotting the walls.



The Dune House in the middle of the resort is the ‘living room’ of the resort a communal space where you can meet other guests or relax. Where you can lounge in comfy leather  couches the cosy library stocked with maps, books and games and have a few drinks or chat with friends.
All 15 rooms of the hotel look out into Uluru. The rooms have rustic stone floors, solar water heating and floor to ceiling glass doors that can be opened to let in the desert air with a mesh to keep out the creepy crawlies.






The room combines old world charm with the joys of technology with a I pad in every room loaded with Australian movies, books and games like monopoly as well as Bose speakers. The wardrobe and mini-bar have metal mesh-work doors which attempt to replicate early settlers meat chests. 

In keeping with the eco friendly motif of the resort. I find branded stainless steel bottles for carrying water with a Royal Doulton pottery urn for refills. The resort makes the maximum use of the contrast between the wildernesses outside the creature comforts inside. The bathroom has a large sink inspired by the watering troughs for horses of early Australians.


 The resort has no gym or spa- only a petite pool where you can soak with views of the red beauty. But the hotel offers myriad activities around the red centre ranging from walks and treks with a guide to explain the unique eco systems to a swish Table 131- a a candlelit five-course feast held in the desert under the stars.



 There is no television in the room: why on earth would you want one when the ultimate in room entertainment is of course watching the changing colours of the iconic rock change from deep russet to purplish black-  from sunset to sunrise from the artfully positioned king sized bed with white linen,. Even the bathroom offers views of the rock with an artfully placed sliding mirror.



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