A look back in time at the Hydro Majestic in the NSW Blue Mountains, circa 1904

Back In The Day . . . 1929
Hydro Majestic, NSW Blue Mountains


Sprawling along an escarpment in the tiny village of Medlow Bath, literally clinging to a cliff face, lies the exquisite Hydro Majestic. In 1904, renowned retail baron Mark Foy opened a hydropathic spa on the site. By 1906 it had been transformed into a luxurious resort where the champagne flowed freely. The iconic establishment, with grand vistas of the Megalong Valley, has since become a Mecca for any traveller visiting the Blue Mountains.

The Hydro began life as the two-storey Belgravia Hotel and changed hands twice prior to Foy’s alterations. His refreshing ideas and vision saw the provision of electricity, as well as the introduction of a health-conscious program with a multitude of treatments offered, a concept he imported from Germany and Switzerland. The innovation, improvements and modernism Foy brought with him were more representative of today’s sanctuary than the original Belgravia building.

Immaculate finishes laced the historic retreat and bedrooms were individually decorated with hand-blocked wallpaper friezes. Today the sleeping parlours are a showcase of decorations from the 1920s and ’30s, Art Deco to French provincial style with Edwardian furnishings. The hotel epitomised the glamour of the age and throughout the ’30s tea dances, etiquette balls and late night fancy-dress dos were habitually held; it became a meeting place for high society folk. Foy acted as the father of hospitality and took the art form to new heights. The hotel’s timeless class set an unmatched standard and so the gin and tonic belt of the Blue Mountains was founded.

Fire struck the Hydro in 1922; little remained standing and 16 years passed before the newly poised Belgravia was rebuilt. Soon after the hotel acted as a recovery hospital for US casualties fighting in WWII’s battle of the Coral Sea and South Pacific. Eventually the Hydro reopened, once again offering its reputable service. Today visitors to Mercure Grand Hotel Hydro Majestic can step into the heyday and revive luxurious living only 115km from the Sydney CBD.

Enjoy this article?

You can find it in Issue 17 along with
loads of other great stories and tips.