Writing, photography, content creation & communications

Posts tagged “Hydro Majestic Hotel

Majestic tree-topper at Hydro party palace

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group       Photos: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

A piece of Australian sporting and cultural history has been brought back to life at the grandest of the grand hotels of the Blue Mountains this Christmas.

Standing taller than 6m, Candy the Kewpie doll has taken her position under the grand chandelier in the famous Casino Lobby of the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath.

Along with Scarlett, who now lives at the Powerhouse Museum, and Betty who resides at the National Museum in Canberra, Candy is one of 12 giant Kewpie dolls that twirled around Stadium Australian during the unforgettable Sydney 2000 Olympic Games closing ceremony.

Candy and her Kewpie sisters were designed by Brian Thompson based on the Marcella Kewpie, a flapper-girl Japanese version of American magazine illustrator Rose O’Neill’s cowlicked, roly-poly original.

O’Neill created her first Kewpie doll in 1907 for Ladies Home Journal.

The name refers to “little Cupid, spelling it with a K because it seemed funnier’’.

The characters were an instant hit and O’Neill drew them for magazines and advertisers for more than 25 years, with the dolls spawning a range of merchandising and given as popular carnival prizes.

Characterised by big eyes in shy, sideways glancing expressions, a single topknot of blond hair, splayed “starfish’’ hands, and an exaggerated potbelly, the mischievous baby-like elves were children’s guardian angels in her stories (specifically, they protected the human girl Dottie Darling).

While Cupid “gets himself into trouble. The Kewpies get themselves out, always searching out ways to make the world better and funnier’’, O’Neill said.

Visitors to the Hydro Majestic can see Candy as they assemble for hotel history tours and enter the elegant Wintergarden Restaurant for high tea or fine dining meals until early January.

Escarpment Group Christmas theming creator Greg Tomkinson said Candy was right at home in the flamboyance of Mark Foy’s “Palace in the wilderness’’.

Candy, Betty, Scarlett and friends were the centrepieces of artistic director David Atkins’ backyard-themedparty to end all parties’’ and the Hydro Majestic is the original Blue Mountains party palace.

“The Christmas tree in the Casino Lobby must fill one of the grandest spaces in the country and competes with the famous dome in scale and design. Needless to say, it has to be fabulous.’’

Along with elaborate decorations throughout the hotel, the Hydro Majestic will celebrate the festive season with a schedule of music and dining events beginning with an opera dinner concert on December 22, Christmas lunch and dinner, a global fusion evening on December 29 and New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Go to hydromajestic.com.au or phone (02) 4782 6885 to book events, accommodation and dining.

 


Silent Night fills majestic Blue Mtns venue

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group        Photos: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Indulge in a feast of the senses this festive season as the Konzert Kollektiv fills the grandest of the grand Blue Mountains hotels with majestic Christmas music on December 22.

(l-r) Tenor Brad Cooper and soprano Catherine Bouchier

Accompanied by fine food and sublime sunset views, soprano Catherine Bouchier will join tenor Brad Cooper and concert pianist Katherine Day for an unforgettable evening at the Hydro Majestic Hotel in the Blue Mountains to mark the 200th anniversary of loved Christmas carol Silent Night.

The event will include well known pieces by Adolf Schulz-Evler, Percy Grainger, Richard Strauss, Peter Alexander, Peter Cornelius, Franz Lehár, Erich Korngold, Adolphe Adam and more.

As well as favourites such as Joy to the World and The Holy City (Jerusalem), the great carol of peace will receive special attention on its 200th anniversary.

According to legend, Silent Night was sung for the first time on Christmas Eve 1818 in a little church in the Austrian village of Oberndorf outside Salzburg. The story goes that the choirmaster hurriedly penned the hymn to be played on a guitar when it was discovered mice had chewed through the bellows of the church organ.

Escarpment Group guest services manager Meagan Iervasi said: “The story of Silent Night pefectly complements the Hydro Majestic, with that just right blend of magic, mischief and majesty.’’

The program will be accompanied by a five-course “taste of Christmas’’ degustation dinner of fresh regional produce showcasing the culinary talents of an international team of chefs.

Tickets: $145pp includes welcome cocktail, dinner and concert. BOOKINGS.

The Silent Night event will open a Christmas and New Year’s season of operatic proportions at Escarpment Group collection of luxury hotels.

Christmas Eve – December 24

HYDRO MAJESTIC HOTEL

Inspired by the sparkle of Christmas lights and the warm glow they bring to the festive season, the Wintergarden Restaurant will host a decadent five-course degustation with all the trimmings overlooking the spectacular views of the Megalong Valley. Cost: $125 adults, $65 children (3-12 years), children aged 0-2 years complimentary. BOOKINGS.

Christmas Day – December 25

ECHOES RESTAURANT

Lunch: five-course lunch infused with Asian flavours overlooking the Jamison Valley. Cost: $189 adults, $65 children (4 – 12 years).

Dinner: five-course Asian-inspired degustation with a glass of sparkling cocktail on arrival. Cost: $169 adults, $65 children (4 – 12 years).

DARLEY’S RESTAURANT

Lunch: seven-course contemporary Australian degustation featuring the freshest seasonal local ingredients served in the historic multi award-winning building. Cost: $229 adults, $119 children (4 – 12 years).

LILIANFELS RESORT & SPA

Lunch: five-course degustation featuring hot and cold traditional Christmas fare including a three-hour beverage package (standard beer, wine, soft drinks). Cost: $199 adults, $179 teenagers (13 – 17 years), $90 children (4 – 12 years).

HYDRO MAJESTIC HOTEL

Lunch: sumptuous three-tier feast featuring fresh seafood, charcutier selections, carvery and traditional Christmas desserts as well as a three-hour beverage package (standard beer, wine, soft drinks) in the understated elegance of the Wintergarden Restaurant. Cost: $199 adults, $149 teenagers (13 – 17 years) and $85 children (4 – 12 years).

Dinner: lavish five-course degustation featuring an elegant array of seafood, traditional Christmas roasts and dessert, with a glass of sparkling on arrival while enjoying the sunset over the Megalong Valley. Cost: $159 adults and $85 children (4 – 12 years).

  • Each venue will be decked in traditional decorations, with bon bons on the table and even a visit from Santa for the children. Children aged under 4 years complimentary.

Boxing Day (Wednesday, December 26)

HYDRO MAJESTIC HOTEL

High Tea: Take advantage of the holiday season and extend celebrations to a three-tiered indulgence in the Wintergarden Restaurant against the backdrop of sublime panoramic views over the Megalong Valley. Cost: $75 adults and $45 children (4-12 years old).

BOILERHOUSE CAFÉ, Hydro Majestic Hotel

Lunch: Two-course casual meal in a funky venue with a glass of sparkling on arrival and views over the Megalong Valley. Cost: $75pp.

Rio to Rome – December 29

HYDRO MAJESTIC HOTEL

Celebrate global fusion with an evening of world music, a five-course degustation meal featuring outstanding fresh seasonal produce and the culinary talents of our team of international chefs. Tickets: $135pp includes glass of sparkling on arrival, degustation dinner and performance. BOOKINGS.

New Year’s Eve – December 31

HYDRO MAJESTIC HOTEL

Retro Grooves: Dust off those platform shoes and Motown moves for a night of `70s DJ dance music. Make your New Year transition unforgettable with an extravagant five-course degustation, glass of sparkling on arrival and live entertainment and panoramic views over the Megalong Valley. Smart casual dress code applies. Cost: $159 adults, $85 children aged 4-12. BOOKINGS.

Go to hydromajestic.com.au or phone (02) 4782 6885 to book events, accommodation and dining.


Blue Mountains: Majestic entertainment line-up at Hydro

 

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.


Blue Mountains, NSW: Snow-dusted Yulefest

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group       Photos: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

The enchantment of opera performed within a legendary party palace, fine dining, the intimacy of crackling fireplaces and even the possibility of snow-dusted landscapes this Yulefest with Escarpment Group.

