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The Life and Loves of Mark Foy: Creator of the Hydro Majestic Hotel

The Life and Loves of Mark Foy: Creator of the Hydro Majestic Hotel

Jim Smith | Den Fenella Press | 9780994387233

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The eccentric entrepreneur Mark Foy made his fortune in the Victorian era, with the profits from Sydney's Mark Foy's department store. Always a hypochondriac, he came to believe that all diseases could be cured by bathing in cold water. In 1904, he put most of his money into building a hydropathic treatment centre in Medlow Bath. Referred to as "Foy's Folly", it became known as the Hydro Majestic hotel. Described as 'A Palace in the Wilderness', the Hydro became known as a place where guests (like Mark Foy himself) engaged in adulterous affairs. Here, people felt safe to 'let their hair dowm', disguising themselves in masks and opposite-sex clothing, while acting out their fantasies during elaborate fancy-dress balls, guest and staff role-reversal nights and mad hatters contests.
During the Edwardian era Mark Foy experienced a 'midlife crisis' and wanted to sell up everything he owned and live in Algiers. He had a ten-year relationship with the Hydro Majestic's entertainer, with whom he had an illegitmate daughter.
Mrk Foy spent the rest of his life in restless travels, regularly avoiding his wife Elizabeth and their four children. His finances were often in a crisis and he embarked on many unsuccessful business ventures including land subdivisions, mining, cotton growing in America, horse breeding and patenting inventions.
Mark Foy may not have succeeded in his search for happiness, but the enduring monument to his life is the Hydro Majestic hotel, a place where millions of guests, over the last 116 years, have enjoyed escapes from their everyday lives.

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