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‘My Favourite Hotel’ review – Longitude 131°, Uluru, Australia

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Today, our ‘My Favourite Hotel’ review is from Uluru, Australia.  And it’s not a hotel room – it’s a ‘tented pavilion’!

We are currently running this reader-written feature to provide some positivity and inspiration to Head for PointsYou can find all of the ‘My Favourite Hotel’ reviews so far by clicking here.  This was scheduled to be a series of about 25 hotels, but a good response from readers means that we have commissioned another batch and are continuing the series.

Today’s hotel is Longitude 131°, a group of sixteen tented pavilions, literally overlooking the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Australia.  It is reader Linda’s favourite hotel and here is her review:

Overview

I have had the pleasure of visiting Uluru [Ayers Rock] in Australia many times over the past two decades. On each occasion I have been in awe of, and humbled by, the vastness of the landscape – the red colours and the shapes of the desert rock against a searing blue sky – and particularly by the care and respect with which the indigenous Anangu people of the area treat their natural environment.

review longitude 131 uluru australia hotel resort

My most recent visit, in September 2019, was easily the most memorable experience – the differentiating factor being my first stay at Longitude 131°.

Part of Baillie Lodges, a group of luxury Australian lodges, Longitude 131° comprises a group of sixteen tented pavilions, literally overlooking the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Stays at the lodge are all-inclusive and include a tailor-made itinerary designed to give guests a genuine experience of the area, known as the Red Centre, and often described as the spiritual heart of Australia.

Arrival and check-in

We arrived at Ayers Rock Airport at lunchtime on an early morning flight from Sydney ready to enjoy an ‘experience-packed’ two days. Along with two fellow guests we were taken to the Lodge by the Longitude 131° minibus.

Upon arrival we were shown to the Dune House, the central hub of the Lodge and home to the restaurant and bar with the most fantastic views overlooking the iconic star of the region – Uluru.

Just to put this view in some context, the primary purpose of a visit to the region is to see the natural wonder that is Uluru – a 873m high glorious red rock that started forming many millions of years ago. If you’re visiting the region and not staying at Longitude 131°, you will most likely be staying at one of the many accommodation options offered by the Ayers Rock Resort, some 20 km from the rock itself which meant you would have to travel each time you wanted a glimpse of Uluru. To have this icon as a continuous backdrop made our stay truly unforgettable.

With champagne in hand, Uluru in the background, and sitting comfortably in the Dune House bar our hosts talked us through our tailor-made itinerary. Even though we were only staying for two nights our itinerary was a busy one ensuring that we would have plenty of time to enjoy the special environment as well as fine dining along the way!

Our tent

Then it was off to inspect our ‘tent in the desert’. Each tented pavilion was a 63m2 luxury tent on stilts above the desert floor. When we opened the door and stepped into our pavilion the view from the floor to ceiling windows was just incredible – not only would we enjoy uninterrupted views of Uluru from the Dune House, but we’d be seeing it from the end of our bed!

review longitude 131 uluru australia hotel resort

The room itself was beautifully furnished, custom-designed from Australian designers with a very comfortable king size bed, lounge chairs, and art works by local indigenous artists.

review longitude 131 uluru australia hotel resort

On either side of the bed were open archways leading to the en-suite which featured a large rain shower. Between the en-suite and the bedroom was a well-stocked complimentary bar. Outside was a balcony, almost as big as the bedroom, with a double day bed, lounge chairs and a feature gas fireplace (more on this later).

review longitude 131 uluru australia hotel resort

Interestingly, on a table in the bedroom was what looked like a rolled up waxed cotton picnic blanket secured by leather straps. Hmm – didn’t know what to make of this but we would find out later that night.

Because of the heat of the desert in daytime, activities were mostly scheduled for early morning sunrise and early evening sunset. In Spring, the season we visited, this meant nice warm daytime sun and chilly mornings and evenings.

On each of the two evenings and two mornings of our stay we were treated to an ‘experience’. On the first evening we experienced a spectacular Uluru sunset, complete with champagne and elegant canapes, before being driven a short distance to enjoy dinner at Table 131 – an open air dining area among the dunes. We feasted on four delicious courses, accompanied by fine wines as we listened to the night sounds of the desert. Before dinner ended we were fascinated by the guided light tour of the Southern constellations narrated by Longitude’s resident star enthusiast.

What to do at Longitude 131°

Throughout the rest of our stay we were escorted on evening and morning walks – through the Walpa Gorge, with sheer rock walls rising on either side, viewing the distant domes of Kata Tjuta, and enjoying another sunset at the foot of Uluru with evening drinks and canapes. Each of the experiences was delivered by friendly, knowledgeable Longitude 131° guides sharing expert commentary.