High tea with a view at the Hydro Majestic Hotel

Locals and sojourners are warmly welcomed into any of its boutique hotels for steaming drinks, fireside dining and rousing entertainment to celebrate the season for which the Blue Mountains is most famous.

Walk up an appetite by wandering sumptuously refurbished, exotically-named spaces like Cat’s Alley and Salon du The on a guided history tour of the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath while listening to saucy tales of indiscretion on a luxurious scale.

Then, indulge in a traditional high tea repose featuring nostalgic flavours such as ginger, cranberry and roast pork in the elegant Wintergarden Restaurant overlooking the Megalong Valley.

Alternatively, sink into the refined surrounds of the 5-star Lilianfels Resort & Spa lounge at Echo Point to nibble on delicate finger sandwiches, fluffy scones with homemade jam and fresh clotted cream, and a selection of Yulefest sweet treats beside a cosy fireplace.

High tea in plush comfort at Lilianfels Resort & Spa

The decadent Yulefest theme continues with degustation dinners each Friday and Saturday throughout July in the historic Darley’s Restaurant on the Lilianfels property, as well as in the adjacent Echoes Restaurant and the Wintergarden Restaurant at the Hydro Majestic.

Escarpment Group guest services manager Meagan Iervasi encouraged locals to immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere by attending an event.

Hatted decadence at Darley’s Restaurant

“Yulefest in the Blue Mountains offers the European-style atmosphere people associate with Christmas – a chilly landscape outside and cosiness inside with roaring fires, hot food and drinks, traditional decorations and festive music, but without the stress and frosty relatives.

“It’s also a great way for people who have made a recent tree change to mingle with their neighbours and make new community connections.’’

On July 21, one of Australia’s favourite adopted sons, Mark Lizotte (aka Diesel) will celebrate with a special performance at the Hydro Majestic, 30 years since he literally stepped off the bus with his band Johnny Diesel and the Injectors and set off on a chart-topping 15-album career. Cost: $150pp dinner and show, $40pp show only.

Tenor Brad Cooper brings to enchantment of opera to the Hydro Majestic Hotel

On August 18, relish the romance and nostalgia of Austria’s golden age with a program of crowd favourites from the best Viennese waltzes, gorgeous Wienerlieder (Vienna songs) and operetta to the wild world of the 1920s and `30s Berlin cabaret with a splash of comedian harmonists.

Opera Australia, Oper Köln, Opéra Comique & Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris and English National Opera tenor Brad Cooper and Johann Strauss Ensemble Vienna leader, violinist Russell McGregor, will be joined by Austrian accordionist Pavel Singer in the Wintergarden Restaurant performance, which will be matched with a five-course degustation dinner. Tickets: $135pp. Bookings: (02) 4782 6885.

Then, on August 25, experience opulence and history on a grand scale when the Hydro Express vintage train returns to the Blue Mountains.

Travel from Central in your choice of class carriage (standard, premier or lounge) aboard a heritage train hauled by restored 1950s diesel locomotive 4201. After a scenic two-hour rail journey to the Blue Mountains, be guided to the beautifully refurbished Hydro Majestic Hotel for a luxe afternoon high tea.

Go to escarpmentgroup.com.au or phone (02) 4780 1200 for more information about accommodation packages, dining options and events.

*Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

Fireside dining at Darley’s Restaurant


Blue Mountains hospitality apprenticeship opportunities

Free 5-star training available for would-be hospitality workers in some of the best hotels in the Blue Mountains

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group     Photos: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Would-be hospitality workers can receive 5-star training in the region’s top hotels for free after the State Government scrapped TAFE fees for 100,000 apprentices, saving students about $2000 per course in order to combat the national trades drought.

Escarpment Group of hotels will contribute to the training investment, to be facilitated by the Skilling Australia Fund from July 1, and has invited applicants to submit their details.

The company operates the most awarded resorts in regional NSW including Lilianfels Resort & Spa, Darley’s Restaurant, Echoes Boutique Hotel & Restaurant, the iconic Hydro Majestic Hotel and Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges in the Blue Mountains. Further north, it also owns the historic Convent in the Hunter Valley and the multi award-winning paddock-to-plate restaurant Circa 1876.

Apprenticeships are available in various roles

With 10 busy dining outlets, the need for skills is significant.

Escarpment Group operations manager Adam Holmes said training trades and tourism workers under an apprenticeship enrolment with TAFE would help top up falling worker numbers in the industry.

“Over the past five years the numbers of apprentices has reduced year on year to almost nil and we need more motivated skilled staff for regional tourism to thrive.

“Escarpment Group is a dynamic operator of premium hotels and resorts and needs trainees to future-proof the region for economic growth.’’

Apprenticeships are available in the roles of chef, housekeeping, food and beverage service, customer service and reception.

Mr Holmes, originally from Cronulla and recently returned to Australia from Mauritius, said: “Escarpment Group is the largest tourism employer in the Blue Mountains with numerous staff with experience in some of the top restaurants and hotels in the world, ready and willing to share their knowledge and skills with trainees.

“With five luxury properties across two mature tourism regions, there is plenty of opportunity for growth and diversity in a versatile career that can take you anywhere in the world.’’

Potential apprentices have been invited to submit details to recruitment@escarpmentgroup.com.au.

*Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

Apprentices will learn on the job from experienced staff


Festive arrival for Santa at Hydro Majestic Hotel, Blue Mountains

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group

The naughty and the nice will soon be revealed as stockings are opened around the world, but it appears Santa Claus is paying special attention to Blue Mountains locals and visitors.

A TV weather camera last week captured what appeared to be Santa reverse parking over the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath. The above image was taken at 4.05am last Monday [December 11] by the unmanned camera and has generated much interest on social media.

The unknown element above the building on the left side of the photograph could be interpreted as a herd of reindeer reverse parking in formation, while the light in the middle of the picture above the spire atop the Belgravia accommodation wing is an unidentified flying object (Santa’s sleigh perhaps?).

Neither of those objects are usually in the night sky over the Hydro Majestic and appeared for just a minute.

Hydro Majestic guest services manager Meagan Iervasi said: “No one has actually seen Santa in the past few days but the Hydro Majestic has so many rooms, even a couple that have been boarded up, and a rumoured secret passage that he could very well be roaming around upstairs unbeknown to us.

“The reindeers have eight kilometres of bush from the back of the hotel right down to the Megalong Valley to hide in.

“Our chefs have noticed a slice of Christmas cake missing from the fridge and a used glass with traces of milk in the sink each morning though.’’

In any case, visitors to Mark Foy’s legendary “Palace in the wilderness’’ can experience the magic of Christmas from the moment they enter the Casino Lobby under the famous Hydro Majestic dome where they are greeted with snow domes, sparkling sentinels and an enormous tree twinkling with baubles, while the Wintergarden Restaurant has been adorned with wreaths and table decorations, watched over by two massive golden reindeers.

  • Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

Roaring 20s Festival: art deco weekend at Hydro Majestic Hotel

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group                   Photos: David Hill

The Hydro Majestic Hotel will revive its most mischievous traditions and host the ultimate day-long vintage revelry on Saturday, February 24.

The Roaring 20s Festival celebrations will high kick off with a community Charleston Challenge for Charity dance in front of the Majestic Pavilion at 11am.

The naughty knees-up will be an opportunity for art deco buffs to don their most sophisticated 1920s-inspired costumes befitting the elegant venue (eg: feather boas, spats, fedora hats).

There will be prizes galore for best dressed lady, man, couples and hats. Cost: gold coin donation towards Blue Mountains Rural Fire Service.

The Charleston for Charity will be followed by a decadent regional food and wine showcase of shared plates featuring the culinary skills of the Hydro Majestic kitchen team as well as other exceptional local producers.

