It’s been said that Uluru is Australia’s spiritual heart, and it’s not hard to see why. From the moment you arrive, the epic scale and awesome energy of this place engulfs you. Sails in the Desert expresses perfectly that feeling, rising up from the desert, one of the most impressive Uluru hotels, the sprawling complex sits in heart of the red centre in Australia’s Northern Territory, unassuming from a distance, but beautiful on approach.
Gabrielle Boyle | Cover Image © Voyages
An Oasis in the Desert
The first thing you’ll notice are the soaring white canopy sails shielding Sails in the Desert from the blistering desert sun. They span two hundred and twenty-eight luxury five-star rooms and suites. Weaving between the sails are towering gum tree lined corridors. The hotel is cleverly carved into the natural landscape, and feels like a natural extension to the outback. The gardens aren’t fussy or manufactured. They’re simple and quintessentially Australian. Lush green grass, bougainvillea’s bursting with colour, and plenty of paved areas for outdoor entertaining. Central to the setting is an epic outdoor pool, ringed with day-beds, perfect for taking a cool plunge after a big day exploring. The beauty of this complex, in fact the entire village, is that from the air or from a distance, the buildings are almost invisible. Their size and scale doesn’t rob ‘the rock’ of its glory, or ruin the seemingly endless expanse of nothingness.
As lovely as Sails in the Desert is, it’s most outstanding feature of the property by far is its location. Staying here, you are smack-bang in the centre of the action, making it one of the best Uluru hotels in terms of where it sits. It’s just a few minutes by road in one direction to Uluru, and a few minutes in the opposite direction to Kata Tjuta (The Olgas).
Design Elements from the Desert Surrounds
The interior of Sails is equally well-appointed. From the reception to the restaurants and rooms, the decor is earthy and organic, and reflects the local landscape. Indigenous artworks hang from almost every wall. Unlike city hotels, space certainly isn’t a luxury here. Everything is on a large-scale. The foyer and reception are sprawling, light-filled and open. The rooms are expansive and uncluttered. In fact, the balcony on our room was almost as large as my inner-Sydney apartment.
Modern Australian Fine Dining
When it comes to dining at Sails In The Desert, there’s something for everyone. We enjoyed tucking in to hearty beef burgers while perched at the bar sipping cocktails. Certainly a great way to end a busy day exploring. Those with an appetite for beautiful modern Australian fine dining will also find that at Sails with chefs showcasing local produce, herbs and spices in unique and delicious ways. Each morning the buffet breakfast included great fresh and filling options and it was a delicious way to start the day and if you’re up early for a tour, the reception desk will kindly organise a breakfast hamper to-go, so you won’t go hungry.
Red Ochre Spa
If all that desert sun and wind has taken its toll, a visit to the Red Ochre Spa could offer the perfect remedy. The spa treatments promise to take guests on a relaxing, indulgent journey inspired by the beautiful desert surrounds and using luxurious Payot products.
One of the great things about Sails in the Desert is its close proximity to services and amenities. The hub of the township is the town square, where you’ll find a comprehensive range of services and shops. There’s a supermarket, where you can easily pick up fresh food to cater for day trips. There’s a hair and beauty salon, a newsagent, a post office, a tourist information centre, a gallery, and various tourist shops. We certainly didn’t come to Uluru for the shopping, but these facilities were certainly handy for stocking up on basics. There’s also a petrol station; the only one in town.
The hotel guests are offered a number of additional amenities which includes Uluru airport transfers, a free resort shuttle service and a number of incredible free daily indigenous activities.
I cannot recommend the organised tours highly enough. All can be arranged through the hotel and conveniently pick up and drop off at Sails. If you arrive early, it’s also easy to fill in your time wandering around the Mulgara Gallery. There’s a comprehensive collection of indigenous art and souvenirs, and it’s all beautifully displayed.
When you’ve travelled hundreds, or more likely thousands of kilometres, it is wonderful to arrive at this oasis in the desert, where everything is easily accessible, and finding your way around is simple. This resort has clearly recognised and responded to its target market. It’s classy and cultural, but also extremely relaxed. It’s not posh and pretentious like an exclusive five-star inner-city hotel. Instead, it has a wide-open and welcoming feel, perfectly befitting its outback environment.
Sails in the Desert
1 Yulara Dr, Yulara NT 0872
The Fit Traveller was a guest of Sails in the Desert for this stay. As always, the opinions and words are authentically our own.
Gabrielle Boyle is a reporter for Nine News Australia, based in Sydney. With fifteen years experience in television reporting and presenting, Gabrielle specialises in breaking news, and thrives on the adrenalin which comes with covering breaking national and international news.
In her spare time, you will find her enjoying the great outdoors, whether it be bushwalking in the Blue Mountains, kayaking on Sydney Harbour or camping out in the Royal National Park.
Follow Gabrielle’s off-camera adventures on Instagram or Twitter.