Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Hydro Majestic at Medlow Bath via Katoomba

I have visited The Hydro Majestic in Medlow Bath several times throughout my life and I have always been in awe of her architecture and her commanding views over the Blue Mountains and the Megalong Valley.  Recently I discovered things have got even better.
The Hydro has been transformed and has emerged from tired old dame, to beautiful white swan.  If you haven't been recently, now might be the time to reacquaint yourself with this historical wonder.  She is positively glowing and I have never seen her look better.

The Hydro is made up of several different types of architecture, reflecting some of her different incarnations as a health spa, hotel and even a US military hospital during WW2.

The grand dome of the 'casino' is still intact and although the casino was never used for gaming, but rather as a ballroom, it is very grand inside and out.  It now houses the  Wintergarden Restaurant, where you can not only dine, but take high tea until 3pm.  How very civilised.

The Hydro Majestic was originally developed by retailer Mark Foy at the beginning of the last century, as a health spa.  Its conception was inspired by the health spas of Europe, which the eccentric Mr Foy was very fond of.  Reportedly frequenting them often.  

The prohibition of alcohol at the spa, in the early days was part of the health concept, but as reality hit, it meant that the spa floundered financially.  The property was relaunched as a hotel. by Mr Foy, complete with alcohol flowing and became very popular with honeymooners from Sydney, as it was on the train line at Medlow Bath, which made it easily accessible, pre the era of wide spread car ownership in Australia.

Mr Foy was also mesmerised by celebrity, so all the greats of the era, including Dame Nellie Melba performed here. Heck the Hydro is even politically interesting, as Australia's first Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton died here. Quel horreur!!!!!!  Oh the scandal!!!!

Today there are many dining options including a Salon du The and also the Pavillion, which is the bistro option.  Which of course, is where we chose to dine with kids, when we passed through on a whistle stop tour on a recent trip out to  the central west of NSW

I had the lamb pie and I can honestly say, hand on heart, that it was the most flavoursome pie I have ever had.  It was delicious.

The pavillion is totally fabulous, because apart from offering gifts for sale and really nice food, it is set up as a mini museum.  It contains lots of smart boards, depicting the colourful history of the hotel.  It is a fabulous story in itself, but there are also wonderful displays of vintage items from the hotel gathered over the last century.  They display old cutlery, china, light fittings, games, sports equipment and so many other artifacts..  It's so visually pleasing and I loved it.

Lunch in the Pavillion.

There is story after story on the digitised boards of the goings on at the hotel, over the last century, including how the hotel celebrated the centenary of the Crossing of the Blue Mountains in 1913.

A display of old doors and the stage of years gone by, at the Hydro.

The old coffee machine, cash register and a vesper.

One part of the view from the Hydro Majestic

The 1930's art deco Salon du The, has an oriental theme.

The Casino in the fore ground with an art deco building in the back ground.

I enjoyed my quick sticky beak at the Hydro Majestic so much, that I have booked 2 nights up there next month for my birthday.  I can't wait, as it's going to be total decadence.  I am going to the spa every day too (located at a sister property in Blackheath). I can't wait, hang the expense.....I am worth it, even if I am the only one who thinks so.

If you are looking for something else to do in the Katoomba area, here's my story on Scenic World.

It's had a make over as well.

For more travel stories go here.

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  1. Oh lovely post Carolyn. I did laugh at: 'I am worth it, even if I am the only one who thinks so.' I stopped in for a cuppa there a couple of weeks ago and was entranced. I'd love to stay there - are you going with Mr BH? Dump him and take meee instead!

    1. No I'm going alone for a break. I want to write my book and have a good look around without them hassling me to hurry up. I am meeting a girlfriend who lives up there for dinner though.

  2. Wow! It's good to see the old Hydro Majestic looking so good again! I remember seeing it looking derelict for so many years. I really do need to visit there and have a high tea, maybe on my birthday later this month!

  3. Wow - the Hydro Majestic is looking mighty fine. I haven't been there for about 20 years - sure looked tired then. It's wonderful to see they've done it so tastefully and I love the inclusion of the little museum area with the shop. Thanks for the post - I'll put it on my travel list :-)

  4. Thanks for the tour of The Hydro Majestic ! I have it on my list for next time I make it to the Blue Mountains. I had no idea about its link to Edmund Barton - fascinating.

  5. Oh WOW! I loved this post. My husband and I stayed at the Hydro Majestic....oh was before we were married and we mark up 20 years in Feb next year. It had not been refurbished but the grandeur of the place was still a sight to behold. Seeing these pictures and your description really warmed my heart and brought back fond memories. I've said to my husband that we should get away together for our 20 year anniversary. I think you've just helped us decide on our destination. I'm excited by the prospect of going back there and seeing it in all it's glory. Thank you :-)

  6. I've never heard of it but now I want to go visit! Sounds like a place I'd enjoy a couple nights in with my hubby!

  7. I think you've chosen an excellent birthday present for yourself. How lovely to have two days to spend at the Hydro Majestic. I do love the colourful history of the building and it's great they have the story boards to keep the history alive. I am heading there in two weeks for a high tea and I'm really looking forward to it. Great post, Caro xx

  8. I know a couple who got engaged at Hydro Majestic. It's a beautiful place indeed

  9. Its a beautiful place with so many memoeies for people and has such a rich history from when it was first built.


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