By Shadiah Abdullah Al Jabery
Luxury travellers will now have the choice of exploring off the beaten track destinations as the One&Only is evolving their portfolio beyond beach resorts to include Nature Resorts.
The nature resorts will offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences and provide pure celebration of each dramatic location, offering access to nature’s best kept secrets, in an inspired itinerary, curated for the most discerning global travellers. Intimate in size, the architectural design of each resort will respect the surroundings and cleverly frame the best aspects of the natural beauty. Minimal impact will be made to the location, from development through to operations and guests will have an opportunity to ‘give back’ with hands-on, interactive, immersive experiences with the local community, each perfectly curated to the destination.
Following the success of Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley in Australia as the first hotel in the world to achieve internationally accredited carbon-neutral certification by CarbonZero, all its Nature Resorts will aim for this distinction. In addition, our culinary philosophy will be based on the very best seasonal, regional and, where possible, organic produce from local boutique farms, private growers and vintner, said Philippe Zuber, President and Chief Operating Officer, One&Only Resorts.
Joining Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, two resorts will be introduced One&Only Nyungwe House and One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, both located in Rwanda. One&Only Nyungwe House is designed to fit harmoniously within its natural surroundings and is situated in Gisakura, a working tea plantation, on the edge of the Nyungwe National Park. The Nyungwe Forest is thought to be one of the oldest forests in Africa, with incredible diversity including over 13 different species of primates, representing 20% of all the apes in Africa and 75 different species of mammals.
Luxury suites and villas will be modern in design, yet with traditional African touches, each overlooking the vast African terrain with private decks and fire places. Guests can explore the National Park including exploratory treks to discover chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, grey – cheeked mangabeys and the Kamiranzovu Swamps and Waterfalls. Bird watching should not be missed with over 275 species of birds in the lush surroundings, including giant hornbills, great blue turacos and red-breasted sparrow hawks being amongst the bird-watcher’s favourites. Cultural walks can also be enjoyed. One&Only Nyungwe House will begin welcoming guests in 2017.
“We are proud and excited to continue to innovate at One&Only and introduce new experiences for our guests. One&Only Nature Resorts will provide our guests illuminating and immersive experiences full of adventure that will allow for exploration and discovery,” continued Philippe Zuber. “Rwanda is such an incredible destination with truly once-in-a-lifetime experiences. We look forward to immersing our guests in the country and culture and providing that ultimate connection with nature in the ultimate locations.”
One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, located near the village of Kingi, will be positioned on the foothills of the Virunga Volcano range. This beautiful resort, nestled amongst a forest of eucalyptus trees will provide breath-taking views of Rwandan hills and the slopes of the Volcanoes National Park. Guests will be able to discover the magical habitat of Mountain Gorillas, a rare adventure. Rwanda is one of only three countries in the world where the critically endangered mountain gorillas live. Experts estimate that there are only 780 mountain gorillas still in existence – and one third of these are in Rwanda. Conservation efforts are funded by a very limited amount of permits and funds are allocated to anti-poaching efforts and local communities businesses. However, after over 40 years of conservation and habitat restoration efforts have helped steadily increase the population of mountain gorillas, with a 14% increase in the past 12 years. In addition to the Gorilla Trek, guests will also be able to discover Golden Monkeys, as well as visit Dian Fossey’s Karisoke Camp.
Bespoke accommodation will honour the location and natural elements will be woven throughout the resort, to inform the design of both the public and private spaces of the resort. Local African cuisine will surround a traditional Boma, providing the perfect location to share adventures from the day and enjoy fruit and vegetables from the resort’s garden. The resort will also offer an indulgent One&Only Spa and Fitness Centre, honouring the inspired surrounds with treatments using traditional African elements, as well as the latest state-of-the-art technology.