Wolgan Valley Eco Resort & Spa

Wolgan Valley Eco Resort & Spa

Sydney, Australia


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 comprising 30 Deluxe Chalets with swimming pools, two Family Chalets with proportionally larger swimming pools and one Presidential Suite with full-length swimming pool.
Guest Facilities Building housing the 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.
Recreational Facilities include a communal Swimming Pool with a Pool Terrace.
Day Spa with 4 single treatment rooms, 1 couples’ Treatment Room, Rasul Therapy, Wet-Treatment Room, indoor Jacuzzi, Gym, Juice Bar, Mani-Pedi Salon, Spa-Shop,Sauna, Steam Room and Ice Pool.

After the success and global recognition of the Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the client (Emirates) ventured forward with their second flagship resort based on the same concept and ideologies of the original, only this time the chose location was close to the Blue Mountains on the outskirts of Sydney, Australia. Hence, the design of the Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley Resort  & Spa is inspired by the indigenous Australian architecture akin to the valley locale of the project.

Contextual Architecture

Sustainable Design

The development attempts to establish a language of architecture that is contextual to the area whilst sympathetic to the integration and protection of the environment. Individual chalets are reminiscent of Australian farmsteads complete with verandhas for the summers and real fires to stay warm in the winter.

Sustainable and location-sensitive design practices ensure the fenestration and orientation of the buildings utilise the sun movement wind flow patterns to the best; buildings are constructed with a locally sourced wood-frame and topped by pre-patinad coppers replacing the traditional tin-roof; the numerous Resort functions are broken up into individual structures connected by mountain-side pathways offering views of the valley. Across the resort’s master plan, each building is positioned strategically to harness the views and expanse of the valley, vistas and elevated viewing decks at important junctions along the pathway contribute to heightened awareness of the location.

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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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