Celebrate in Style: Top Local Hotels for Sydney Mardi Gras Festivities

In Australia, it was once a horse race that stopped a nation. These days, there is a colourful parade broadcast globally known as the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival.

Today, this vibrant and well-supported festival has become one of the most exciting times to be living in Sydney, with an international following that transcends right onto the doorsteps of neighbourhood precincts. In fact, it is hard to find a local business or terrace house that isn't jumping in on a themed window display or coloured door adornment. Sydney's Eastern Suburbs become the heartland for a lively schedule of celebrations each year, with Darlinghurst, Potts Point, Surry Hills, and Paddington all coming alive with the vibrancy of the festival.

While New Year's Eve sees people gathering around the bays and city steps to ring in the new year, Mardi Gras kicks off in local neighbourhood theatres, bistros, nightclubs, and yes, you guessed it, hotels.

Get ready this year (well, in advance, we hope) to paint the town rainbow with Locay as we discover the trendiest boutique hotel concepts that will place you in the ideal location for not only the renowned Mardi Gras parade but a multitude of exciting pop-up experiences that bring us together and create unforgettable moments during the festival's eventful lineup.

The Strand Hotel


If you like your chandeliers, darling lighting, and softly piped French linen, then you will love this little haunt.

Overlooking the major thoroughfare of William Street, connecting Sydney's Hyde Park and CBD to Kings Cross and Potts Point, there is arguably no better location. Transport is at your finger tips, but you are at a major junction connecting Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Kings Cross, and Potts Point, meaning there is little you will miss out on.

This historical pub has 30 boutique guest rooms, each with iconic views of the urban streetscape below. There is a rooftop bar with one of our favourite city views, as well as a vibey bistro below to enjoy your first rose' of the day or sink into your final nightcap for the evening.

The hotel is staffed with minimal hours at reception; however, staff will make sure you know who they are during your stay. The communal library located on level 2 is beautifully fitted out, often with fresh roses and crisp white magnolia, and offers a complimentary guest beverage hour from 5 p.m. daily. Staff visit the space to wait on guests hand and foot to be sure you feel quite at home in your new local home away from home.

Room categories all cater for up to 2 guests only, with some rooms boasting a larger bay window outlook and a comfortable dining setting in the room. Mini bars (fee) and modern facilities are found within each guest room, including smart TVs and effective air conditioning.

For light sleepers, our tip may be to request higher-level rooms, or those towards the exterior of the building. You should also note that minimal luggage is best, with a limited area in these smaller, historical-sized rooms being left to accommodate excess baggage. We love the Strand Hotel concept and think anyone loving a more bougie stay will too.


Expect a total vibe, maybe a pool party, and most definitely, a DJ.

As the years go by, Oxford House is making a name for itself by setting the quintessential scene for a Los Angeles pool party. Located in Paddington at the tip of Surry Hills' Oxford Street, this chic boutique hotel has amenities many others don't.

Let's start with the pool. With just over 50 rooms, the hotel is built around a sparkling blue pool (guest only) and a tropical courtyard equipped with leather bench seats, coastal umbrellas, and palms. The courtyard is open to both guests and their friends and family; at times, it becomes quite the scene for brunch hour each weekend. For those in-house who wish to make this a pre- or post-event meeting place, Locay recommends booking aside your space prior to arrival.

The hotel guest rooms overlook Oxford Street with private balconies, some with harbour views. At a more accessible price point, guests can soak up the Paddington ambience by looking through the purple jacaranda or bathing in the sun within the hotel's internal courtyard. Mini bars in rooms include some of the coolest hotel amenities we have seen, with rooms also playing host to a curation of art works driven by Ksubi founder and the team from local gallery China Heights.

Easily one of the most happening boutique hotels to place yourself for the next Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival.

Potts Point

This hotel has had many names, but with each venture, it holds onto one important asset.

It's view.

Located behind the infamous Kings Cross 'Coca Cola Sign', once the largest billboard in the southern hemisphere, this larger hotel with a killer location will make you feel like King King soaring over Sydney. At the top of Kings Cross William Street, the hotel is above easy conveniences such as Coles and Fitness First and aligned with some of the coolest nightclubs currently open till well after midnight. The area also gives easy access in under 10 minutes by foot to the art deco neighbourhood of Potts Point, famed for its premium dining scene, and Darlinghurst, the heartland of Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival.

