Desert Flame: Reimagining The Iconic Camp Fire For A Luxury Outback Retreat
Uluru is quite literally the heart of Australia. This magnificent rock formation represents the nation’s natural history and heritage and plays spiritual home to the world’s oldest living culture, the indigenous Australians.
Fire is at the heart of many indigenous myths and it’s also essential for regeneration of the landscape. It therefore made sense for the element to be part of Longitude 131°, the luxury desert camp overlooking the World Heritage listed wilderness of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
Originally built in 2003, the retreat joined the Baillie Lodges collection in 2013 and a series of enhancements quickly followed. Most recently in 2016, expansive balconies were added to each of the fifteen luxury tents. Designed by Max Pritchard, the architect behind the design of sister property Southern Ocean Lodge* on Kangaroo Island, the balconies meld seamlessly into the ‘floating’ structure and feature modern day-beds, armchairs and carefully placed stainless steel XL700 burners set into elegant, low-set stone and rosewood timber benches.
Central to the new concept is a luxury swag for two, a modern reinvention of the traditional Australian bushman’s bedroll. Unfurled at nightfall, it enables guests to lie back on the daybed and gaze out over the dancing flames to Uluru, omnipresent in the background.
Baillie Lodges’ Managing Director James Baillie said the balconies were part of a plan to “take the property to new levels of luxury.”
“They create a whole new level of intimacy, completely removing any barrier between the visitor and the landscape at Australia’s spiritual heart,” he said.
“Each luxury pavilion features an EcoSmart Fire on the balcony, which is central to the Lodge’s signature turndown service. Every second night, the transformation is especially decadent when guests return from Table 131° (our signature dining event under the stars), to find the outdoor fire alight and plush swag rolled out ready for slumber accompanied by a curated selection of after-dinner digestifs.”
Clearly, luxury is paramount at Longitude 131°. Maintaining a relaxing, comfortable and ambient atmosphere for guests is the number one priority. The choice of materials and products in the tents reflects this. They are all of the finest quality design and construction.
It’s this attention to detail that has guests coming back time and time again – and according to repeat customers Anthony and Caroline Proud of New South Wales, the EcoSmart burner is a stand out feature of the accommodation at Longitude 131°.
“It’s our second stay and we thought it couldn’t get any better… We were wrong!” they say. “The new tent balcony is superb – though you really cannot call them ‘tents’ anymore, such is the luxury! We loved the fire sparking up into the outback sky. Sleeping under the stars cocooned in the swag was an experience we’ll never forget. We’re planning to return to see what new wonders you can ‘wow’ us with next time.”
Baillie Lodges have also installed EcoSmart burners in their other sites. This includes Capella Lodge in 2004 and Southern Ocean Lodge* in 2008. The Baillies have also installed EcoSmart Fires in their own home.
At Longitude 131°, they were chosen for both aesthetic and practical reasons. “Firstly these EcoSmart burners have the ability to be built into a custom table or bench. We have done similar things at Southern Ocean Lodge* and also in our own home,” explains James.
“They also provide warmth on chilly desert nights, as well as a light source in the outdoor living space. It’s the ambience and contemporary reference to an outback camp fire that stands out as well as the inherent luxury in having a fireplace in one’s own suite!”.
*Note: The recent bushfires in Kangaroo Island destroyed Southern Ocean Lodge in January 2020.
Thanks to EcoSmart Fire for supplying this article. EcoSmart Fire will be exhibiting at the Sydney HIA Home Show from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th March 2020. Check out their exhibitor listing to learn about their exclusive specials before the show!