A multimillion-dollar refurb has given this luxury bush camp a uniquely Australian take on five-star style.
Longitude 131° is one of the few stays where you get views of Uluru from your room. And what a view it is: red dust and spinifex are all that lie between that massive monolith and the double day-bed on your balcony. It’s also the region’s most indulgent accommodation, with first-name service, dinners in the desert and tent-style lodgings fit for a future king (guests have included Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge). But nothing beats the nightly turndown service, where nightcaps are left by the outdoor fire and a swag is rolled out on the day bed – perfect for stargazing.
Not a happy camper? Well, this is camping done right – like glamping, without the flies and shared shower facilities. Instead, there’s a flyscreen that drops at the flick of a switch, a complimentary minibar stocked with ice-cold champagne and – hallelujah! – a bathroom. Truth be told, the Luxury Tents are tents in name only. Each comes equipped with aircon, a Bose sound system and a Nespresso machine, plus there’s twice-daily housekeeping. The environmentally sensitive tents have the feel of a safari lodge with a splash of the Red Centre, including original works by Indigenous artists.
Number of guestrooms 15 Luxury Tents, plus the new two-bedroom premier suite, Dune Pavilion
Check in/out 10.30am/2pm, though times are flexible
Food and drink The tariff includes meals and beverages, from four-course dinners around the camp fire to saltbush cocktails by the pool and breakfasts and lunches at the Dune House restaurant.
Wellness Inspired by a traditional Aboriginal shelter, the new spa has floor-to-ceiling desert views and Indigenous-inspired treatments. For shampoo-ad shine, try the quandong hair mask.
Business facilities Leave the laptop at home. There’s a desk and “bush wi-fi” but that’s about it.
Minibar It’s free for the taking, including Louis Roederer champagne, local beer and wine, the makings of a cheese platter and just-baked jam drops.
Water There’s a ceramic water purifier, plus mineral water and coconut water in the minibar.
Pillow menu Goose down, feather, microfibre and latex
Bathtub For a soak, you’ll have to upgrade to the Dune Pavilion.
Bathrobe An earthy-brown number that resembles a drapey Driza-Bone
The housekeeping test Toothpaste and sunscreen requested at 6am were delivered in eight minutes and 25 seconds.
The concierge test Enquiring about where I could buy sparkling Evian
in remote Yulara, the desk staff responded – very gently – that the brand only does still water (oops). The receptionist checked with the service station and IGA but there was nothing from the French Alps in town.
Amenities Plant-based products from skincare company Nya feature Australian sandalwood, Ligurian honey and the like.
Room service Not offered so make do with that great minibar.
TV and movies Watching the ever-changing colours of Uluru will have to suffice, unless you’re in the Dune Pavilion, which has Apple TV, Foxtel and Australian films on DVD.
Parking To avoid traffic noise, guests park at a nearby resort and are transferred from there.
Price From $1400 per person, per night (includes meals, drinks, tours and transfers) with a minimum two-night stay.
Ask for… the most secluded suite, Luxury Tent 1. Or splurge on the Dune Pavilion ($2400 per person per night) for a view of Kata Tjuta, too. But plan ahead – tents book out three months in advance.
Our rating ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