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 Lithgow Tourism Photos: Ben Pearse and David Hill
The spirit of the late King of Pop will inject a thrilling spark into Lithgow Halloween `16 when hundreds of Michael Jackson fans take part in a dance-off in Main St on Saturday, October 29.
The national record bid for the greatest number of costumed people to dance to the song Thriller will be a highlight of the annual community festival.
Organised and hosted by Lithgow City Council, with support from local sponsors including Lithgow McDonald’s, Centennial Coal and Energy Australia, the event will again feature spectacular Vivid-style lighting displays and spooky decorations, the main shopping strip will be transformed into a fun-filled pedestrian zone with themed precincts, non-stop entertainment and a community Trick or Treat activity for children.
Lithgow City Council Tourism Manager Kellie Barrow said: “We do like to party here in Lithgow, especially when it involves themes and dressing up.
“But our parties are not exclusive: everyone is invited, everyone is welcome and everyone is catered for.’’
As in previous years, the family-friendly Lithgow Halloween `16 will include something for everyone, with a range of free community events in public spaces through to ticketed events at private venues.
“We’re proud of our history and what the council, local businesses and residents have achieved together in beautifying Lithgow in recent years and we want to share our town with visitors.’’
Ms Barrow encouraged locals and visitors to fully immerse themselves in the festival spirit and dress up for the occasion as a ghoulish zombie, monster, freaky vampire, fantasy character or loveable fairytale personality, goblin or fairy.
She also urged everyone to take part in the Australian record attempt for the largest number of costumed people to dance to the Michael Jackson song Thriller.
“The record currently stands at about 500 people. Let’s beat it!’’
She recommended visitors stay overnight in the area to fully explore the surprisingly diverse range of scenery, dining options and activities available in Lithgow and surrounds including the Back to Hartley event at Hartley Historic Site on the way to Sydney on Sunday, October 30.
- Lithgow Tourism is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media and Headline Publicity
By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group
Sheer enchantment, chimera and intrigue will herald a modern era of breathtaking drama for the original Blue Mountains party palace when the Australian Burlesque Festival performs at the Hydro Majestic Hotel in May.
The Australian Burlesque Festival featuring Shake-O-Rama will offer three hours of cheeky variety entertainment with more than a dozen buxom burlesque artists.
Shake-O-Rama promises a glamorous night of classic tease and modern neo-burlesque that will dazzle, delight and stimulate the senses featuring some of the best and most entertaining international and local performers.
Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger said: “The original owner of the Hydro Majestic, Mark Foy, held legendary parties here, so this kind of saucy entertainment is not new for the hotel – all performed with the famous Hydro elegance of course.’’
The sizzling adults-only show will celebrate traditional burlesque arts, vintage-flavoured tease, sensual cabaret and variety entertainment.
Guests will be delighted, tantalised and pleasantly entertained as they experience jaw-droppingly glamourous exotic and neo-burlesque seduction and titillating strip-tease shows from leading stars of the genre.
Directed, produced, owned and operated by burlesque star and producer Dolores Daiquiri, the Australian Burlesque Festival is the largest touring burlesque festival in the world.
Established in 2009 to celebrate the burlesque community, the avant-garde troupe of performers debuted in 2010 to sell-out audiences.
The Australian Burlesque Festival will seduce at the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Great Western Hwy, Medlow Bath, from 8pm to 11pm Saturday, May 28. Tickets: $75 + booking fee show only, $160 + booking fee dinner and show. Age restriction: 18+. Bookings and details: hydromajestic.com.au or (02) 4782 6885.
- Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media
By Ellen Hill for Lithgow Workies Club Photos: David Hill
The oldest registered club in NSW will take centre stage when the curtain officially goes up on the revamped showroom at Lithgow & District Workmen’s Club on March 19.
The showroom is part of a $6.5 million refurbishment of the club, known affectionately as “the Workies’’, along with a new 36-room 4-star (self-rated) motel, art gallery, restaurant, conference centre and more.
The former Irish tavern space has been transformed into a new entertainment venue featuring a new stage and audio visual technology and table seating ideal for dinner shows.
The 3.12m wide dropdown screen over the stage allows for a diverse range of activities from business conference presentations to movie screenings for children down the track.
Lithgow Workies Club general manager Geoff Wheeler said: “Our showroom is one of the largest venues of its type in the area suitable for a dinner show, and we can more than double the capacity by removing the tables.
“It also offers flexibility to conference groups looking for venues with large presentation rooms, small breakout spaces and tabled meal areas. It even has its own full bar.’’
The showroom, which has already hosted capacity crowds for Tom Jones – the Australian Experience and other gigs, will be officially opened by media and sporting personality Mike Whitney along with the motel and other works from 7.15pm on Saturday, March 19.
