Luxury Tent, Longitude 131˚, Yulara, Northern Territory
Longitude 131˚ has actually improved on perfection.
By Georgia Rickard
Published: 25 August, 2017
One of the world’s great glamping experiences, Longitude 131˚ in the Red Centre of Australia has been at the top of travel bucket lists for more than a decade – but now it’s even better. The ultra-luxurious tented hotel, hidden in the desert dunes at Uluru, this week unveiled several stylish upgrades, ramping up the glamour and offering a new addition to our Pinterest boards.
Wikipedia reckons the word 'glamping' gained widespread popularity in 2006, but Longitude 131˚ was ahead of the trend. The retreat – located in Australia’s hauntingly beautiful Red Centre – opened its doors back in 2003, quickly attracting Hollywood royalty such as Jerry Seinfeld and Nicole Kidman. It has also hosted real royalty when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (better known as Will and Kate, the future king and queen of England) stayed there in 2014.
The retreat has just 15 distinctive safari-style “tents”, each featuring custom-built furniture and joinery, a bespoke bar and artwork under ceilings of draped silk. However, it’s the panoramic surroundings that will truly blow you away. Simply press a button when you wake up and electronic blinds rise to reveal the world’s most famous rock, which changes colour throughout the day depending on the angle of the sun. It’s pretty special.
Waking up in heaven
Longitude’s now done even better, having just unveiled its new crown jewel – the Dune Pavilion. You’ll wake up to front-row views of Uluru (Ayers Rock) and its spectacular sister, the World Heritage-listed Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). This rock formation is so sacred to the local Aboriginal Anangu people that that most forms of photography there are banned. So we can’t show you much of what it looks like, but trust us when we say it’s simply awesome.
In any case, you’ll be hard-pressed to leave the Dune Pavilion. It features two bedrooms, a bespoke bar, private decks with daybeds, a private plunge pool and a luxury swag (Australian for 'sleeping bag') to relax in while stargazing. When you do venture out, guided hikes, personalised tours, glamorous dining experiences under the stars and more can be organised through the staff.
Two new pools and a fresh waterhole
Of course, every adventurer needs downtime, which is why you’ll also need to experience the new, dome-shaped spa at Longitude 131˚. Book in for a full body exfoliation or deep-tissue massage and enjoy a little bit of native Australia (every treatment is infused with native bush ingredients) while relaxing in one of the treatment rooms, which take architectural inspiration from traditional Aboriginal outback shelters known as wiltja.
Or perhaps you’d prefer to take a dip in one of the hotel pools? We’re particularly taken with the new dune-top plunge pool, which has its own 'help yourself' bar. Allocated hosts act like cocktail concierges (on hand to mix you a drink or fetch you a delightfully fluffy towel). After drying off, head to the hotel’s main hub to be fed and watered. The Dune House has a communal dining and lounge area, where exquisite multi-course meals are served. Specially commissioned major Aboriginal works provide the ambience and floor-to-ceiling windows frame that fabulous view. As the sun sets, sip a glass of premium Australian wine and admire Uluru’s spectacular light show as it unfolds in front of you. Cheers to that.
That’s pretty cool, but this is plain unusual.
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