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Blue Mountains: Majestic setting for Mystic High Tea


Indulge in high tea in the Wintergarden before having a tealeaf reading in Cat's Alley.

Indulge in high tea in the Wintergarden before having a tealeaf reading in Cat’s Alley.

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group

Tea drinking guests of the Hydro Majestic Hotel can discover “what a day may bring forth’’ when the tealeaves are read at the new Mystic High Tea experience on weekends.

Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger said: “Tealeaf reading goes along with the quirky activities people remember about the Mark Foy period of the Hydro specifically and the end of the Victorian era in general.

The gorgeously refurbished Wintergarden venue overlooking the Megalong Valley.

The gorgeously refurbished Wintergarden venue overlooking the Megalong Valley.

“This is a new attraction we are introducing as part of our continued journey as part of the history of the Greater Blue Mountains region.

“Nowhere else in the Blue Mountains can you indulge in a high tea, wander through the halls of history and have your tea leaves read.

“Everything we do here is done with elegance, good taste and fun. Tea leaf readings are a bit of harmless fun that will help re-create the mischievousness of the original `Palace in the wilderness’.’’

Tealeaf reading, or tasseography, is one of the most common divinations or fortune-telling methods. It interprets patterns of tealeaves (or coffee grounds or wine sediments) and will be practiced in the sumptuous Cat’s Alley venue at the world-famous hotel.

Guests may have their tealeaves read in the dramatic setting of Cat’s Alley after indulging in high tea in the Wintergarden.

The activity involving “the cup that cheers but not inebriates’’ represents refinement, prestige and vogue, just like the exquisitely refurbished Hydro Majestic Hotel.

Continuing with traditional practice, the Hydro Mystic High Tea readings will be conducted only by women, considered to hold the qualities of peace, comfort, and refinement, which will be epitomised in the forms of Juliette Frederick and Sophia Helene at the Hydro.

High tea is served in the Wintergarden, while tealeaf reading is conducted in Cat’s Alley at the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Great Western Hwy, Medlow Bath, from 12pm to 4pm every Saturday and Sunday. Cost: $40pp after normal high tea costs. Go to http://www.hydromajestic.com.au for more information.

Retire to the dramatic setting of the famous Cat's Alley for a tealeaf reading.

Retire to the dramatic setting of the famous Cat’s Alley for a tealeaf reading.

Four Steps to Reading Your Tea Leaves by Juliette Frederick

STEP 1:

Once your tea is cool enough, begin sipping.

If you are right-handed, lift your cup with your left hand.

If left-handed drink with your right. If ambidextrous reach for your cup, stop and use the other hand.

STEP 2:

Now that you are quiet and relaxed, concentrate on the issue foremost in your mind, block out all thoughts and empty your mind.

If there is a stubborn thought that keeps returning, that will be the subject of this reading. Hold that thought. Otherwise, if nothing comes to mind, this will be a general cup reading.

STEP 3:

Breathe deeply. Drink your tea, leaving a couple of teaspoons of liquid in the cup. Hold your cup in your hand and give three good swirls clockwise. This will disperse the tea leaves around the inside of the cup. Gently pour out the remaining liquid by turning the teacup over into the saucer.

STEP 4:

Put your hand on the upside down cup and wish.

Take 3 breaths before turning your cup over.

Now your reading begins.

Owner of the Hydro Majestic Hotel, the Escarpment Group, is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

 

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Shanghai chic at Hydro Majestic Hotel, Blue Mountains


Shanghai chic has returned to the Hydro Majestic Hotel. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Shanghai chic has returned to the Hydro Majestic Hotel. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group

Shanghai chic has returned to the Hydro Majestic Hotel, after the recent opening of the Salon du Thé tearoom and bar.

Decorated in rich Oriental reds, far eastern murals and luxurious furnishings, guests can rediscover the understated decadence of the Empire with a refined Asian-inspired menu and a range of cocktails and wines.

Shanghai chic has returned to the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Blue Mountains.

Shanghai chic has returned to the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Blue Mountains.

Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger said: “The Salon Du Thé is part of one of the most famous spaces in one of the most famous hotels on the planet, Cats Alley in the Hydro Majestic Hotel.

“Cats Alley is often remembered as notorious for prowling women and men seeking company from ladies other than their wives. But the décor and clothing was always classy.

“With blood red walls, peacock feathers and sumptuous furnishings, Cats Alley and the adjoining Salon Du Thé have been beautifully refurbished by interior designer Peter Reeve to reflect that naughty heritage.

