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Traveller

Chalets at Blackheath: Blue Mountains wilderness stay destroyed by bushfires reopens as luxury eco lodge

Jemby Rinjah eco-lodge at Blackheath in the Blue Mountains was a popular, award-winning wilderness getaway before the property, built by local civic stalwart Peter Quirk and opened in 1987, was destroyed by the bushfires of December 2019.

But it wasn't long before new owners came into the picture with a vision to establish a bush escape combining eco-conscious values with style, luxury and comfort on the seven-hectare site adjacent to the national park. The result is Chalets at Blackheath.

"We have been working with local experts, ecologists, and bush regenerators to restore the property," says general manager and co-owner Angela O'Connell.

That included removing the hundreds of indigenous plants sprouting from the charred ground so they could be cared for in a nursery during construction before being planted back when strong enough.

As for the built environment, the owners focused on "biophilic design", an approach to architecture that seeks to connect building occupants to nature. This means organic textures, colours and materials linking the accommodation to the landscape.

Four freestanding studio chalets feature a king-sized bed, wood-burning fireplace, and an oversized bathroom made of limestone, with twin rain showers and a deep tub. Details include Frette linens, fully stocked Subzero wine fridges and Moet & Chandon champagne on arrival.

Six more chalets are to be built as well as a spa and indoor magnesium pool.

Eco characteristics include a feature wall constructed to maintain ideal temperatures, rainwater harvesting with enough storage capacity to help protect the wider region in case of bushfire and advanced solar energy and minimal waste systems.

$1300 a night.

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