The evening will be rounded off with spectacular entertainment from Australia’s “Queen of Soul’’ Lisa Hunt and her band in the revamped showroom. Tickets: $20.
Hunt, whose soulful style began in an African American gospel church, has had songs on numerous compilations around the globe as singer and songwriter and has sold more than a million records.
The Can You Feel It songstress debuted with her album A Little Piece of Magic and was on the international chart topper CD Soulsation by Lovestation.
Hunt’s American soundtrack compositions include Subway Stories and Goodnight Moon with Lauryn Hill, Natalie Cole, Pattie Labelle, Billy Crystal and Susan Sarandon, while her studio credits include sessions with famed producers Jellybean Benitez (Madonna), Toni C (Whitney Houston), Frank Farion (LaBouche, Milli Vanilli) and The Berman Brothers (Amber, Ultra Nate).
Her voice can be heard on several top 10 dance tracks all over the world including as “the voice’’ of Lovestation (UK), Club X (Germany) and D1 (USA). In Italy she has been the featured vocalist on tour and recordings of Zucchero Sugar Fornaciari for many years and has worked with a range of artist from Opera tenor Pavarotti to Ray Charles and has shared the stage with musical greats such as Eric Clapton, James Brown, Dionne Warwick, Brian May, Randy Crawford, Joe Cocker, Miles Davis and Andrea Bocelli.
In Australia Hunt has toured and recorded with Jimmy Barnes, Diesel, Radio Freedom, Midnight Oil and Johnny (B Good) Johnson as well as Ronan Keating, Macy Gray, Mouse T, Delores O’Riordan of The Cranberries, Tina Arena and Cheb Mumi.
Hunt has also appeared as an actress in Off-Broadway musicals, produced and starred in her own “bluesical’’ production The Roots Of My Soul and, for the past few years, toured the rhythm and blues retrospective Forever Soul in Australia and the Middle East and released more original music including the single Music Makes Me Free.
The entertainment continues at Lithgow Workies Club with Jalapeno Deluxe playing the showroom on March 4 and the Lady Gaga & Katy Perry show coming up on April 15.
Mr Wheeler said the showroom entertainment line-up would be varied, with comedians to appear on the program in the future.
“We want people to come out of the city and other regions and enjoy our hospitality and see that there is so much to see and do in the area.
“Members and guests can now dine at our Esk Restaurant while watching the sunset over the mountains and Tuscan garden, watch a show, have a nightcap in the bar and then retire to their motel room just one minute’s walk down the corridor.’’
Lithgow Workies Club, Tank St, Lithgow, has regular entertainment in the showroom. Go to www.workies.com.au or phone (02) 6350 7777 for details, tickets and to book into the new motel.
- Lithgow & District Workmen’s Club is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media and Headline Publicity
By Ellen Hill for The Sebel Hawkesbury Resort & Spa
Get into the blues and roots groove in stylish luxury when the only 4.5 star resort in the Hawkesbury-Nepean region hosts two free Sydney Blues and Roots Festival gigs during the weekend of October 23 to 25.
The tone will be set with fireworks by the lake at the front of The Sebel Hawkesbury Resort & Spa at 8.30pm on the Friday, before Dr Don’s Double Dose takes over the Barracks Bar from 8.45pm to 10.30pm.
There will be more lakeside musical action with James Bennett at 2pm, Liza Ohlback at 3pm and Glenn Cardier and The Sideshow from 4.30pm to 6pm on Sunday, October 25.
The popular music festival will be held across nine venues throughout Windsor in the Hawkesbury region at the foothills of the world-famous Blue Mountains.
Now in its seventh year, the Hawkesbury Council-sponsored festival will again feature the best established and emerging local, national and international blues and roots acts, and transcends age, gender and culture barriers with gigs in intimate performance spaces, market stalls, buskers, jam sessions, workshops and youth events.
The Sebel Hawkesbury Resort & Spa general manager David Ross said: “The Sydney Blues and Roots Festival has become a major experience on our community’s social calendar so we are delighted to offer these two music events free to Hawkesbury locals and visitors.’’
He also encouraged festival goers to fully immerse themselves in the event by staying at least one night and exploring activities and locations around the Hawkesbury area.
Just an easy 45 minutes’ drive from Sydney CBD and 60 minutes from Sydney airport, the Sebel Hawkesbury Resort & Spa is luxury travelling at its best.
As well as 8ha of manicured grounds through which to wander, an 18-hole champion golfing range next door and a 9-hole one on-site, several dining options, a full gym and balloon rides, the Sebel Hawkesbury is home to the largest day spa in Western Sydney.
Go to sydneybluesfestival.com.au for a full program of Sydney Blues and Roots Festival events.
The Sebel Hawkesbury Resort & Spa is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media and Headline Publicity