When the young businessman, Mark Foy, returned from Europe at the turn of
the century, his experience of hydropathic therapy there convinced him that it
could be introduced successfully into Australia. To this end he purchased
three properties at Medlow and transformed them into one enormous,
rambling, luxuriously furnished complex that opened in the middle of a snow
storm in 1904. His Hydropathic Sanatorium so dominated Medlow that the
village soon became Medlow Bath.
Hydro Majestic Hotel, Medlow Bath – side view. c.1938
When the popularity of hydropathic treatments eventually waned Foy astutely
began emphasising the recreational side of his enterprise, converting it into a
general tourist hotel that was sophisticated, expensive and very fashionable. To its patrons it became their "palace in a wilderness". Later, in the 1920s and
1930s, the hotel climbed "down market" a peg or two, moving within reach of
the middle classes who flocked to the Mountains at that time.
Among the many visitors who have stayed at the Hydro are some very
famous names. Bertha Von Krupps, the German munitions heiress, arrived
with her grand piano; Nellie Melba and Clara Butt both sang in the Casino;
while Australia's first Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton, died there in 1920.
During World War II the hotel was occupied by United States servicemen
wounded in the battlegrounds of the Pacific.
Today the Hydro Majestic retains its popularity. Sprawling along the ridge at
Medlow Bath it has become one of the principal images that identify the Blue
Mountains in the minds of Australians.
Source: John Low, Blue Mountains City Council Librarian
On 29 May 2009, the owners announced that the Hydro Majestic is closed for renovations. [HydroMajestic website]