During the daytime when we weren’t out and about we were able to enjoy the panoramic views and the refreshments at the outdoor Dune Top bar complete with loungers and an outdoor spa pool. Although we didn’t use it, the Kinara Spa at the Lodge offers a range of spa treatments and native beauty products.

review longitude 131 uluru australia hotel resort

Our dining experience at Longitude 131° throughout our visit was faultless. The menu was contemporary Australian with delights such as Paroo Kangaroo Loin – as well as other meats, fresh seafoods and salads – paired with wine, excellent desserts and coffee.

But, back to the rolled up picnic blanket in our pavilion! After our dinner under the stars on the first evening we were invited to return to our pavilion for a surprise on the balcony. The rolled up picnic blanket was actually an Australian swag – a very thick, warm and cozy double sleeping bag – which had been laid out neatly on the day bed on our balcony. The gas fire at the end of the bed had been lit and the flames were the only light on the terrace. A mini bar of brandy and coffee liqueur had been set up alongside the swag. I will never forget the experience of sipping brandy, in a swag, and gazing up at the stars. With nothing in my peripheral vision all I could see was night and stars – and I felt as though I were truly on the edge of the Earth.

Conclusion

At Longitude 131° the declared ethos of the venue is to “offer guests a genuine connection with the destination, its landscape, wildlife and community …. designed as a wholly sensory experience, a union of sights, scents and tastes that immerses guests in their surrounds. In this way, guests feel the essence and spirit of the destination, experienced from a luxurious base camp”. We were certainly not disappointed, in fact Longitude 131° exceeded our expectations. For an extra special trip to Uluru, Longitude 131° is a must.

If you want to find out more, the hotel’s website is here.

Booking

If you book via Bon Vivant, the Head for Points luxury hotel booking partner, you will receive special extra benefits.  These are:

  • One AUD $65 Spa Kinara Credit per suite and one AUD $65 Bespoke Experiences Credit per suite to be redeemed against guest adventure of choice during stay from the range of Longitude 131 operated Bespoke Experiences available
  • Early check-in / late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

The price you pay will be the same as the Best Available Rate on the hotel website.  You can contact Bon Vivant via this page of the Head for Points website.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (20)

  • Mikeact says:

    I agree, a bit different, especially out in the back of beyond. Worth a stay if in the area.

  • Liz says:

    We did it a much cheaper way 2 years ago. We booked a 3 day/2 night camping adventure. Picked up in Alice Springs, driven around in a big Merc truck with monster wheels – 14 of us on the tour from all over the world. Drove out to the Walpa Gorge in Kata Tjuta NP, then sunset at Uluru with bubbly and nibbles. Slept in a small square tent for 2 the first night. Day 2 – back to Uluru to walk the perimeter at sunrise which was also fantastic. Then drove to Kings Canyon and camped out under the stars in a swag bag around the camp fire – bucklet list item ticked off. Next morning a sunrise walk around Kings Canyon rim then the drive back to Alice Springs. Our meals were all cooked by a young German guy – all good wholesome food – nothing fancy. £500 all up for the 2 of us. A fantastic experience we will never forget and we’ve kept in touch with several people from the tour. We stayed an extra day in Alice Spring to do the Town Like Alice tour to the School of the Air, Flying Doctors and the Telepgraph Station.

  • Cat says:

    Oh wow! This is going on my bucket list. I doubt I’ll ever be able to justify that kind of price per night, but it’s going on the list nonetheless!

  • Sandra B says:

    That brings back many memories when as a single parent on a teaching exchange, with two teenagers in tow, arrived on a very small plane from Alice, thermals playing havoc with my breakfast. It was part of an east coast trip (yeah I know it’s the Red Centre) travelling by air onwards to Cairns/Port Douglas and Darwin. Told the kids it was the Ayers Rock Hilton when in fact it was a two night stay in a caravan eating from the rather expensive supermarket as everything was monopolised by the same group. Managed the champagne tour on Harleys but the observatory in a tent was incredible, seeing almost every planet including the rings of Saturn followed by lying on blankets literally watching the world turn round. Mesmerising. Disappointed two years later to find a campsite with street lighting causing light pollution so you had to drive quite far out to avoid, and really see the stars. Won’t ever be able to afford the luxury of this review but still had experiences of a lifetime. Won’t be reviewing anything as my experiences were more laugh a minute than luxury but love reading about others nevertheless. Thanks for the memories.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      You were looking at the same stars as those that paid a lot more for the privilege. That’s a win for you.

      • Sandra B says:

        Thank you. It gave my offspring the wings to fly some years later. One had seven years in Greece, the other a Masters degree in Sydney. Me, I’m an en-suite girl now with a bit of luxury attached. Turn left where possible but who can deny the fun we had. Life’s rich tapestry. X