the Blue Mountains in NSW, location of the Emirates One and Only Wolgan Valley Eco Resort

Wolgan Valley Eco Resort Master Plan

Wolgan Valley Eco Resort Master Plan

New South Wales (NSW), Australia


New South Wales (NSW), Australia

Project Facts

Project Al Maha Wolgan Valley
Client Emirates
Built-up-Area N/a
Services Masterplanning, Architectural Concept and Preliminary Design, Landscape Concept and Preliminary Design, Interior Design Concept.
Status Complete, 2008
Budget Undisclosed

Project Features

Guest Accommodation 30 Deluxe Chalets with Swimming Pools. Two Family Chalets with proportionally larger Swimming Pools. One Presidential Suite with full-length Swimming Pool. 

Guest Facilities including Guest Reception, Front Office, Souvenir Shop with Store, Male & Female Salons, Library/ Boardroom, Tea Salon, Prayer Room, Main Dining Restaurant, Pre-Dinner Bar and a Gym.

Recreation Communal Swimming Pool with an Outdoor Pool Majlis, Day Spa with 4 individual treatment rooms, 1 couples’

Spa Treatment Room, Rasul Therapy, Wet-Treatment Room, indoor Jacuzzi, Gym, Juice Bar, Mani-Pedi Salon, Spa-Shop, Sauna, Steam Room and Ice Pool.

The masterplan of the Emirates One and Only Wolgan Valley Eco-Resort and Spa nestled in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales (NSW), Australia follows in the footstep of Emirate’s Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa, master-planned 5 years earlier. Both locations are similar in that they are remotely located away from the city so must be self-sustaining and the operational circulations must consider this important parameter; both locations having majestic views and sit in highly sensitive landscapes – all to be captured for enhancing guest experience.

As the second of the planned chain of exclusive properties to be developed by Emirates, it was important to maintain an organisational guest circulation pattern as the earlier Resort in Dubai to breed familiarity for returning guest across all existing and planned properties. Like before, a central building groups all main guest facilities from which branches are established to guest chalets Day Spa and other facilities, yet, unlike the shifting desert dunes in Dubai, the mountain range provided a more concrete topography to work with, a steeper incline across the site and 360-degrees panoramic views as well as better climate for outdoor experiences. Hence, while ensuring smooth hotel operations, the driving factor for the site organisation is to enrich guest experience by bringing them into contact with nature as much as possible, heightening their senses and awareness of the exclusivity of the location as they travel between their chalet and the numerous guest facilities.

Chalets are organised clusters in a stepping arrangement following the slope allowing each to overlook the other for uninterrupted views from within the chalets and connected to the main guest facilities with looping pathways. Additional meandering paths guide guest to specific vantage points appreciate the depth and scale of the breath-taking scenery all around.

The day Spa and Library are separated and reach by a common pathway that branches to separate buildings. The library is situated at a higher elevation while the Spa at a lower level, the approach to which is set up to experience a framed view of the infinity-edge pool and beyond of the Blue Mountains.

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With over 40 years of experience in project and construction management across the region, Al-Kayyalli has worked in senior-management level roles with some of the biggest real-estate development companies across the Gulf region.

Specialised in working on complete project lifecycle, Al-Kayyalli’s has wide-reaching experience in all stages of project development and delivery ranging from initial preliminary and feasibility studies, financial and time planning, costing and procurement, value engineering, construction supervision and management to commissioning and testing before final handover.

Before joining Rashid Taqui Architects and Engineers, Al Kayyalli was the CEO of the Saudi Qitaf al Ardah Development Real Estate Co. (Al Nahda & Al Omar Group) where he re-structured the company to fully develop in-house turnkey developments through the establishment of an in-house project management and procurement office.

Prior to which, he was the Vice President Project Management and Engineering of Al-Oula International-Amar International Real Estate where Al Kayyalli successfully implemented major investment programs for the firm’s operations in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, as turnkey solutions tailored to the findings of market analysis studies.

Earlier, Al-Kayyali was the Director of Development & Project Management for Al-Nahdi Group (KSA) and KCMCC(Kuwait Commercial Market Company), and Director/ Construction Manager for a number of key contracting firms including Al-Jafr Trading and Contracting Co. (KSA), Ali & Fouad Al-Ghanim Co. (Kuwait), Al-Habtoor Engineering (UAE), Al-Muhairy Contracting Co. (UAE) and Al-Hani Construction & Trading Bureau (Kuwait).


Born and educated in the United Kingdom, Rula Hannoun completed her undergraduate in anthropology at the University of Manchester in 1979 prior to completing her postgraduate MBA (Finance) at the Manchester School of Business in 1981.

Hannoun’s professional career began at the First National Bank of Chicago, Corporate Finance division before moving to Project Finance, Oil and Gas. As the Deputy Head of the Oil and Gas division for EMEA at 26, Hannoun became the youngest Vice President in the history of the bank.

After marrying and relocating to Dubai, Hannoun left the banking sector in 1985 to raise her family. She resumed her professional career in the mid-90s as Advisor to the Economic Department of Dubai, spearheading the establishment of Dubai Internet City – the second and one of the most successful free zones in Dubai.

With an inherent passion of architecture and design and a key eye for business, in 1999 Hannoun established the firm Tala Furniture, dedicated to providing quality furniture to the booming hospitality sector across the Gulf and North Africa. Nearly two decades later the company is recognised as one of the leading suppliers of complete hotel interior products, operates 3 factories in CEBU, China and Indonesia and boasts over 120 professional staff focused on project management, technical services, manufacturing, sourcing and quality control.

A member of the Young President’s Organisation (YPO) and an active fundraiser, Hannoun has dedicated much of her personal life to raising awareness for children with special needs. She was instrumental in the establishment of Asseef School (Dubai Centre for Special Needs) in the late 80s, the first special needs school in Dubai to receive funding from the late HH Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and remains equally diligent in her quest today, to protect the rights of the children without a voice.


With near 30 years of experience in the design, management and delivery of complex architectural projects, Rashid Taqui’s portfolio spans multiple sectors in Australia, Greece, Kenya, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UK, and the UAE.

Taqui has a Master’s in International Architecture Studies from the University of Huddersfield (UK), and two theses to his credit: The UAE – Searching for a Lost Identity, and The National Museum in Al Ain, UAE.

Starting his career in 1996 as a fresh graduate at German firm Schuster Pechtold’s Dubai office, he won instant appreciation and international applause for conceptualising and designing the multi-award-winning Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa – the first eco-resort in the Middle East attributed to having changed the discourse of architecture in the UAE. His involvement in other ‘firsts’ for the region include the establishing a voice for the architects and designers by the launching Dubai’s premier and the regions’ leading architectural journal, Architecture Plus, shaping the annual architectural networking event, Cityscape and founding the international awards for architecture and design in the UAE.

Taqui’s broad-ranging experience covers urban planning projects, resorts and hotels, palatial residences, shopping malls, airports, schools, banks, offices and varied public and cultural facilities, and undertaken while holding senior positions in the UAE offices of German multi-disciplinary firm Kling Consult, civil engineering firm Italconsult SPA, and architectural firm Incorporated Consultants (Conin).

Rashid Taqui Architects and Engineers, established in 2008, is his personal brand that specialises in contextually authentic, eco-aware architecture. He ardently advocates integrity and sustainability while targeting high yields for stakeholders through innovative design, investment opportunities, and value engineering.

Taqui often speaks at public events and writes regularly for local publications. His interests include fitness, films, food, and travel.

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