I am always looking out for new experiences, wherever I may find myself.
Published November 28th 2015
The Hydro Majestic Hotel is the kind of place you won't ever see again in Australia. The kilometre long property and its sprawling buildings sit on top of a cliff within the Blue Mountains National Park, enjoying views over the Megalong Valley.
Yet the place is not, and never has been, a private residence. Built in 1904 by retail magnate James Foy, it was originally a health retreat, but quickly became a hotel catering to the social elite. For a brief period during WWII, it even had a stint as a hospital for American soldiers.
This century, the hotel was shut down for almost a decade because it became difficult to keep up. But fortunately, it was bought by new owners, who spent $35 million transforming it and the place reopened last year, offering accommodation and meals.
These experiences require you to spend a bit of money though, and while I'm sure it's worth it, there is also an option for people who want to get a feel of the place without paying anything; the the Hydro Majestic Pavilion.
This section, which is closest to the car park, is part cafe and part museum and shop. Even if you don't get something to eat, you're more than welcome to duck in here and read all about the Hydro Majestic's colourful past, including its fancy dress parties, its devastating fires, the death of a prime minister and everything else that's happened over the last century.
On a dreary day in the Blue Mountains, the Hydro Majestic Pavilion is a place worth checking out
The story is told on large screens mounted above cabinets full of old objects from the hotel, like ceramics, guest ledgers, roller skates and cutlery. Old doors are mounted on the walls, chairs and chandeliers hang from the ceiling to demonstrate the dominant style in each era, and old cash registers and piles of abandoned suitcases sit on tables. Amongst it all are products you can take home, like lotions, candles and books.
I may focus on the buildings and what's gone on inside them, but the views are not to be forgotten either
The Hydro Majestic Pavilion is located in Medlow Bath, between Katoomba and Blackheath, and the tiny town has its own train station (which was originally built for access to the hotel). This part of the Blue Mountains has great views of the Megalong Valley, and the Hydro Majestic is in prime position to see them.