A fashion parade of exquisite 1920s clothing will add an extra course to the long lunch menu. Cost: $95pp.

Sumptuous high tea will be available in the Wintergarden Restaurant overlooking the Megalong Valley throughout the day, along with history tours of the world-famous hotel.

That evening, the grandest of the grand Blue Mountains hotels will again resound with the likes of Al Capone, Dutch Schultz and Bugsy Siegel when the Hydro Majestic holds a Gangster Casino Night in support of Katoomba Hospital.

Guests can play all the traditional games at casino-quality tables with professionally trained casino standard croupiers.

There will be an array of prizes, and money raised at the 18 years plus-restricted event will go towards refurbishing the waiting room in the local Katoomba Hospital emergency department. Cost: $55 per person general admission to Casino includes welcome cocktail.

Visitors are encouraged to fully immerse themselves in the Roaring 20s Festival by staying for at least one night at the Hydro Majestic Hotel or one of its nearby sister properties Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges, Echoes Boutique Hotel or Lilianfels Resort & Spa.

Go to www.hydromajestic.com.au or phone (02) 4782 6885 to book any/all of the Roaring 20s Festival events, accommodation and dining.

  • The Hydro Majestic Hotel is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

Blue Mountains bush Christmas with altitude

By Ellen Hill            Photos: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

The chirp of cicadas competing with Christmas carols, an awe-inspiring backdrop of towering golden escarpments and dramatic valleys and a cooling breeze carrying the subtle scent of eucalyptus. Welcome to an Aussie bush Christmas and summer holiday season in the Blue Mountains.

PRE-CHRISTMAS:

Begin the Christmas countdown early with lantern-making workshops for kids aged four to 12 at Leura Garage funky eatery off the top of Leura Mall from 3pm to 5pm on November 28 and December 4 and 13 in the lead-up to Leura Village Association’s December 15 Christmas festival. Cool prizes from upmarket local shops. Cost: $10 per child (must be accompanied by an adult) includes lantern kit and drinks and nibbles. Bookings: (02) 4784 3391, info@leuragarage.com.au or leuragarage.com.au/lantern.

GIFT IDEAS:

 

Give your adult loved ones some grown-up time with a Faeriestorm Nanny Service voucher. Available in hourly blocks (minimum two hours *conditions apply), the fully qualified nannies will care for their kids while the adults enjoy some down time. Purchases: Brenda Edwards 0417 448 318 or nanny@bluemountainsnanny.com.au.

A night away with a day spa pamper package at a blissful retreat such as Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges or dinner at a swanky restaurant such as the Wintergarden Restaurant at the Hydro Majestic Hotel are always popular.

 

 

A truly unique way of sightseeing in style is with Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs from within a vintage Cadillac car. Dressed in formal attire, your local driver will collect you from and return you to any location in the Blue Mountains. Bookings: info@bluemountainslimo.com.au or Donald on 0455 352 976.

CHRISTMAS DAY:

Tuck into a sumptuous feast with all the trimmings, decorations, bon bons, beverage package and even a visit from Santa for the children at the 5-star Lilianfels Resort & Spa near Echo Point or a seven-course degustation at the multi award-winning hatted Darley’s Restaurant. Bookings: escarpmentgroup.com.au or (02) 4780 1200.

NEW YEAR’S EVE:

For an unforgettable Auld Lang Syne moment, feast in the New Year at the chic Echoes Restaurant at Katoomba or the world-famous Cat’s Alley at the Hydro Majestic Hotel after watching a sublime sunset over a blue haze-shrouded valley while sipping a cocktail and resolving to take more time out in 2018. Bookings: escarpmentgroup.com.au or (02) 4780 1200.

SCHOOL HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES:

Talisman Gallery, Hartley historic village, Great Western Hwy (400m before turn off to Jenolan Caves heading west): Try your hand at the time honoured art of blacksmithing and make your very own fire poker on the forge and anvil on January 26 and 27. Cost: $25 includes materials and tuition. Decent footwear required. Bookings essential: Ron 0407 723 722 or info@talismangallery.com.au.

 

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, 37 Everglades Ave, Leura: Kids aged three to six can learn about heritage conservation and the natural environment in one of the most enchanting historic properties in the Blue Mountains through the My Adventure at Everglades activity book ($10 and $5 per subsequent book). Entry: $13 adults, $8 concessions, $4 children, National Trust members free. Details: (02) 4784 1938 or email evergladesgarden@nationaltrust.com.au.

* All businesses mentioned are commercial clients of Deep Hill Media

 


Fine dining award win for Circa 1876 restaurant, Hunter Valley NSW

Circa 1876 executive chef Trent Barrett creates a culinary masterpiece

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group        Photos: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Circa 1876 is the best fine dining restaurant in regional NSW, with the Pokolbin restaurant’s win at the prestigious Restaurants & Catering Industry Association Australia (R&CA) awards last week [September 18] cementing its culinary reputation.

Executive chef Trent Barrett and his team brought home the NSW Regional Fine Dining award from the Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Hostplus Awards for Excellence. Circa 1876 also earned an honourable mention in the NSW Regional Restaurant Caterer category.

Circa 1876 executive chef Trent Barrett, whose sustainable dining philosophy fuels his menu through the restaurant’s kitchen garden, onsite bee hives, quails and chooks, praised his team: “No one can achieve excellence without the commitment and skills of a team, and I am blessed to work with so many talented chefs and wait staff here.

“While we appreciate that our guests expect to be wowed by our meal designs, our aim is always to nourish diners with ingredients of the freshest and highest quality. This award confirms we are on the right track.’’

Located next to Peppertree Wines, Circa 1876 and The Convent boutique hotel on the same property recently joined the Escarpment Group collection of luxury properties which also includes Lilianfels Resort & Spa, Echoes Boutique Hotel, Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges and the famous Hydro Majestic Hotel in the Blue Mountains.

Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger said: “There are many fantastic restaurants in Australia and the Hunter Valley is home to some of the best, so this is a terrific achievement and a wonderful acknowledgment of the calibre of our business and the team behind it.’’

The R&CA Awards for Excellence is a nationally recognised, independently judged awards program that recognises exceptional service and culinary talent in restaurants, cafes, takeaway and catering businesses across Australia. It provides publicity for hospitality businesses, a chance to network with key suppliers and acknowledges the achievements of hospitality staff.

* Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media


Hydro jazzes up Mountains’ nightlight

(l-r) Damien Whiteley and Brad Cooper perform at the Hydro Majestic Hotel at last year’s opera festival. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group

Masterpieces performed by some of the finest operatic and classical music talent followed by the unique tones of the Steve Hunter Trio will help jazz up the Blue Mountains nightlife scene in time for summer from the end of this month.

Bass Damian Whiteley. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Celebrate the long weekend in a sensual atmosphere of music, heartbreaking tragedy, passion and cheeky fun when the operatic traditions of the grandest of the region’s grand hotels are revived during the Blue Mountains Opera Festival on Saturday, September 30, and Sunday, October 1.

Opera buffs can choose from one or more of the following performances:

  • High tea, Saturday: Mozart’s magnificent masterpiece, his Clarinet Quintet, will begin the weekend on a high note featuring Sydney Symphony Orchestra clarinettist Frank Celata with the Enigma Quartet (you may even catch the singers giving a sneak preview of the evening concert).

 

  • Pianists Kristian Chong and Grace Kim perform together at the Hydro Majestic recently. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

    Opera Gala Dinner Concert, Saturday: After a glowing inaugural success last year, Opera Australia tenor Brad Cooper, mezzo/soprano Sally Wilson and bass Damian Whiteley will take guests on an evening of drama, passion and cheeky fun. The singers will be accompanied by Sun Yi and Monique Irik on violin, Neil Thompson (viola), Minah Choe (cello) and Grace Kim (piano). Guests will also enjoy drinks and canapes on arrival at 5.30pm followed by an alternate two-course dinner with four-hour beverage package before the 7pm concert. Cost: $150pp.

