By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group Main photos: David Hill, Deep Hill Media
Australia’s first tourist destination – the Blue Mountains – has wooed and wowed with luxurious romantic hideaways, fine food and sophisticated nightlife for more than a century.
Hundreds of the Sydney well-heeled poured off the steam trains and motorcades into the upmarket guesthouses and grand hotels to “take the air’’ on exhilarating bushwalks through untamed wilderness, indulge in spa treatments and embark on automotive adventures to charming picnic spots and thrilling cave systems.
At night they retreated into the opulence of sumptuous restaurants and lounges filled with exotic furnishings and artwork from around the world to indulge in cigars, cocktails, gossip and mischief.
The smoke has now cleared but the essence of that halcyon era remains in the dining rooms, ballrooms and discretely lit nooks under ornately decorated vaulted ceilings and domes of heritage establishments around the upper Blue Mountains.
The grandest of the grand Blue Mountains hotels (the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath), which once hosted legendary costume parties and opera performances by the world-class likes of Dame Nellie Melba, is again gearing up for a vibrant spring entertainment line-up accompanied by a host of seasonal food offerings.
First to command the iconic venue under the Live@theHydro banner will be Havana Nights, an evening of authentic Cuban music and seductive Saturday, September 29. Musical globetrotters can journey to Havana as they sway to the soulful sounds of Cuba, dance the salsa, rumba, mambo and cha cha cha and sip on rum mojitos and daiquiris in the Majestic Ballroom.
Then, on Saturday, November 3, the original Blue Mountains party palace will be taken over by retro grooves when The Australian Bee Gees Show – A Tribute to the Bee Gees performs the greatest hits of the adored `70s sibling trio. Straight from Vegas, the covers band featuring lookalike Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb will rock the Blue Mountains escarpment when it recreates hits like Staying Alive, You Should Be Dancing, How Deep Is Your Love, and Jive Talkin’.
Guest services manager of Escarpment Group, which owns the Hydro Majestic, Meagan Iervasi said: “Combined with fortnightly live music gigs in our Boiler House Café space, fine dining and opulent architecture and décor, the Hydro Majestic is fast becoming THE place to be for anyone looking for sophisticated weekend nightlife at reasonable prices in a seriously upmarket venue.’’
Tickets for both shows: $40pp entertainment only includes complimentary welcome cocktail; $135pp three-course dinner and show package featuring the freshest seasonal produce sourced by an internationally-trained team of award-winning chefs.
Dinner, show and accommodation bookings: hydromajestic.com.au or phone (02) 4782 6885.
By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group
The grand traditions of Dame Nellie Melba and Dame Joan Sutherland will be revived when some of the brightest stars of the opera stage perform at the Hydro Majestic Hotel in the Blue Mountains during the October long weekend.
For the first time in decades, internationally acclaimed opera singers and musicians will gather at the original Blue Mountains party palace to present a weekend of operatic drama and passion.
Among them will be lead soprano in the recent Sydney Opera House production of Turandot, Eva Kong.
The first concert at the Hydro Majestic on Saturday, October 1, will be Cello Extravaganza featuring the Sydney Cello Collective (SCC).
Consisting of four cellists from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, the SCC specialises in all things cello, performing music written and arranged for that combination with a repertoire ranging from Baroque to contemporary music.
Teije Hylkema, Andrew Hines, Elizabeth Neville and Minah Choe will premiere an especially arranged rendition of Nadir’s Aria from Bizet’s famous opera Pearlfishers in the elegant Wintergardent Restaurant while guests indulge in a high tea extravaganza overlooking the magnificent Megalong Valley.
Later that day, Opera Australia soprano Eva Kong (currently playing Liu in Opera Australia’s Turandot), tenor Brad Cooper and bass Damian Whiteley will embark on a journey of humour, love, jealousy and tragedy when they perform The Love Triangle, inspired by highlights of the greatest operas and directed by pianist Grace Kim with Caro String Quartet.
On Sunday, October 2, Molto Cantabile will wrap up the festival when one of the UK’s most sought after violinists and Sydney Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Andrew Haveron performs with Grace Kim (piano) in a delightful program highlighting the beautiful operatic sound of his precious 1757 Guadagnini violin while guests nibble on decadent high tea delicacies.
General manager of Escarpment Group, which owns the Hydro Majestic, Ralf Bruegger said: “Passion and drama over scones and sparkling wine served with sexiness and humour – how operatic, how Hydro!
“With the majestic view overlooking the Megalong Valley, the dramatic history of the hotel (there’s been more than a few love triangles here, let me tell you) and the artistry of fine food prepared by our award-winning chefs, what better way to spend the weekend.
“Come for one concert or make a weekend of it.’’
Each high tea concert package ($85pp) includes a glass of sparkling wine on arrival with a sumptuous three-tier offering including an indulgent selection of gourmet sandwiches, warm fluffy scones, delicate pastries and the finest selection of handmade desserts served with Vittoria Coffee and La Maison Du The teas. Guests may choose an 11.30am or 12.15pm booking, with the concert from 12.30pm to 1.30pm.
The Gala Dinner Concert package from 5.30pm to 9.30pm on Saturday, October 1, will include drinks and canapes on arrival followed by a two-course dinner with beverages. Cost: $150pp.
Go to www.hydromajestic.com.au or phone (02) 4782 6885 to book concerts, accommodation and dining.
- Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media