The drive into Wolgan Valley is all part of the decompression process. After three hours of cruising through the Blue Mountains and beyond, past grazing cattle and picturesque dams, you descend a steep and windy road into the valley. You can’t help but be struck by the magnificent Australianness of it all: the dense khaki scrub, Rosellas flitting between the gums and on either side, steep cliffs rise above you. They are craggy and golden-tinged, like they’ve been dipped in leatherbox honey. As you take in all this beauty, you can literally feel the urban stress dissipating from your body… shoulders drop, knots unfurl. You have arrived.
I had been anticipating this for weeks. Damien and I had left our Max with his grandparents for the night – for a very rare and special night away together. I had been invited to Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley to sample their spa and try the new Sodashi Samadara Illuminating Age-Defying Facial – a beautiful treatment that coincides with the launch of the brands delicious new Samadara Ultimate Age Defying Elixir. Wolgan Valley is one of Australia’s top luxury conservation-led resorts. The private and uber-luxurious property is on a vast 400 acre reserve and is where visiting millionaires and celebrities come to escape the paps and experience the Crocodile Dundee dream – all in five-star comfort, of course. Naturally, we are pretty excited.
The next stage of the induction involves shedding all of your worldly possessions. Well, not exactly…. but you leave your car in a carpark a few kms away and climb aboard the resort’s standard issue Landcruisers to navigate the creeks in full 4WD mode. It certainly adds to the feeling of transitioning, journeying into something so far from the world you’ve just come from. As you drive into the property you are hit with nature in full force: wildlife at every turn, the smell of the eucalyptus and this beautiful golden light bouncing off the mountains surrounding you. It’s ethereal and incredibly beautiful. The stuff Aussie Tourism commercials are made of. Once in the homestead, you’re given a glass of sparkling to ease into the check in process before being led to your private suite.
24 hours went by in a blur of rugged luxury. We kicked back in our palatial villa – complete with its own double-sided fireplace and seven metre indoor plunge pool. We went for long walks around the property among friendly wallaroos and wombats, and rode our bikes to and from the homestead where we feasted on the most spectacular meals. After dinner, the cheese room was like a religious experience (or maybe it was just one too many dessert wines) and breakfast was similarly impressive with a serving of Borodell Truffled eggs that very nearly changed my life.
And finally, the piece de resistance: the spa. Tenneille, who was my therapist and the spa manager welcomed me, gave me a tea, then led me into a treatment room with postcard views out to the valley. As if on cue, a little bunny hopped into view. Inside, it’s all peaceful shades of cream, eggshell and warm teak overtones with a huge stone geisha tub and a deliciously soft treatment bed. Tenneille cleansed my skin with the most incredible smelling clay cleanser and did a warm compresses with citrus-spiked oils to open my pores and exfoliate my skin. “This facial is oxygenating and brightening and it uses the new intensive Elixir which is the ultimate age-defying product,” she explained, all the while expertly massaging my skin, pummeling out the knots that live just below the surface.
"All Samadara products contain rose quartz water, which is calming and is hydrosol meaning it can work deeper into the skin. The Elixir has about 19 different ingredients in it and has been five years in the making. Since it launched in May, it’s been incredibly popular, it’s sold out everywhere. It contains gotu kola, a type of white tea which his the highest antioxidant that energises everything and arnica which is soothing,” said Tenneille, before she layered some more deliciousness on my face. It smelt like going for a bushwalk after the rain. When she finished I could actually feel my skin zinging with happiness. I examined it in the mirror and it was all glowy and hydrated. This is a very nourishing, calming facial - perfect for stressed skins (and souls). At the counter before I left, I had a little play with the Sodashi range. I love that the Samadara cream and eye cream come with little rose quartz crystals and a booklet which explains how to massage the product into the skin. And with that, it was checkout time, and time to go back to the real world. At least I was doing it with good skin.
Review by Sigourney Cantelo
2600 Wolgan Rd
Wolgan Valley NSW 2790
(02) 9290 9733