  • High tea, Sunday: The festivities crescendo when eight of the finest string players perform with the ever popular Mendelssohn Octet featuring the talents of Sun Yi, Marianne Broadfoot, Monique Irik and Kerry Martin on violins, Rosemary Curtin and Neil Thompson on violas and Minah Choe and Rowena Macneish on cello.

Each high tea concert package ($65pp) includes a glass of sparkling wine or cocktail on arrival with a sumptuous three-tier offering including a selection of gourmet sandwiches, scones, pastries and handmade desserts served with tea and coffee. High tea will be served between 10.30am and 12pm with the concert from 12pm to 1pm.

The Boiler House Restaurant. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Then, surrounded by the rustic industrial textures of brick and steel in the historic Boiler House Restaurant, the Steve Hunter Trio will kick off a new monthly Live@TheBoilerHouse music series on Saturday, October 7, with an intimate musical experience.

Featuring the internationally-renowned Steve Hunter on electric bass, Matt Keagan (sax) and Gordon Rytmeister (drums), the band encourages unique input from its individual musicians. Instead of taking on one typical jazz style, the composition style sees a focus on the strength of the “voices’’ of the players.

Joined by Michael Storey on guitar and Mervyn Sequeria on bass, singer Rebekka Neville will perform her repertoire of jazz standards, Latin and contemporary grooves on November 4.

 

Steve Hunter. Photo: Supplied

The renowned George Washingmachine Quartet will play the Boiler House with his special blend of music and visual talent on November 25.

General manager of Escarpment Group, which owns the Hydro Majestic, Ralf Bruegger said: “With a more casual atmosphere, contemporary music lineups, tapas food and reasonably-priced beverages, Boiler House events will introduce a new generation to the original Blue Mountains party palace.

“Music, parties and general revelry have always been a signature of the Hydro Majestic experience. People came here a hundred years ago to indulge and have fun, and we encourage the same today (elegantly of course).’’

The Steve Hunter Trio will play the Boiler House Restaurant from 7.30pm to 10pm Saturday, October 7. Tickets: $35. Bookings: reservations@hydromajestic.com.au.

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

The Boiler House Restaurant. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media


Blue Mountains NSW on global show

Celebrity chef Luke Nguyen with (l-r) Darley’s Restaurant third year apprentice chef Kian Llorente, executive chef Lee Kwiez and commis chef Jessie Hapuku)

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group

The Greater Blue Mountains region will be showcased to billions of potential tourism visitors when SBS airs the next Luke Nguyen cultural foodie series early next year.

The celebrity chef spent a whirlwind two days in the area recently filming interviews with food producers in the Jamison and Megalong valleys, visits to cultural identities such as the Escarpment Group-owned Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath, fusion cooking at Echoes Restaurant and inspiration gathering sessions with Darley’s Restaurant Hatted executive chef Lee Kwiez.

The SBS Food Diaries series, which will be shown in 160 countries, will trace Nguyen’s journey from his childhood roots and connections in Vietnam to his first restaurant in Surry Hills and his current international success.

Escarpment Group director Huong Nguyen has known Luke (no relation) since he was a child growing up in his family’s restaurant at Cabramatta: “Our fathers were both in the military before the war ended in 1975 and his family came to Australia shortly after mine.’’

Celebrity chef Luke Nguyen on location at Echoes Boutique Hotel filming his cultural foodie series SBS Food Diaries

Both Nguyen families were among two million Vietnamese to flee the Communist regime after it came to power in 1975. “Despite his humble background, Luke and siblings Pauline and Lewis were all resilient, creative and academically gifted and have all achieved outstanding success.’’

Nguyen is best known as the host of television series Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam and Luke Nguyen’s Street Food Asia. He is also a judge on MasterChef Vietnam and has appeared several times on MasterChef Australia as guest chef.

He also owns a cooking school and restaurants in Hong Kong and Vietnam, the Red Lantern in Surry Hills, Fat Noodle in The Star Sydney and the Treasury Hotel & Casino in Brisbane, and has penned several cookbooks.

“Now Luke is bringing Australia to the world. Yes, Luke’s latest series is definitely a fantastic showcase of our Blue Mountains properties, but it’s also great exposure for the region and will introduce millions, if not billions, of viewers throughout the world to the abundance of fresh regional produce available to them when they visit any restaurant, café, B&B or hotel that offers local flavours on their menus here,’’ Ms Nguyen said.

  • Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

Hydro Majestic gangsters raise funds for Katoomba Hospital

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group            Photos: David Hill

The original Blue Mountains party palace will again resound with the likes of Al Capone, Dutch Schultz and Bugsy Siegel when the Hydro Majestic Hotel holds a Gangster Casino Night on Saturday, May 27, in support of Katoomba Hospital.

Guests can play Blackjack, Poker, Roulette, The Money Wheel with Majestic Money at casino-quality tables with professionally trained casino standard croupiers.

Prizes on the night will include accommodation packages, dinner and show tickets, day spa, high tea packages and more.

Money raised at the event will go towards refurbishing the waiting room in the Katoomba Hospital emergency department.

An 18 years plus age restriction applies for this event, which will begin with a three-course dinner in the Wintergarden Restaurant from 6pm-8pm during which there will be entertainment, followed by the casino in the Majestic Marquee from 8pm-11pm.

Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger said Escarpment Group was pleased to help Katoomba Hospital, which had a 92-year-long history of caring for the health and wellbeing of locals and visitors.

“While we do enjoy reliving the decadence and party lifestyle made famous by the first owner of the Hydro Majestic, Mark Foy, Escarpment Group is very much involved in the Blue Mountains community.

“The staff at Katoomba Hospital work tirelessly for the good of others including, occasionally, our guests, so if we can help make their job easier and have fun along the way, then everyone wins.’’

There will be no cigars or opium like there was in the gangster era of course “but there’s no prohibition in 2017 so our bars will be open and serving a range of exotic cocktails’’.

To look the part, gents could wear a three-piece suit (pinstriped if possible) accentuated by a contrasting tie (never a bow tie) and suspenders, with a dark overcoat, a fedora hat, black dress shoes with white spats, a pocket square, watch chain with a watch and a thin, straight moustache.

“Gangsters were most definitely criminals but the mob bosses weren’t ruffians. They always looked snazzy – Al Capone was just as sophisticated as Rudolph Valentino,’’ Mr Bruegger said.

Flappers sported short sleek hair, shorter shapeless shift dress, a flat chest, dramatic makeup (often applied in public) and exposed limbs accessorised with a long string of beads; a beaded skullcap, fascinator headpiece or scarf; long satin gloves; stockings rolled down just below the knee; and Mary Jane-style shoes. Hair was worn in a bob, a chignon; or waves or kiss-curls around the hairline.

Tickets: $55 per person general admission to Casino includes welcome cocktail; $150pp includes three-course dinner in Wintergarden Restaurant plus entry to Casino event. Bookings: hydromajestic.com.au.

  • Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s wife visits Hydro Majestic

(l-r) Professor Cheng Hong accepts a gift from Escarpment Group director Huong Nguyen during her visit

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group

The Blue Mountains was the destination of choice for the wife of visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Saturday [March 25] when she made a surprise trip to the region.

After an endless cavalcade of police escort, Professor Cheng Hong and her entourage of Chinese media and advisors retreated to the glamourous Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath, where she was welcomed and presented with a hamper of local wines, gourmet jams, teas and honey.

The heritage hotel unveiled spectacular views over the Megalong Valley from the Wintergarden restaurant, matched by a palate of pasties and sweets.

With military precision yet a surprisingly relaxed pace, the delegation sampled the regional produce and sipped freshly brewed teas while taking in the views and history which has made the Hydro Majestic famous.

Taking time out from the trade-drive visit to Australia with her husband, Professor Cheng Hong then visited Echo Point Lookout overlooking the Three Sisters rock formation and lunched on grass-fed Australian Angus beef tenderloin at the nearby Echoes Boutique Hotel and Restaurant, which overlooks the lush valleys from where the meat was sourced.