“And who knows what history modern guests will make in the future.’’

The Salon Du Thé has a unique ambience in addition to its magnificent views of the Megalong Valley.

A range of Eastern snacks are now available Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

A range of Eastern snacks are now available Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Visitors can lounge in high-backed chairs while nibbling on Eastern fare such as dumplings, Vietnamese rice paper rolls and Chinese twice-cooked pork belly and sipping delicately flavoured tea or a fragrant drop from the regional wine and popular beverage list.

Cat’s Alley has once again morphed into a hip bar/gin palace where elegant visitors can meet over jazz and martinis at sunset.

The venue will complement the other dining experiences across Escarpment Group properties including the Wintergarden and Boiler House Café at the Hydro Majestic, Darley’s Restaurant at Lilianfels and Echoes Restaurant & Bar.

Nearly six years in the making, the Escarpment Group has almost completed its roll-out of the Hydro Majestic Hotel exquisitely refurbished facilities.

Visitors can experience the spectacular Casino Lobby and luxurious Wintergarden, the stylish Delmonte conference and dining rooms and casual dining at the Boiler House Café and bistro.

Eastern High Tea in the Wintergarden at the Hydro Majestic Hotel.

Eastern High Tea in the Wintergarden at the Hydro Majestic Hotel. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

One of the grandest ballrooms in Australia, the Majestic Ballroom boasts vaulted ceilings, open fireplaces and the glamour of yesteryear for weddings and formal events.

A new addition to the Hydro Majestic property is the providores pavilion showcasing quality regional gourmet food and wine and interpretive history displays.

Also new will be the Majestic Point Lookout, picnic and market grounds, providing public access to the best views of the Megalong Valley, perfect for picnics, markets, wine fairs, music and the lost art of public promenading.

“The Hydro Majestic is one of those rare hotels that is a true global icon,’’ Mr Bruegger said.

“In a way, it belongs to the people of Australia because everyone from everyday people to celebrities and prime ministers has a story to tell about staying here.

“Blue Mountains locals have also taken ownership of the Hydro, waiting (impatiently I’m sure) for the refurbishment to be complete so they can bring their friends and family here for a meal and a show, as well as have a look themselves.’’

The Salon du Thé is open from 4pm to 10pm Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Go to hydromajestic.com.au for more dining, event and accommodation details and bookings.

* Escarpment Group, which owns the Hydro Majestic Hotel, is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

Sip cocktails while watching sunset in Cat's Alley. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Sip cocktails while watching sunset in Cat’s Alley. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media


Autumnal hues season Greater Blue Mountains attractions


Autumn in the Greater Blue Mountains is a glorious season. Photo: Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

By Ellen Hill, Blue Mountains Attractions Group

Golden hues, crisp mountain air and exhilarating activities mark the onset of autumn, one of the most visually spectacular seasons for the premier attractions of the Greater Blue Mountains.

Blue Mountains Attractions Group president Dave Robertson said: “Every season here has its charm but autumn is one of the most beautiful.

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mt Tomah, in autumn. Photo: Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism“The weather is ideal for physical pursuits such as bushwalking, the air is fresh and then there are the colours – from exotic trees and autumn blooms to brilliant sunsets and the soft veil of mists that create a magical dreamy landscape, the Greater Blue Mountains in autumn is glorious.’’

Visitors and locals can surround themselves with some of the most exquisite floral displays at Everglades Historic House & Gardens at Leura.

If arriving in the Blue Mountains by train or if you just want to leave the hassle of driving at your accommodation, hop on a red double-deckerBlue Mountains Explorer Bus or vintage-style Trolley Tours at any of stops around the Katoomba and Leura circuit and hop off at Everglades.

For a different perspective, continue your car drive up the Great Western Hwy, cut across the Darling Causeway at Mt Victoria and turn right down the Bells Line of Rd to The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mt Tomah. From there it is easy to continue through the Hawkesbury on to Sydney or head back to the Central West through Lithgow.

Also on the hop-on/hop-off bus circuit, catch a bird’s eye view of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area from one of the thrilling rides at Scenic World and soak up authentic indigenous culture atWaradah Aboriginal Centre.

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, in autumn. Photo: Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon TourismExperience the outdoors indoors at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre interactive World Heritage Exhibition at Katoomba, visit the home of one of Australia’s most loved characters, the Magic Pudding, at Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum at Faulconbridge and warm up with a delicious Devonshire tea or traditional high tea at Bygone Beautys while browsing the vast number of items on sale.

