The Medusa

Darlinghurst, Sydney, Australia Book from

Reviewed by Nadine Mellor
Striking architect-designed townhouse in the midst of trendy Darlinghurst, well placed for the city sights and the vibrant Eastern Suburbs
Likened to New York's Soho, Darlinghurst is Sydney's most fashionable urban village. Colonial terraces vie with art deco mansions, restaurant openings with designer homeware shopping. The vibe is hip, streetwise and bohemian, and the cappuccino strip is the place to be seen.

The Medusa embodies this creative, fun spirit to a T. It's a Victorian townhouse given a quirky and daring refit by architect Scott Weston, and the first thing you'll notice are the bold colours. The exterior is shocking scarlet, the hallway has baby-pink anaglypta walls with plaster angels, its carpet is pillarbox red. Bedrooms have waxed walls in bold primaries, while the Miami-style courtyard is in tranquil lavender and primrose. Furnishings are no less outlandish: custom-made chaise-longues and 'capsule' kitchenettes in the rooms, a vast paper chandelier in the hall, Medusa motifs throughout. This is an ultra-stylish home in Australia's most vibrant quarter, and just 10 minutes by taxi from the city centre.


  • Great position in trendy Darlinghurst between Oxford Street and Kings Cross - close to sights, shopping, restaurants, bars and people-watching
  • Fun and funky rooms with custom-made details and all mod cons
  • Design concept of seduction and drama which would make Medusa herself turn to stone
  • Good transport connections with plentiful buses and taxis, and Kings Cross train station 5 minutes away


  • No bar or restaurant but that's what Darlinghurst is for: a wealth of clubs, eateries, cafes, pubs and gourmet takeaways on your doorstep
  • The Deluxe rooms are not spacious
  • This is a 24-hour city renowned for its partying, so expect some street noise at night - though most rooms face the tranquil courtyard
  • The laid-back, youthful vibe is not for everyone, and certainly not suitable for families

Best time to go

Sydney is at its zenith from November to March, when the weather is sunny and warm (although sometimes humid, with occasional downpours), and people packing the streets, parks and beaches. The Sydney Festival of the Arts, every January, features world class events and performances. Australia Day, 26th January, is a national holiday. February has a month long programme of cultural events culminating in the famous Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade and party.

Our top tips

The Northern Beaches are a good day trip but you'll need a car. Start at Curl Curl and work your way up the peninsula via Dee Why, Avalon, Whale Beach, culminating in well to do Palm Beach.

Great for...

City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 15
  • Basic self-catering + walk to restaurants
  • Over 16s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Courtyard


All rooms are stylish and striking, with a polished beeswax wall and headboard in contrasting colours - cherry red, bitter yellow, olive green, burnt orange, smoky blue. Comfortable double beds are custom-crafted from coloured timbers, with built-in side tables, and set on plinths to give a floating impression. There are modular kitchenettes and cupboards and modern lighting, with egg-shaped side lamps and large central pendants. Ensuite bathrooms are opaque glass and white tiled with Aesop toiletries.

Rooms are arranged over 3 floors in the Victorian townhouse and its side extension. The Grand rooms at the front of the townhouse have kingsize beds, windows to the courtyard, vibrant leather chaise-longues, original fireplaces, ceiling mouldings, and larger bathrooms. The Deluxe rooms also have queensize beds but are more compact.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dvd player
  • Hairdryer
  • Iron
  • Kitchenette
  • Microwave
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


Dining out is very much part of the Sydney experience and the cool-hunters swoop from one establishment to the next according to the prevailing winds of fashion. With an almost bewildering choice of international eateries and watering holes outside the door, the hotel's design team reasoned there was no need to include an on-site restaurant. Plus, your in-room guide lists some menus from which you can order take-away meals for lazier nights in.

Each room has an ingeniously designed kitchenette, a cubist-inspired cupboard made of Queensland walnut and set on a plinth; it opens up to reveal a minibar, a sink, tea and coffee making facilities, basic utensils and a microwave. There is a supermarket and greengrocer at the end of the road, as well as a gourmet delicatessen and grocery across the road for food shopping.

In the morning, a simple continental breakfast can be served to your room - just ask reception the night before. However, over the road is a famous cappuccino strip - a row of coffee houses and cafes (including the Tropicana which spawned the annual short film festival).

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Kitchenette
  • Microwave
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby


  • You can't visit Sydney without checking out Circular Quay, confusingly not circular at all. Here you'll find the iconic Opera House, even more sensational at close quarters - attend a performance, take a tour, or simply enjoy dinner and drinks
  • From the Opera House you get good views of the impressive Harbour Bridge - reception can book you on its popular 2-hour climb
  • Immerse yourself in the Eastern Suburbs cafe society of Darlinghurst, Paddington and Woollahra: restaurants, bars, clubs, shopping, markets, private art galleries, antiques all on your doorstep
  • Sydney is justly famous for its beaches - Bondi and Tamarama are recommended. Less well known but charming are the harbour beaches of Redleaf in Double Bay, and Camp Cove near Watsons Bay
  • Take advantage of your free pass to the Olympic-sized Cook and Philip Park swimming pool near Hyde Park, or try the recently revamped Boy Charlton pool on the Woolloomooloo side of Lady Macquarie's Chair near the Botanical Gardens
  • Centennial Park, a 15-minute walk away, is Sydney's largest: come and picnic, horse ride, cycle or walk

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Yoga


Only children aged 16 years and over are accepted.

Kid Friendly:

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