Modest and reserved, preferring to keep a low profile, Professor Cheng Hong is more interested in tranquility and natural environment than politics, business or fashion.

An English professor specialising in naturalism in American literature, she has translated many books in the field including Wake-Robin, The Singing Wilderness, and The Outermost House.

In the abstract of her book Tranquility Is Beyond Price (2009), Professor Cheng Hong wrote that she developed her interest in American and British writing on nature and the environment when she was a visiting scholar at Brown University in the US.

The university website lists her as one of its “renowned scholars’’ and a member of the institute’s academic committee.

Escarpment Group director Huong Nguyen said while the visit was very tight lipped, it was not a surprise given that China and Australia were keen to extend tourism and cultural exchanges.

With more than 1 million Chinese visitors to Australia, tourism was an area of tremendous economic growth in terms of tourism and hospitality related employment, vocational training and education, she said.

“Professor Cheng Hong was mesmerised with the ever-changing views of the Blue Mountains escarpment and seemed happy to relax and enjoy a leisurely lunch featuring regional beef, wines, cheeses and chocolates.

“It was a great opportunity for the management team at the Hydro Majestic and Echoes Boutique Hotel & Restaurant to highlight cultural diversity, language capacity and vocational education and training focus in the Blue Mountains.’’

The Escarpment Group team welcomed the visiting Chinese delegation to the Blue Mountains in Mandarin and gave Professor Cheng Hong a brief history of the Hydro Majestic, reflecting on its eccentric and entrepreneurial beginnings including a glimpse of early Chinese heritage and in the Blue Mountains.

Premier Keqiang, Professor Cheng Hong and their delegation’s visit to Australia marked the 45th anniversary of Australia-China diplomatic relations.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it was “an opportunity to reflect on how much we have achieved and take steps to ensure our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership continues to strengthen into the future’’.

* Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

Professor Cheng Hong and her party enjoyed high tea and a spectacular view during their visit


Blue Mountains: Cheeky fun returns to Hydro Majestic

Opera singers (l-r) Damien Whiteley and Brad Cooper will perform at the Hydro Majestic Hotel

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group            Photos: David Hill

Seat-swapping, hand-crossing bravura, drama, passion and cheeky fun will return to the original Blue Mountains party palace as a string of musical events rolls out during the next few months.

Tenor Brad Cooper performing at the Hydro Majestic Hotel last year

The music program will see the return of popular opera and classical instrumental performances, reviving the traditions established by original Hydro Majestic Hotel owner, Mark Foy, in the early 20th century.

General manager of Escarpment Group, which owns the Hydro Majestic, Ralf Bruegger said: “The Hydro Majestic and Foy himself were famous for their revelry and decadence and we’ve reignited the celebration by filling the calendar with festivals, events and performances and an endless round of public and private parties.

“Guest are welcome to swap seats, cross hands and indulge in cheeky fun but please keep the passion and drama to yourselves.’’

Choose one or more from the following performances:

Cellist Teije Hylkema performing at the original Blue Mountains party palace recently

 

Le Grand Tango, June 11: Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra principal cellist Teije Hylkema and internationally-awarded pianist Grace Kim will present a program to ignite passion and fire featuring Le Grand Tango by Astor Piazzolla.

4 hands, 2 pianists, 1 piano, August 19: One of the busiest pianists in Australia, Kristian Chong, will team up with Grace Kim to present a brilliant program of seat swapping, hand crossing bravura. You will see why four hands are better than two.

 

 

 

There will be plenty of operatic humour from bass Damian Whiteley

2017 Blue Mountains Opera Festival, September 30 – October 1:

  • High tea, Saturday: Mozart’s magnificent masterpiece, his Clarinet Quintet, will begin the weekend on a high note featuring Sydney Symphony Orchestra clarinettist Frank Celata with the Enigma Quartet.
  • Opera Gala Dinner Concert, Saturday: After a glowing inaugural success last year, Opera Australia tenor Brad Cooper, mezzo/soprano Sally Wilson and bass Damian Whiteley will take guests on an evening of drama, passion and cheeky fun.
  • High tea, Sunday: The festivities crescendo when eight of the finest string players perform with the ever popular Mendelssohn Octet.

Teije Hylkema will return to the Hydro Majestic

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. The concert will be from 12pm to 1pm.

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

 


Majestic snatch back of Ashes of retro dance at Hydro

Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge artistic adviser Angela Corkeron leads the 2016 attempt.

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group          Photos: David Hill

The Poms have snatched the Ashes (well, the Ashes of the retro dance world) and every pair of left feet will help give the Blue Mountains a sporting chance at reclaiming it on Saturday, February 25.

The annual Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge Guinness World Record attempt for the largest number of costumed people to dance the Charleston will be held at the world-famous Hydro Majestic Hotel at 11am sharp, with training sessions and registration from 10am.

The Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge first claimed the title in 2012. The local event broke its own record in 2013 with 276 dancers and again in 2014. It reached 360 dancers in 2015.

Then in 2015, the town of Bexhill in England snatched the title with 503 dancers, followed by a raid by Swing Patrol dance troupe in London with 975 dancers later that year.

Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge captain/artistic advisor, Angela Corkeron said: “We admit, we dropped the ball and were slammed when the Poms came out of left field. We just haven’t been able to get back to form since.

“But we’re Aussies and competitive recreation is our game. We’ve called time out and our match plan is to high kick that record right back at `em with full velocity.

“We need 1000 dancers on the team. We need sports people with that competitive spirit to help us smash the record for a six and bring that title home triumphant.

’’Participants don’t need to be professional dancers, just dressed in 1920s costume (a flapper dress and feather boa for girls and a suit and Fedora hat for blokes will do), registered for the event and able to attempt the Charleston dance for five minutes.

The Hydro Majestic Hotel is opposite Medlow Bath station on the Blue Mountains railway line, so parking is not an issue.

The Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge is a free event, although gold coin donations raise funds for Blue Mountains Rural Fire Service, whose volunteers tirelessly protect the community during bushfires.

Stay on after dancing your way into history for the Majestic Long Lunch and indulge in delicious regional food and wine. Cost: $95pp.

A highlight of the annual Roaring 20s Festival in the area, the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge will be held in front of the pavilion at the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Great Western Hwy, Medlow Bath, at 11am sharp on Saturday, February 25. Prizes for best performance and costumes will be given.

Go to www.charlestonchallenge.com.au to see a Charleston dance tutorial and www.hydromajestic.com.au to register for the Majestic Charleston Challenge and book other Roaring 20s Festival events at the Hydro Majestic, dining options and accommodation.

  • Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media         

Majestic journey revives Hydro’s vintage past

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group       Photos: David Hill

Retro revivalists can relive the past by travelling in vintage car convoy from Penrith to the original Blue Mountains party palace as part of the annual Roaring 20s Festival on Friday, February 24.

 

The bevvy of costumed festivalgoers will be transported in exquisite antique convoy by Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs in the opulent style and spirit of Mark Foy’s legendary first motorcade to the Hydro Majestic Hotel, pausing along the route at heritage landmarks for refreshments and to promenade to maximum 1920s effect.

 

The magnificent fleet of cars will include LaSalle model Cadillacs, Ava (as in legendary silver screen star Ava Gardner), a dark blue 1928 five-passenger Coupe; Ella (Fitzgerald), a 1929 convertible Landau Cabriolet; and Flora, a cherry red coloured 1929 four-passenger Phaeton was named after a different kind of leading lady – owner Donald Millar’s mother.

The Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs collection was begun by Mr Millar’s father, also Donald, who bought the car now named Flora in 1954.

There’s a timelessness to the shape of Cadillac LaSalles, and that’s part of that art deco era,’’ Mr Millar said.Old cars can have a beauty because they’re old, but these cars have a beauty inherent in themselves. They have a distinct beauty, class and rarity.’’