Grab a bear hug at Australia’s largest and most awarded specialty teddy bear store, Nana’s Teddies & Toys at Blaxland and visit some real life furry friends at Featherdale Wildlife Park at Doonside on your way to or from the Blue Mountains.

The fun and fascination continues over the Great Divide.

Stop in at Talisman Gallery at the Hartley Historic Site and watch metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick create a masterpiece before exploring the underground at the world’s most magnificent cave system, Jenolan Caves (Blue Mountains Trolley Tours runs a daily coach service there and back).

Mr Robertson encouraged visitors to “stay a night or three’’ to fully experience the wonders of the Greater Blue Mountains region.

Remember too that we reward loyal local tourism ambassadors through our Residents Rewards program simply for showing family and friends around the region and visiting our attractions businesses,’’ he said.

Go to bluemountainsattractions.com.au for more information about what to see and do in the Greater Blue Mountains region, special offers and news and the Residents Rewards program.

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

 

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mt Tomah. Photo: Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

 


Leura Harvest Festival connects with community and its sustainable bounty


Leura Harvest Festival will be held in the famous Leura Mall on May 3, 2015.

Leura Harvest Festival will be held in the famous Leura Mall on May 3, 2015.

By Ellen Hill for Leura Village Association

Discover nature’s bounty in the Blue Mountains at the second Leura Harvest Festival on Sunday May 3 and immerse in innovative sustainable living, browse more than 60 street stalls, and  witness the reinvention of the iconic Australian lamington.

Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley executive chef Jason Martin is festival ambassador

Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley executive chef Jason Martin is festival ambassador

Set among the famous cherry trees of Leura Mall, the Leura Village Association event will showcase all facets of sustainable living including outstanding regional produce, handmade and recycled items, to the latest clever initiatives in the Blue Mountains and wider region.

Visitors and locals can learn about everything from food preserving to clean energy, permaculture, beekeeping and micro-farming from an impressive line-up of guest speakers. Visitors can also meet this year’s Leura Harvest Festival ambassador, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley executive chef Jason Martin who is passionate about sourcing the very best regional, seasonal organic produce for the resort’s restaurants.

Other highlights will include regional wine and beer tastings, jam-making and knitting competitions, the traditional art of wool spinning, a chook show and dozens of stalls exhibiting sustainable, organic and locally grown food and produce, clean energy.

Leura Village Association president Barry Jarrott. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Leura Village Association president Barry Jarrott. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Leura Village Association president Barry Jarrott said: “The Leura Harvest Festival is a result of a growing demand for quality locally-grown produce from a population that is disillusioned with the multinational corporations that dictate what we eat, how it is produced and where it comes from.

“The success of last year’s festival proves that the Blue Mountains and wider community craves a stronger connection with the environment, better quality food and support of local growers and manufacturers.”

The second Leura Harvest Festival has received funding from the NSW Department of Premier and State Cabinet’s 2014 Bushfire Recovery Grant. The festival’s theme is “connecting the community’’.

The event will celebrate food from a 100 mile radius and promote recycling and re-purposing and encourage visitors to notice and immerse themselves in the magnificent Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area around them.

Go to www.leuravillage.com.au to find out more about Leura and its accommodation options. Visit http://leuravillage.com.au/fairsandfestivals/ for details about Leura Harvest Festival and event registrations. To apply for a stall, email bookings@leuravillage.com.au.

 

Leura Harvest Festival will be set among the famous cherry trees of Leura Mall. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Leura Harvest Festival will be set among the famous cherry trees of Leura Mall. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media


Taste of Blue Mountains at Hydro Majestic Pavilion


Celebrate the spirit of the Royal Easter Show pavilions at the new Hydro Majestic Pavilion. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Celebrate the spirit of the Royal Easter Show pavilions at the new Hydro Majestic Pavilion. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group

Celebrate the spirit of the Royal Easter Show pavilions of Sydney’s old showgrounds and experience a taste of the Blue Mountains at the new Hydro Majestic Pavilion interactive “living’’ history space.

Visitors to the historic hotel can discover the history of original owner Mark Foy’s “Palace in the wilderness’’ as well as the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area through interpretive displays and multimedia screening areas.

One of the main features of the pavilion will be the vibrant display showcasing boutique and unique food and wine from the Blue Mountains and surrounds including Mudgee, Bathurst, Orange and the Western Plains.

Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger said: “The gourmet food and wine of this region and its surrounds is exceptional quality.

“In fact, the region is fast becoming known as a food destination and I know that the Hydro Majestic Pavilion will become a tourist destination in itself soon.’’

Taste outstanding regional produce at cheese and wine tasting sessions. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Taste outstanding regional produce at cheese and wine tasting sessions. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Visitors to the 500sqm pavilion can browse the history and produce displays at their leisure and, on Saturdays between 12pm and 4pm, indulge in wine tasting before snapping up their own take home supplies.

Following the successful De Beaurepaire Wines cellar door wine tasting event on March 7, a different winery will be featured each month, with cheese tasting to also be introduced soon.

Winburndale Wines, Bathurst, will be the featured winery on Saturday, April 4, and Megalong Creek Estates Wines, Megalong Valley, on Sunday, April 5; Robert Steins Wines, Mudgee, will be on Saturday, May 2; Swinging Bridge, Orange, on Saturday, June 6; and Angullong Vineyard, Orange, on Saturday, July 4.

“This is a fantastic way to shop for food, very European,’’ Mr Bruegger said.

“There is no better way to feel the passion and genuine commitment to the ethics and ideals written on the packaging than to meeting the producer face-to-face and talk to them about how they grow or make the food or wine.

“And of course it makes sense to taste test your food before you buy.’’

The Hydro Majestic Pavilion is open from 9am to 5pm seven days.

Visitors to the pavilion will also soon be able to picnic on their delicious goodies at the new Majestic Point Lookout, picnic and market grounds and gaze out at the best views of the Megalong Valley anywhere.

Go to hydromajestic.com.au for a program of cellar door tasting events as well as other dining, event and accommodation details and bookings.

The Hydro Majestic Hotel was relaunched under Escarpment Group’s boutique label. The Escarpment Group is a unique collection of luxury escapes in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area also including Lilianfels Resort and Spa, Echoes Boutique hotel & Restaurant and Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges, each steeped in history and surrounded by dramatic landscapes and breathtaking views unique to the Blue Mountains region.

Regional produce is a main attraction of the Hydro Majestic Pavilion. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Regional produce is a main attraction of the Hydro Majestic Pavilion. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media


Bringing the Blue Mountains to Sydney CBD


Experience the Scenic Skyway and the Blue Mountains in the Sydney CBD

Experience the Scenic Skyway and the Blue Mountains in the Sydney CBD

Words by Ellen Hill for Scenic World

Perch on a clifftop at Scenic World overlooking the world-famous Blue Mountains escarpment and feel small again – in the heart of the city. Capture the moment in a photo and share it with the world next Friday (March 20) and Saturday (March 21) – all from Circular Quay.

Urban residents can experience a small slice of Australia’s most visited privately-owned tourist attraction and the nation’s most accessible wilderness when multi award-winning 3D chalk artist Anton Pulvirenti transforms Customs House forecourt into a World Heritage-listed landscape.

The 10m x 15m canvass 3D drawing will offer a glimpse of the Scenic Skyway as it glides 270m above ancient rainforest between clifftops, against the backdrop of the iconic Three Sisters and spectacular Katoomba Falls.

Scenic World brother and sister Joint Managing Directors Anthea and David Hammon said: “We have grown up with the Three Sisters as our view, breathed the fresh Blue Mountains air and enjoyed the rides at Scenic World as our playground our whole lives yet we never take the size of this vast one million square hectare landscape for granted.’’

Anton Pulvirenti will create the 3D chalk drawing using forced perspective to create an illusion of scale, meaning the scene will be so realistic that passers-by could be forgiven for believing they have truly been transported to the Blue Mountains.

So “stand’’ on the Scenic World clifftop and ask a friend to take a photo and share it with the world on Instagram with #feelsmallagain and receive an instant keepsake photo from the Scenic World team.

The top 10 most creative photos will receive a family pass to Scenic World so they can experience the thrilling attraction for themselves – for real.

The Scenic World Feel Small Again 3D chalk art will be staged in front of Customs House, Alfred St, Circular Quay, from 8am to 6pm Friday (March 20) and 10am to 5pm Saturday (March 21).

The family-owned Scenic World overlooking the world-famous Three Sisters landmark at Katoomba is home to the world’s steepest passenger train, the highest and largest cablecars in Australia and the longest boardwalk in Australia.