Hotel Indigo is a hip and trendy addition to the IHG Group of hotels, making its debut in the vibrant city of Sydney. With its 105 stylish rooms, the hotel sets a new milestone in its history, thanks to an awe-inspiring refurbishment influenced by the diverse and lively Kings Cross neighbourhood. This iconic locale has been a hub for artists and partygoers for almost a hundred years.

Luke Mangan, an internationally renowned celebrity chef, has set up his new restaurant and bar, Luc-san, within the hotel precinct. As a street-side French Izakaya, it's already a happening spot in the neighbourhood. Hotel guests will be pleased to know they too have the added convenience of indulging in delectable options from the French-Japanese menu right in the comfort of their rooms.

Potts Point

A neighbourhood icon, Hotel Challis Potts Point comes alive with colour during Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival. Its grand arches, historical varandahs, and bright white hue are ones that cannot be missed on any trip down what could be one of Sydney's most beautiful streets.

Featuring over 50 rooms, the hotel's balcony rooms are easily the star of the show and go incredibly quickly during peak times and events such as Mardi Gras. For live availability and to shop for current deals on the market, be sure to check out the link below to secure your stay.

The hotel continues to offer affordable rates in one of the most affluent areas of the city, making it an easy stay for multiple solos or travelling duos who are looking for a suitable place that fits all budgets. The lower lobby provides a classic meeting area for guests, with a stunning chandelier and original fire place, as well as the perfect balcony to aid as a backdrop in securing your signature Mardi Gras look!

While the property is of a slightly older nature, the rooms are clean and beautifully manicured. They too are tastefully designed and an easy 'get up and go' perfect for this time of year.

Surry Hills

Ace Hotel Sydney

This bar is one to watch during the upcoming Sydney Mardi Gras Festival and, without a doubt, will be popping.
Keep your eyes peeled for celebrities, models, influencers, and artists; this is a creative home land like no other.

Ace Hotel comes to Sydney with the same signature industrial feel, illuminating exposed brick textures and serving up Los Angeles-style menus across multiple hotel dining options.

Located at the site where Australia's pioneering kiln was discovered and the nation's first domestic pottery was created in the 1820s, this hotel is deeply rooted in history. Paying homage to its rich heritage, the establishment has flawlessly preserved the original façade of the urban warehouse, alongside other remarkable architectural features throughout the premises.

Ace Hotel Sydney borders Surry Hills and is within walking distance of the junction where Oxford Street meets Hyde Park. This is a brilliant location within walking distance of any of Surry Hills popular night spots and eateries, as well as for those who wish to venture into the city by foot. Pitt St. Mall, Central Station, China Town, and Westfield can all be reached in under 15 minutes on foot.

Boasting 18 stories and 257 meticulously appointed hotel rooms adorned with guitars, in-room vinyl collections, and custom-designed robes, this place is undeniably extraordinary. Although it is not a conventional boutique, it offers a distinctive and contemporary style of local escapism in the vibrant city of Sydney.


Medusa Hotel Sydney

Maybe not the quintessential cool we always like to find, but if these walls could talk...

The Medusa Hotel is a place of local love that has stood the test of time, a place to return to, and a place to become familiar with. For years, The Medusa has supported and celebrated its lively neighbourhood of Darlinghurst, providing comfortable accommodation for those who want to be close to it all on foot.

Located in a stylish townhouse, the Medusa Hotel exudes an old-worldly elegance with a modern twist. While deluxe rooms may be compact, they are thoughtfully designed with close attention to detail and a warmth that feels like you are returning home.

Throughout the building, you'll discover a variety of rooms, some opening up to a charming courtyard or offering picturesque views of the leafy neighbourhood.

Darlinghurst, akin to New York's trendy 'Soho', exudes an urban charm that attracts the hip and artistic crowd, including avant-garde creators, indie filmmakers, and innovative designers.

With its proximity to Kings Cross station, the renowned Art Gallery of New South Wales, and the iconic Sydney Opera House, this is the ultimate hotspot for business, couples, or solo travellers seeking convenient accessibility to all the festival events popping off from your doorstep!


Larissa Fuller
Sydney, Australia

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