Hydro Majestic High Tea

Most people who grew up in Sydney and are from my generation will have memories of visiting the very pink Hydro Majestic Hotel in Medlow Bath in the Blue Mountains.

The Hydro Majestic

The Hydro Majestic

Perhaps as early as 1901, Mark Foy, of Mark Foy’s Department Stores, sold shares in his business to finance what was to become Australia’s first health retreat.

The newly renovated, Hydro Majestic

The newly renovated, Hydro Majestic – bad photo timing with the guy emptying the bins!

The hotel opened during a snowstorm in 1904 and included accommodation, a restaurant, the Casino Ballroom (that was never used for gambling), and an art gallery several hundred feet long with art from all around the world.  From the moment it opened, the Hydro Majestic attracted both local and international guests.  Many famous people stayed at the hotel and Australia’s first Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton, actually died while staying at the hotel in 1920.

Outdoor balcony outside the bar

Outdoor balcony outside the bar

The hotel generated its own electricity, had its own water supply, contained a steam laundry, freezing works, sewerage treatment works and a telephone system connected to the Sydney exchange.  Guests enjoyed a program of diets and some weird, interesting and wonderful health treatments.

The view of the Megalong Valley

The view of the Megalong Valley

In 1922 fire destroyed parts of the hotel including the gallery.  Mr Foy immediately commenced work on restoring the hotel that took a further 14 years to complete.  In 1942 the Hydro was taken over by the US Defence Department and turned into a hospital for American casualties.

Entrance to the bar

Entrance to the bar

Mr Foy died in 1950 and as time marched on, the hotel was miraculously spared being given a ‘make-over’ with dire consequences for the unique architecture and interior design the hotel is known for.

Entrance

Entry foyer

Recently the hotel was sold and bought by the Lilianfels Group.  Taking into account the historical significance of the hotel along with the grand period features and everyone’s nostalgic feelings towards the building, the hotel has been sympathetically renovated and is once again open for business.  Although it’s no longer pink!

Reception

Reception

The magnificent dome that was built in Chicago and sat above the Casino Ballroom still remains.  The former ballroom is now the Wintergarden Restaurant that has panoramic views over the Megalong Valley. Amongst other things, (including a traditional Christmas dinner during ‘Christmas in July’), the restaurant serves a traditional high tea.  Recently, I, (along with around 20 others), was fortunate to be invited to a high tea by a very close friend to help her a celebrate a very special birthday.  Yeah!

Live music

Live music

The high tea is very popular so you do need to book.  Walking into the restaurant through the reception you are immediately struck by the beauty, elegance and grandeur of your surroundings.  The restaurant is large but not cavernous and there are enormous windows spanning the length of the former ballroom showing the stunning view of the valley.

A cosy restaurant with an incredible view

A cosy restaurant with an incredible view

The restaurant is warm and cosy and classical music plays live from one corner of the room.  The tables are covered in highly starched linen and the upholstered green chairs are extremely comfortable.  There is a very adequate number of wait-staff who work very quietly, and are attentive without being intrusive.

Wines

Wines

The high tea on a weekend costs $65.00.  If you’d like a glass of sparkling wine with your high tea the cost becomes $79.00 or $85.00 with a glass of champagne.

Winter Garden Restaurant

Wintergarden Restaurant

There is a gluten-free option for $65.00 and also an Asian-inspired option for $70.00.  Children have not been forgotten and they can also enjoy a series of sandwiches, sweet treats and pikelets for $35.00.

Winter Garden High Tea

Winter Garden High Tea

Our high tea included the Australian sparkling although we may have had more than just one glass.  Tea and coffee is included and the range of teas offered is extensive.

The high tea is very popular

The high tea is very popular

We started the high tea with a selection of sandwiches including rare roast beef, chicken and curried egg.  The sandwiches were extremely fresh and for me, it was a shame there was just one of each to try.  The savoury selection also included a bite-sized seafood tasting and a tiny goat’s cheese tart.

A selection of sandwiches

A selection of sandwiches

The scones were a generous size and broke open easily without the need of a knife.  The centre was soft and light and these were delightful topped with strawberry jam and clotted cream.

Scones with jam and clotted cream

Scones with jam and clotted cream

The top tier of the high tea was a selection of sweet morsels including a lemon tart, a dark chocolate slice with nuts, and and apple tart.

A selection of petit fours

A selection of petit fours

I found the high tea experience very leisurely and relaxing.  Sitting in a high-backed very comfortable upholstered chair while sipping sparkling wine, eating scones with jam and cream, looking out at the spectacular view, and all while listening to classical music being played on a grand piano was a thoroughly enjoyable and therapeutic way to spend an afternoon in the mountains.

