Six young hospitality students are preparing to be the first residents of the newly renovated Hydro Majestic in Medlow Bath.
The six who will call the Hydro home for the next 18 months are enrolled in the Hotel Management Institute, a joint venture between the Escarpment Group and TAFE Western Sydney.
They will live in the heritage building while learning the ropes of the hospitality industry, gaining valuable hands-on experience working in Escarpment’s top-class establishments — Lilianfels and Echoes in Katoomba, Parklands at Blackheath and the Hydro, which is expected to open to the public mid-year.
The students have started their TAFE course but the move into their attractive new digs has been delayed by landscaping work in the front of the building. Instead, they have been temporarily put up at Lilianfels.
Steve Tucker, general manager of the Institute, said the partnership with TAFE came out of Escarpment’s continuing need for staff trained to work in five-star hotels.
“It became apparent we could do something together that would resource not only Escarpment’s needs but also the industry generally. It means not only classroom-based theory but also a realistic experience. They will be immersed in the operations of running a quality hotel.”
Mr Tucker said it would give the students a great advantage over others who were learning hotel management.
“These students will be ready to go straight into a career in the industry when they finish.”
Most of the students said they had chosen the course because of its practical element.
“You get to work in a real hotel and you get to experience all these venues,” said Sophie Allen from Warrimoo.
Michaela Body, who has moved over from Adelaide, said: “I like the hands-on work and the learning and also the work experience actually learning in the hotel instead of just TAFE.”
Their rooms will be in the Hydro’s Belgravia wing, which has been completely refurbished.
The dining room retains all the original embellishments, including art deco sconces and windows and a beautifully curved wooden servery.
Glenda Grice from TAFE said she had great expectations for the new course.
“I am absolutely positive that all of our students who go through to graduate are going to be the best of the best because of this environment. We hope they will be the people at the top of the crop,” she said.
The Hydro is on course to reopen in July with a high tea lounge with an Asian theme, a cafe in the former boiler house and a new retail pavilion.
There will be no accommodation as yet — that is scheduled for stage two of the renovation.