Hydro Majestic Hotel
The Hydro Majestic Hotel is located in Medlow Bath, New South Wales. The hotel is located on a clifftop overlooking the Megalong Valley on the southern side of the Great Western Highway. The hotel has an unusual mix of architectural styles, including Art Deco and Edwardian.
The hotel is currently owned an operated by Accor, which prefers to title the hotel as the Mecure Grand Hydro Majestic Hotel.
Australian retailer, Mark Foy purchased the site in 1902 for the purposes of a hydropathic sanatorium under the belief that the land contained mineral springs. At that stage the town was known as 'Medlow' and Mark Foy successfully petitioned the New South Wales government to change the name to Medlow Bath, the current name. It is not known if he requested the name changed to make the name sound more prestigious, or if he wanted to avoid confusion with another town called Medlow, also in New South Wales.
By the time the hotel opened in 1904, the mineral springs (if they ever existed) had dried up. Mark Foy had mineral water imported from Germany in large steel containers. After travelling in these containers from Germany to Australia the water reportedly tasted awful, and so it was assumed that it must have been good for a person's health. Guests of the hotel were instructed to drink this water on a regular basis.
Fire destroyed the Gallery building in 1905, and the original Belgravia wing in 1922. Being surrounded by the Blue Mountains National Park, bushfires have regularly threatened the hotel. Most recently, the hotel was under direct threat of bushfire on 8 December 2002 .
The hotel received heritage listing in 1984. After many decades of decline and neglect the Hydro Majestic underwent a series of major refurbishments during the 1990s, and it is now again one of the most exclusive resorts in the Blue Mountains.
One of the most imposing buildings of the hotel is the casino building. Casino in this usage means meeting hall or pavilion, and was never officially used for gambling. The casino building is an ornate late Victorian Italianate wedding-cake structure which serves as the grand ballroom of the current establishment. It was built shipped from Chicago in the early 1900s and assembled by 1903. The casino was the venue of the first performance of Dame Nellie Melba's famously-long farewell tour. Clara Butt also performed in the venue. The last performance in the room was a small production of 'The Mikado' in 1969.
The Casino is now used as a private dining room and function room.
There are three main guest wings in the hotel: Belgravia, Hargravia and Hydro.
The Belgravia wing was initially the former Belgravia Hotel. After being destroyed by fire, construction started on the new Belgravia wing in 1922 and completed in 1936.
There are three suites in the hotel: The Majestic Room, the Grand Majestic Suite and the Valley Suite.
The part of the hotel that currently houses the fitness centre was formerly the rooms for single young men. They were known as 'the stables', apparently because of the stable-type doors on the rooms. Every morning a bell would ring before dawn so that young couples could get back to rooms so as not to get caught fraternising with the opposite sex.
As well as Dame Nellie Melba and Clara Butt, other famous guests of the hotel have included: Munitions heiress Bertha Krupp, who donated a Beckstein grand piano to the hotel; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes, for whom the Blue Mountains were the inspiration for The Lost World; and more recently, Russell Crowe who was asked to remove his baseball cap while dining in the Great Dining Hall in 1994.
Australia's first Prime Minister (then a justice of the High Court), Sir Edmund Barton, stayed at the hotel and died there of a heart attack in 1920. He was staying in the Belgravia wing, which burnt down after his death in 1922.
- Hotel website
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