The Medusa

Darlinghurst, Sydney, Australia Book from Book from £121 per night

Striking architect-designed townhouse in the heart of on-trend Darlinghurst, near city sights and in the 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 stylish: custom-made chaise-longues and 'capsule' kitchenettes in the rooms, a vast paper chandelier in the hall, Medusa motifs throughout. This is your home away from in Australia's most vibrant quarter, and just 10 minutes by taxi from the city centre.

Highs

  • 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, which still looked fresh on our 2017 revisit
  • 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

Lows

  • Availability can be a problem, particularly during Mardi Gras
  • 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 though most rooms face the tranquil courtyard, you may hear noise at weekends
  • The laid-back, youthful vibe is not for everyone, and 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

Take advantage of your free pass to the Olympic-sized Cook and Philip Park indoor swimming pool near Hyde Park, or try the Boy Charlton pool on the Woolloomooloo side of Lady Macquarie's Chair near the Botanical Gardens.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
City Style
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 17
  • 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
Room: Grand Room 201

Rooms

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 'float' on plinths. There are modular kitchenettes, cupboards and modern lighting, with egg-shaped side lamps and large central pendants. Ensuite bathrooms have opaque glass and white tiles 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. On our 2017 revisit we stayed in an extremely comfortable Premium Deluxe room, which has queensize bed and chaise-longue, plus shower and tub in the bathroom. The more compact Deluxe rooms also have queensize beds but lack the day bed.

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

Eating

Dining out is integral to the Sydney experience; cool-hunters swoop from one establishment to the next according to the prevailing fashion winds. With a bewildering choice of international eateries and watering holes locally, the hotel's design team reasoned there was no need to include an on-site restaurant. Your in-room guide has take-away menus.

Each room has an ingenious kitchenette, a cubist-inspired cupboard of Queensland walnut set on a plinth; it opens to reveal a minibar, sink, tea and coffee making facilities, utensils and a microwave. Within a two-minute walk, there's a supermarket, greengrocer, gourmet delicatessen and grocery for food shopping.

A simple continental breakfast can be served to your room - just ask reception the night before. 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). And most still head to perennially popular Bill's or the more quirky Bunker.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Kitchenette
  • Microwave
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating: Grand Room 207
Activity:

Activities

  • Check out Circular Quay (confusingly not circular at all) for the sensational Opera House - attend a performance, take a tour, or enjoy dinner and drinks
  • And 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 on your doorstep: restaurants, bars, clubs, shopping, markets, private art galleries
  • Sydney is justly famous for its beaches - Bondi and Tamarama are recommended. Lesser known but charming are the harbour beaches of Redleaf in Double Bay, and Camp Cove near Watsons Bay
  • Centennial Park, a 15-minute walk away, is Sydney's largest: picnic, horse ride, cycle or walk
  • Book a boat trip around the Harbour; take the ferry to Manly for the quintessential Sydney experience
  • Reception can book a day trip to the Blue Mountains

Activities on site or nearby include:

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

Kids

Only children aged 16 years and over are accepted.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Rooms
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

We had a very relaxed stay at this colourful haven. Our room was comfy and spacious, the location is perfect for Darlinghurst's restaurants and cafes (and for getting to sights elsewhere in Sydney), and above all, we were impressed with the really friendly service from Luke and Jesse.

10/10, , April 2017

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Rates for The Medusa