Romantic couples and small friend groups will arrive at Foy’s splendiferous “palace in the wilderness’’ and learn the oft outrageous history of the grandest of the grand Blue Mountains hotels.

They will then nibble on canapes while watching a sublime sunset from exotic venues like Salon du The and Cat’s Alley before dining on theatrical regional fare created by award-winning chefs in the elegant Wintergarden Restaurant.

Guests will retire to luxury overnight accommodation and breakfast at leisure before joining the throng of retro revivalists for the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge world record takeback for the largest number of people to dance the Charleston.

After dancing up an appetite, indulge in a sumptuous repast showcasing the finest regional food and wine available throughout the Greater Blue Mountains and NSW Central West at the Majestic Long Lunch.

 

The Majestic Journeys package includes vintage car ride from Penrith to Medlow Bath (one-way), three-course dinner, two-night’s accommodation, the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge and Majestic Long Lunch. Cost: $2,000 per couple.

The Majestic Long Lunch may also be booked as an individual event. Cost: $95 per person.

Go to www.hydromajestic.com.au or phone (02) 4782 6885 for more information and bookings.

* Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media


Majestic fashion tips for Roaring 20s Festival

Roaring 20s Festival patron Claudia Chan Shaw

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group        Photos: David Hill

Roaring 20s Festival events at the original Blue Mountains party palace will be majestic opportunities to promenade art deco fashion to maximum elegant effect during the February 24-25 weekend.

Retro revivalists can dress to impress for three festival events at the Hydro Majestic Hotel:

Arrive at the Hydro Majestic Hotel in style with Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs

 

 

  • Majestic Journey on Friday, February 24: Couples will be collected from Penrith railway station at 10.30am in a fleet of vintage Cadillacs in the spirit of Mark Foy’s original cavalcade and proceed to the world-famous hotel, pausing en route at several historic landmarks. Once at the Hydro Majestic Hotel, guests can tour the splendiferous “Palace in the wilderness’’ before a three-course dinner overlooking the magnificent Megalong Valley. Cost: $2,000 per couple includes vintage car ride, light luncheon, entry to Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum and Everglades Historic House & Gardens, three-course dinner, accommodation and Majestic Long Lunch. Bookings: (02) 4782 6885 or hydromajestic.com.au.

 

Take part in the retro dance take-back

 

 

  • Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge, 11am on Saturday, February 25: The annual public dance-off will attempt to reclaim the Guinness World Record for the largest number of costumed people dancing the Charleston. Registration and dance tutorial: www.charlestonchallenge.com.au.

 

Indulge in the most decadent regional gourmet food and wine in the Majestic Marquee

  • Majestic Long Lunch, 12.30pm-4pm on Saturday, February 25: Once the excitement of the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge has quietened and retro revivalists promenade to glamorous effect, diners will graze on decadent regional fair and glimpse exquisite fashion from yesteryear from the Darnell Collection of International Vintage Couture. Cost: $95 per person. Bookings: (02) 4782 6885 or www.hydromajestic.com.au.

Long-time festival ambassador, fashion expert and owner of the Darnell Collection of International Vintage Couture, Charlotte Smith, said 1920s fashion was diverse, allowing people to wear outfits which suited their personal taste, social standing, financial state and moral beliefs.

The era was renowned for the emergence of the newly independent worldly-wise “flappers’’ with their flattened chests and shapeless sheath dresses.

 

However, Ms Smith encouraged festival-goers to look to fashion designer Coco Chanel and legendary stars of the silver screen Louise Brooks and Greta Garbo for jaw-droppingly beautiful eveningwear, the likes of TVs Miss Fisher and Agatha Christie murder mystery shows for everyday wear inspiration and the Downtown Abbey series for sophisticated upmarket attire.

Hair was worn short and slicked back or in a bobbed style. Those with long hair could create finger waves at the front and sweep the rest into a low chignon at the back to look like Mary Pickford or Fay Wray.

A modern style example would be television personality and festival patron Claudia Chan Shaw, whose personal wardrobe is heavily influenced by the `20s era.

Men liked to look dapper for every occasion and wore pure cotton or woollen clothes such as a pin-striped cricket outfit or cream linen suit accessorised with silk cravats (not matching but complementary, no ties), cotton or silk handkerchief, a walking stick or umbrella and a hat (golfing caps and fedoras were popular). Rolled up trouser cuffs showing a little bit of sock, a pair of braces and plain or tartan patterned vest completed the look which modern people might identify with The Great Gatsby or New Hamptons collegiate style.

Roaring 20s Festival patron Claudia Chan Shaw with a Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs car at Everglades Historic House & Gardens

Egyptology was all the rage, after the discovery of King Tut’s tomb by archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922. The 1920s was a time when people went adventuring to distant, exotic lands such as cruising the legendary River Nile.

Particularly relevant to the Hydro Majestic, people of the `20s (including original hotel owner Mark Foy) were fascinated with the Orient.

“Think cinnabar jewellery, turbans, zodiac starburst designs, that Greek key pattern, gold and lapis, red and chrysanthemum motifs, tiaras, vintage brooches, beaded or sequined bows, headbands with feathers or a jewel,’’ Ms Smith said.

As well as outside the world-famous hotel in front of crisp white walls and breathtaking valley views, retro buffs can show off their costumes when sipping a cocktail along the dramatically decorated Cat’s Alley, within the beautiful Majestic Marquee and against the enormous windows of the Wintergarden Restaurant during dinner.

Go to www.hydromajestic.com.au or phone (02) 4782 6885 for more Roaring 20s Festival information and to book accommodation and dining options.

* Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

Roaring 20s Festival patron Claudia Chan Shaw with a Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs car at Everglades Historic House & Gardens


Hydro to host majestic Blue Mountains grazing event

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group         Photos: David Hill

The original Blue Mountains party palace will host a regional food and wine showcase on a majestic scale at the annual Roaring 20s Festival long lunch on Saturday, February 25.

Hydro Majestic head chef Mate Herceg

The mouth-watering feast of shared plates will begin with antipasto by Kinship Kitchen, followed by a chicken and rabbit rillettes with toasted brioche main dish designed by Hydro Majestic head chef Mate Herceg with caper dressing and Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges herb-crusted beef fillet, horseradish crème fraiche and sides of twice-cooked potato and pumpkin, EVOO and carrot, kale and celeriac salad, white balsamic dressing.

 

 

The Majestic Long Lunch will be completed with exceptional regional cheeses from the Carrington Cellars & Deli and a wickedly indulgent dessert by Josophan’s Fine Chocolates.

 

 

The upmarket repast will be held after the attempt for the largest number of costumed people dancing the Charleston hopefully reclaims its Guinness World Record with 1,000 dancers in front of the Hydro Majestic Pavilion at 11am. (Go to hydromajestic.com.au to register and charlestonchallenge.com.au to see a dance tutorial.)
Once the excitement of the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge has quietened and retro revivalists promenade to glamorous effect, diners will graze on decadent regional fair.

 

They will also glimpse exquisite fashion from yesteryear from the Darnell Collection of International Vintage Couture.

Diners are encouraged to dust off their most sophisticated `20s-inspired costumes befitting the elegant venue (eg: feather boas, spats, fedora hats) to be eligible to enter the prizes galore up for grabs on the day (best dressed lady, man, couples and hats).

 

 

 

Plate Up Blue Mountains food and wine advisory group chairwoman Pam Seaborn said: “The Blue Mountains is fast becoming recognised as a must-visit food destination, with so many fabulous dining venues and chefs doing amazing things with the outstanding fresh, seasonal produce to be found throughout the Greater Blue Mountains and NSW Central West.

“The annual Roaring 20s Festival is a perfect opportunity to show them off – and dress up, dance and enjoy an afternoon with friends at this gorgeous venue too of course.’’

