Partnerships are proving to be a powerful asset for the freshly minted Sequoia Lodge in the Adelaide Hills. A number of local, regional, national and global alliances have already been bedded down, including a partnership with luxury travel network Virtuoso, and others are in the pipeline.
The ultra-luxury, 14 suite property made its long-awaited debut in mid-August. The lodge is located at the gateway to South Australia’s wine regions at Mount Lofty Estate, adjacent to the iconic Mount Lofty House. Sequoia has been heralded as one of the most luxurious properties not just in South Australia, but the country.
Estate General Manager, Jesse Kornoff, has been understandably chuffed with the hype and adulations. And the positive feedback is no doubt helping to drive visitation, with occupancy at 75%. Not a bad result given Sequoia has been limited to intrastate-only guests due to the pandemic for its first few weeks of operation.
However, he’s obviously thrilled with future demand for Sequoia when domestic borders reopen. Advanced reservations for the sustainably designed resort are very strong, particularly from December with border optimism, Kornoff told LATTE.
He says it’s the unique and exclusive off-site and on-site experiences available for guests that he’s particularly excited about and what make the experience at Sequoia truly unique.
“We’ve really worked hard to develop those partnerships, really opening doors that guests never thought possible – and guest feedback has been amazing.”
The inclusive signature onsite small group experiences are broader than what first envisioned.
Among the options are Guided Nature Walks on the Heysen Trail surrounding the lodge, spotting kangaroos, wallabies, frogmouth owls and koalas, along with an insight into the flora and the region’s Indigenous history. The Maker & Somm experience with one of Sequoia’s head sommeliers and a South Australian-based winemaker to discuss and taste their wines; while the Lodge Welcome is held every evening around a campfire and aims to create a connection between guests and the property. Other options include sunrise yoga, artesian hot pools, hiking and cycling and ending the day star gazing.
While off-site experiences – many of which aren’t available to the public – include a 4WD tour of McLaren Vale’s producers, winery visits, a koala experience at Cleland Wildlife Park and even luxury drives behind the wheel of a supercar such as a Ferrari or Lamborghini, or a private helicopter to meet a winemaker.
On the partnership front, Kornoff told LATTE the Regional Preferred Partners Program with Virtuoso has been kicking goals. That alliance is viewed as a foot in the door to the wider Virtuoso Preferred global reach, should Sequoia look to take that partnership to the next level.
“It’s been even better than I hoped,” Kornoff said. “We weren’t expecting immediate international uptake with the international border closures, we’ve had great reach domestically through Virtuoso travel advisors here. It’s definitely been a valuable alliance for us.”
Under the arrangement with Virtuoso, guests who book through a Virtuoso travel advisor receive a $100 Food & Beverage credit, with early check-in and late check-out, subject to availability.
Kornoff also revealed talks were well advanced with a number of other luxury travel enterprises and accommodation groups, domestically and abroad. “So stay tuned,” he concluded.
Lead image: Sequoia sits perched on the hillside overlooking Piccadilly Valley in the Adelaide Hills | Credit: Julian Cebo