Ayres Rock Resort’s Sails in the Desert Hotel Reopens after Renovation
By James Ruggia
November 25, 2012 9:40 PM
A complete A$30 million ($31 million) renovation of Ayers Rock Resort's Sails in the Desert Hotel and the construction of a meetings and conference facility, the Uluru Meeting Place, has been unveiled by Australia's Minister for Tourism Martin Ferguson MP. Ayers Rock Resort's premium Sails in the Desert Hotel is now a flagship property with a complete re-fit of all 231 rooms in the hotel including two suites and 16 terrace rooms.
The Uluru Meeting Place, named in acknowledgement of the local Anangu people who have used the area as meeting place for thousands of years, is calling its new look a “modern indigenous design” with facilities that include a new ballroom seating 420 people that can also be sub-divided into smaller meeting spaces. There is also a second ballroom that seats over 300, which can also be split to create an integrated conference arena. When combined, these two rooms create a large area ideal for events and trade shows.
Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia took over the management in May 2011. Not only have there been physical changes to the resort, but indigenous employment has risen from two employees to over 170. Other initiatives have included the introduction of a suite of free indigenous guest activities that include yarns, garden walks and cultural performances. A new premium under-the-stars dining experience, Tali Wiru, has commenced as well as new Outback Sky Journey tours that are an easy and affordable way to discover our solar system, and are offered two times a night.
"The complete renovation of Sails in the Desert sets the scene for our guests at this iconic location from the moment they check in and engages with them throughout their stay,” said Koos Klein, managing director of Voyages Indigenous Tourism. “From the indigenous artworks to the specially designed carpet in the rooms that mimics the topography of the region, the hotel echoes the environment around them.”
“When we took over the resort, our mandate was very clear -- to increase Indigenous employment and training as well as cultural engagement for our guests, as well as to increase financial results so that this in turn could be returned to our parent company, the Indigenous Land Corporation, so that could re-invest in further indigenous training and development programs," said Klein.
A new micro-site features an interactive virtual tour as well as conference, incentive and events itineraries; a range of experiences including sunrise, sunset and Indigenous tours; and full details about all the redeveloped conference venues, resorts and how to get there.