The Majestic Long Lunch will be held at the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Great Western Hwy, Medlow Bath, from 12.30pm to 4pm on Saturday, February 25. Cost: $95pp includes spiced Peach Melba sparkling cocktail on arrival. Bookings and details: hydromajestic.com.au or phone (02) 4782 6885.

  • Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

Majestic celebration for Year of the Rooster

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group          Photos: David Hill

Respect your elders, celebrate the holidays and begin the Chinese New Year of the Rooster afresh with Asian street food, music, lanterns, lights and lions at the Hydro Majestic Hotel on Sunday, January 29.

The original Blue Mountains party palace will celebrate its Asian heritage past and present with all the sights and sounds of the Orient.

The Hydro Majestic Pavilion at Medlow Bath will be adorned with colourful lanterns, and cherry blossoms and cumquat trees will stand at the doors with lucky red money bags for children to tie to the trees as offerings to respected ancestors.

Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger said: “Our Lunar New Year will recreate the romance of the East and be reminiscent of Oriental opium dens and cigars, although our guests these days will have to make do with dreamy sunsets and cocktails.

“We will, however, adopt the tradition of respecting our ancestors. In our case, we will pay homage to Louie Goh Mong (nicknamed `Charlie’), who worked as a cook at original owner Mark Foy’s home and managed the mayhem at the Hydro Majestic for 35 years.’’

Charlie Goh Mong was just one of many Chinese workers who reverted to their traditional skills across the Blue Mountains post-Bathurst gold rush era around the turn of the 20th century, with many working as butlers, cooks, nannies, maids and produce suppliers to inns, guesthouses and manor houses during that time.

Decades later, people from all over the world continue to work at the grandest of the grand Blue Mountains hotels.

Chinese New Year celebrations will wrap-up a weekend of celebrations of cultural diversity at the Hydro Majestic, after World Degustation Day revels in the flavours of all continents on Earth with a seven-course feast on Friday, January 27, after Australia Day.

Locals can mingle with international visitors to watch the exciting lion dance troupe performance and nibble on Asian street food such as dumplings, barbecued meat and seafood skewers, Banh Mi, fresh spring rolls, rice paper rolls, fried noodles, roasted corn cobs, Asian desserts and more.

Mr Bruegger encouraged visitors to fully immerse themselves in cultural diversity and stay at least one night to experience World Degustation Day from 5.30pm to 9.30pm Friday, January 27; explore the spectacular Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area on the Saturday; and then attend Chinese New Year celebrations from 12pm to 3pm on Sunday, January 29.

Go to www.escarpmentgroup.com.au to book accommodation and dining options at one of the four Escarpment Group properties in the upper Blue Mountains (the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges, Lilianfels Resort & Spa and Echoes Boutique Hotel & Restaurant).

* Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media


Blue Mountains: Hydro Majestic serves global dining palette

Hydro Majestic sous chef Max Vloet

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group               Photos: David Hill

Traditional dishes from exotic global locations infused with local flavours served by staff from around the world: the Hydro Majestic Hotel in the Blue Mountains represents the modern face and cuisine of Australia – as it has for more than a century.

The original Blue Mountains party palace will celebrate its history of cultural diversity during the Australia Day week with a World Degustation Day feast on Friday, January 27.

Hydro Majestic head chef Mate Herceg

Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger said: “The Hydro Majestic has always embraced cultural diversity, not because its first owner Mark Foy was politically correct but because he genuinely loved people of all races, their culture, art and food – just as we do today.

“In fact, what is seen as progressive, even outrageous today, has always been normal at the Hydro Majestic. I mean, what was normal for a man who liked to dress in his wife’s clothing and held cross-dressing parties for his friends?’’

With the means to satisfy his every whim, the well-travelled Foy had the famous hotel dome pre-fabricated in Chicago and shipped to Australia. Dr George Baur of the Shoeneck health spa in Switzerland was hired to devise and supervise a program of diets and weird and wonderful treatments. Turkish coffee at the Hydro Majestic was served by Turkish waiters, Chinese tea by Chinese waiters.

Louie Goh Mong (“Charlie’’), centre, at the Hydro Majestic

Fascinated by all things Asian, Foy employed many Chinese workers who sold their traditional skills across the Blue Mountains during the Bathurst golf rush era around the turn of the 20th century.

One was Louie Goh Mong, nicknamed “Charlie’’, who worked as a cook at Foy’s Sydney home and managed the mayhem at the Hydro Majestic for 35 years.

Today, staff from 16 language groups work at the Hydro Majestic including English, French, Canadian, Russian, Chinese (all dialects), Portuguese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Italian, Indonesian, Thai and more. Mr Bruegger is German and head chef Mate Herceg has a Croatian background.

People visit the Hydro Majestic from all over the world and we must understand and accommodate their cultural needs,’’ Mr Bruegger said.In an internationally renowned destination such as the Blue Mountains it is expected of us and certainly received by our guests in all other mature tourism regions of the world.’’

Jazz singer Evelyn Duprai

Guests at the World Degustation Day banquet will be treated to global gastronomy through a decadent five-course food safari featuring flavours from all seven continents on Earth infused with the distinctive tastes of the Greater Blue Mountains and NSW Central West.

“We’ll also have a dish that’s quintessentially Aussie, because after all that’s our shared experience and we all love being here in this fantastic country of opportunity and diversity,’’ Mr Bruegger said.

The multicultural feast at the grandest of the grand hotels in the Blue Mountains will be designed and prepared by chefs from various cultural backgrounds with experience at internationally-recognised restaurants around the world including Michelin star restaurant-trained sous chef Max Vloet.

Guests can fully immerse themselves in the sumptuous theme with the dramatic colours and sensual textures of the hotel, the unrivalled views over a jaw-droppingly beautiful landscape set to the dulcet tones of African-Australian jazz songstress Evelyn Duprai.

World Degustation Day will be held at the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Great Western Hwy, Medlow Bath, from 5.30pm to 9.30pm on Friday, January 27. Cost: $145pp includes seven-course dinner, sparkling lychee and mint cocktail on arrival and entertainment. Bookings: hydromajestic.com.au or (02) 4782 6885.

* Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

The famous dome over the Casino Lobby


Greater Blue Mountains: Summer school holiday fun

Greater Blue Mountains – one ginormous holiday playground

By Ellen Hill for Blue Mountains Attractions Group

From furry critters and underground caves to enchanted gardens, bushwalks for small people, cool art and Aboriginal culture, the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area is one big playground.

Have a close encounter with a furry friend at Featherdale Wildlife Park

Blue Mountains Attractions Group president Louise Clifton said: “Australia’s first tourist destination has had a long time to perfect the visitor experience and the premier attractions of the Greater Blue Mountains cater for the whole family – not just adults and not just children.

“Everyone loves the adorable animals at Featherdale Wildlife Park, the exciting rides at Scenic World and the fascinating indigenous cultural experience at Waradah Aboriginal Centre is tailored to appeal to all ages, while other attractions are multi-tiered.’’

One of the world’s most spectacular cave systems, Jenolan Caves offers a range of guided tours from easy strolls through the Grand Arch to strenuous explorations of the underworld.

Meet classic storybook characters at Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum

Children will be captivated by meeting their favourite Magic Pudding characters and exploring their gardens at Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum while grown-ups sneak into the art gallery to view the famous paintings.

Everglades Historic House & Gardens and Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mt Tomah have open areas for children to let off some steam and run while adults wander the exquisite avenues. Both properties also have activity books for kids.

Like all the premier attractions in Leura and Katoomba, Blue Mountains Cultural Centre can be accessed easily via a vintage-style hop-on/hop-off Trolley Tours bus. Grown-ups will be wowed by the world-class artworks on display in Blue Mountains City Art Gallery while kids will be amazed at the interactive World Heritage Exhibition.