Bar

Bar

If I have one observation to make regarding the high tea is that I would have preferred a few more savoury options.  I realise this is a very traditional high tea and traditionally they do include more sweet options, however, for my palate, a few more ribbon sandwiches and perhaps a little quiche or a tomato tart would have been a lovely addition.

Reception

Reception

Verdict:  A great experience

Bar

Bar

The Hydro Majestic:  52-88 Great Western Highway, Medlow Bath, NSW 2780

Ph: +612 4782 6885

The Hydro Majestic

The Hydro Majestic

Comments

  1. I love treating myself to a high tea experience every once in a while. It always feels so special and fun! Glad to hear this didn’t disappoint.

  2. What a beautiful structure. I’m so glad the new owners restored the original ambiance. The high tea (with Champagne of course) sounds perfect and the scones sound delightful!

  3. i went there for a weekend when is wan’t renovated and still pink, right in the middle of fire season and we had to leave or get stuck in the blue mountain because they were closing the road! This white majestic looks beautiful but I’m with you, I prefer more savoury in my high tea! 🙂
    Liz xx

  4. Wow, this place is opulent. What fun it would be to dine here.

  5. What a great history this hotel has, and so nice that it’s been restored. High tea with a lovely view sounds delightful!

  6. How lovely! Would love to join you for a high tea.
    Have a wonderful day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  7. What a gorgeous hotel … I love that it’s been preserved and has such a wonderful history. I always think it’s so sad when other old buildings like this get lost to redevelopment or poor renovations. And, what a gorgeous High Tea … now I’m hungry! x

  8. I so love High Tea, and have no options here in San Miguel for endulging (other than at someone’s home, of course). I absolutely am charmed by this place–I love history and old buildings. Nice to see when such a place has been lovingly treated.

  9. I adore a nice high tea, and one with a view is even better. I love that they’ve kept all of the Art Deco touches around the hotel. I really must get to the Blue Mountains some day.

  10. OMgosh,
    this looks exquisite, divine.
    I’ve not been to a HIGH TEA,
    but it’s on my bucket list, darling. xxx

  11. Wow, what a gorgeous spot for high tea! So much history and charm—and the food looks wonderful! xo

  12. What an interesting place. I would have sat quietly and enjoyed my high tea but honestly, I would have been dying to wander around and have a sticky beak at everything.

  13. I loved the sandwiches too. They were so delicious and yes I would have liked more sandwiches. It is quite expensive though for an afternoon tea.

  14. This sounds amazing but I do prefer savoury items. And it does seem a leeetle bit expensive. I agree sandwiches are the best!

  15. I should hop on a train and go for a day in the school holidays – my youngest would love this and what a fun thing to do. Somehow I also forget about the Blue Mountains (too busy heading for coastal locations), thank you for the reminder. xx

  16. What a gorgeous spot!
    I love high tea too, so relaxing and decadent.
    Thanks for the suggestion
    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways

  17. I am so glad to hear that this beautiful place with quite a varied history has been preserved so intentionally to reflect the past. It appears to be very welcoming and I know i’d love it! I haven’t indulged in more than a few high teas, but to me, setting is more important than the food itself. I’m interested in the fact that it once served as an American hospital during the war. I am sure there are many stories that reverberate around this hotel, but isn’t it nice that something so elegant as high tea is accommodated there now! Lovely, Charlie!

  18. What lovely surrounds and atmosphere Charlie, it looks very relaxing indeed. I love good high tea, so very grown up and elegant 🙂 xo

  19. Even though I’m a coffee drinker, high tea at this restaurant sounds amazing. Love the history of the place. That would be a fascinating place to visit and experience. Thanks for sharing.

  20. How fun and gorgeous place too! HK celebrates their share of high tea and the Peninsula Hotel is well known for their hospitality. Now don’t forget pinky fingers out!!! LOL

  21. Sounds like a wonderful experience Charlie, I would love to have high tea at that restaurant.

  22. Woow this is really royal :). Loved it so much, I wish I have been there. Sooo expensive but it is worth it.

  23. The Lilianfels Group did a wonderful job renovating this magnificent hotel! And what a lovely tea you had – I couldn’t help drooling at those crustless sandwiches and scones!

  24. What amazing history. I’m glad they have turned this into a place that still smacks of occasion, and which is now open to everyone to enjoy. High tea can be a real disappointment it done poorly but it looks like this place is delivering on the food and atmosphere fronts!

  25. High tea is always a special expierence and the place looks lovely, so are the treats.

  26. I’ve never been to a high tea. This certainly looked like a wonderful experience. And how surprising that they have a gluten free option!

  27. May be dropping hints to the Hungry Dad re my upcoming birthday and remind him of my love of high tea…

  28. I loved it too but agree too much sweet and not enough savoury,
    Carolyn

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