Stroll in the shade along the Scenic World boardwalk

No trip to the Blue Mountains is complete without a visit to Scenic World where the young and the young at heart can experience the thrill of the world’s steepest passenger railway, walk on air on the skyway and take the cable car to the valley floor to stroll through ancient rainforest.

Stay overnight at Hartley Historic Site to fully immerse yourselves in colonial Australia (the Old Trahlee property sleeps six and has a cot for babies). Tour the courthouse, admire the artwork along the sculpture walk and the Kew-Y-Ahn Art Gallery. Visit metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick at Talisman Gallery where adults can browse the art and jewellery while the kids make their very own fire poker.

Casual lunch at the Hydro Majestic Hotel’s Boiler House Cafe

Families can refuel on any budget when visiting the Greater Blue Mountains. Myriad cafes, kiosks and restaurants including those at Everglades, Hartley Historic Site, Jenolan Caves, the Boiler House Café at the Hydro Majestic Hotel and Blue Mountains Cultural Centre serve the full gamut of treats.

Alternatively, numerous picnic spots in picturesque locations such as Euroka Clearing in Blue Mountains National Park Glenbrook entrance, Jenolan Caves, Wentworth Falls Lake, Hartley Historic Site and Everglades are ideal for home-brought fare.

Explore the underground at Jenolan Caves

The Greater Blue Mountains also has a range of other accommodation options suitable for families from caravan parks and self-contained cottages to upmarket hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs including St Raphael (The Convent) at Leura, The Mountain Lodge at Jenolan Caves and The Jungle Lodge at Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mt Tomah.

Go to bluemountainsattractions.com.au for information about where to stay and what to do in the Greater Blue Mountains region or visit the Blue Mountains Attractions Group Facebook page.

  • Blue Mountains Attractions Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

    Fun and learning for all ages at Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mt Tomah


Christmas with a difference in the Blue Mountains

Christmas with a difference with Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs

Christmas with a difference with Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs and the Hydro Majestic Hotel

 

By Ellen Hill          Photos: David Hill

Spine-tingling ghost hunts through historic sites, theatrical dining in globally recognised locations, chauffeured vintage car rides through sublime landscapes and luxe overnight escapes into colonial Australia. Christmas shopping in the Blue Mountains makes for unforgettable gifts.

Tasty dinner vouchers at Leura Garage

Tasty dinner vouchers at Leura Garage

 

 

Many businesses throughout the “city within a national park’’ offer gift vouchers, including cafes and restaurants like the uber funky Leura Garage serving upmarket casual regional fare in an overhauled car mechanic’s site.

Breathtaking views from Echoes Restaurant

Breathtaking views from Echoes Restaurant

 

 

The Escarpment Group collection of boutique hotels includes the hatted Darley’s Restaurant, five-star Lilianfels Resort & Spa and chic Echoes Boutique Hotel and Restaurant at Katoomba near Echo Point Lookout overlooking the Three Sisters rock formation, deluxe retreat Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges at trendy Blackheath and the world-famous Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath with theatrical dining in the Wintergarden Restaurant. Vouchers are available for accommodation, dining and spa treatments. Details: escarpmentgroup.com.au.

 

Take a tour to the Hydro Majestic Hotel with Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs

Take a tour to the Hydro Majestic Hotel with Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs

 

 

 

Perfect for couples, Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs (bluemountainsvintagecadillacs.com.au) recreates the romance of yesteryear with tours throughout the upper mountains in a luxury vintage car with dedicated chauffeur. Cruise into spectacular lookouts, quaint villages and whimsical art galleries and shops. Journey options include a decadent high tea at the Hydro Majestic or a gourmet picnic at Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges.

Experience by day the jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area with Blue Mountains Mystery Tours (bluemountainsmysterytours.com.au). Creep back after dark for a spine-tingling ghost tour and discover the rich and sometimes bloody history behind the rugged landscape.

Celebrate the silly season with Hillbilly Cider

Celebrate the silly season with Hillbilly Cider

Stuff stockings with regionally-sourced gourmet goodies, trinkets and homewares from boutiques such as the Hydro Majestic Pavilion and Blue Mountains Chocolate Company in Katoomba (bluemountainschocolatecompany.com.au), and celebrate the silly season with uniquely Aussie Hillbilly Cider vintage bubbles (hillbillycider.com.au).

After Christmas, treat your family to the sites and sights of the Greater Blue Mountains, experienced by visitors from around the world. Blue Mountains Attractions Group suggests itinerary inclusions from guided tours, magical heritage gardens and thrilling rides through awesome landscapes to glimpses back to our colonial past, ventures into the underground, close encounters with classic literary characters and furry friends and much more.

  • All businesses mentioned are commercial clients of Deep Hill Media

    Ghoulish gifts with Blue Mountains Mystery Tours

    Ghoulish gifts with Blue Mountains Mystery Tours


Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains: Final Metropolitan Orchestra concert for 2016

Cocktails and Serenades 07

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group             Photos: David Hill

Celebrate the onset of sultry summer evenings, dusky sunsets over breathtaking views and mouth-watering regional fare to the sublime strains of The Metropolitan Orchestra (TMO) when the Hydro Majestic Hotel hosts its final Majestic Concert for 2016.

Winter Ball 12A 55-piece showcase will include a program of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Overture, Kats-Chernin’s Ornamental Air (for Basset Clarinet and Orchestra) and Andrew Doyle displaying the exceptional range of the clarinet in the virtuosic, lyrical Symphony No 7 by Beethoven.

The concert program will be accompanied by a lavish cocktail and dining package.

Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger said: “We’ve had two Majestic Concerts and some of the biggest stars of the modern opera stage perform at the Hydro this year, so I’d say the grand traditions of culture and elegance that the Hydro Majestic is renown have well and truly been revived at the original Blue Mountains party palace.

“The music, the dining, the view and the magnificent heritage building itself combine to create unforgettable occasions.’’

Winter Ball 13Under the baton of founding artistic director and chief conductor Sarah-Grace Williams, TMO comprises Sydney’s most dynamic musicians and is recognised as one of the country’s most versatile orchestras delivering accessible and vibrant concert experiences.

The orchestra’s seven-year history features a star-studded array of highlight concert and/or album performances with the likes of Sumi Jo, David Helfgott, Marina Pior, Anthony Warlow, Elaine Paige, John Farnham with Olivia Newton-John, James Morrison, Kate Ceberano, Vocal Ensembles Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Sydney Chamber Choir, Figaro and members of Opera Australia and Children’s Entertainers Lah-Lah and Buzz.

Winter Ball 14The orchestra has been involved in special events such as BBC’s Blue Planet and Planet Earth in Concert, Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular, Opera in the Vineyards, the National Rugby League grand final; and sailing the high seas as resident orchestra aboard the Bravo! Cruise of the Performing Arts.

TMO has commissioned, presented and recorded world premieres by several Australian composers and has workshopped new works by Paul Stanhope, Stuart Greenbaum, Matthew Hindson and James Humberstone.

Meanwhile, principal TMO clarinettist Andrew Doyle has performed with many bands, orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout Australia including the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and the Royal Australian Navy Band.

Symphony Under the Stars will be held at the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Great Western Hwy, Medlow Bath, from 5.30pm to 9.30pm on Saturday, November 19. Cost: $150pp includes cocktails & canapes, two-course dinner, four-hour beverage package and concert; $55pp show only. Go to hydromajestic.com.au for more dining, event and accommodation details and bookings.

  • Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill MediaWinter Ball 30

Blue Mountains Opera Festival: Majestic drama over Hydro high tea

Sydney Cello Collective will play the Hydro Majestic Hotel

Sydney Cello Collective will play the Hydro Majestic Hotel

 

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.

Opera star Eva Kong

Opera star Eva Kong

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 Nadirs 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.

Sought-after violinist Andrew Haveron

Sought-after violinist Andrew Haveron

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

    Caro String Quartet will help revive tradition at the Hydro Majestic Hotel

    Caro String Quartet will help revive tradition at the Hydro Majestic Hotel