In the luxury and business traveller circles, there’s a new buzz in Hong Kong. Word on the block is that there’s a spanking new hotel at Southside, which has all the business travellers flocking here, with their Tumis and Tod’s in tow. The chic Ovolo Southside in Hong Kong is indeed, as I experienced, a trendy new hotel, which is redefining the way modern luxury is perceived. Case in point, if you’re cool (or discerning) enough to book a room at the Ovolo Southside, you will be lavished with a host of perks and quirks. (Did I hear someone say ‘free minibar?’ More on that later!)
What’s most interesting is that this hotel rises like a Phoenix from the ashes of oblivion. What was once a run-down industrial warehouse, in a formerly shoddy part of town, is now a swanky 162 art-warehouse conservation hotel that has got Hong Kong’s swish set (and travellers talking).
The Neighbourhood – The good thing about Southside is that it is situated away from the chaos of Central Hong Kong, yet, not more than 20 minutes away by cab. The hotel is itself located at the end of a very nondescript alleyway, which kind of sets the tone for the grunge, industrial decor inside. The neighbourhood is experiencing a renaissance and is now home to a slew of trendy cafes, bars and restaurants as well as some new office buildings. By the end of 2016, the metro line will be extended all the way to Southside and the station will be a stone’s throw away from the front door of the hotel. So you can actually attend meetings in the banking district, party in the nearby entertainment districts and, finally, when you’re ready to wean yourself from the urban energy, you can retreat to a quieter part of town to rest.
Cheeky is probably the best epithet that I would use to describe the decor of the Ovolo Southside. Bright pop colours and contemporary art works characterise the public spaces as well as the passages leading to the rooms, which have beautiful murals on every floor. Cheeky signage most everywhere you look. It’s almost like hipster meets design chic. The furniture that dots the public areas is retro-chic, and perfectly complements the artwork that can be found all over. Local artists have, for the most part, been commissioned to do up this space and create murals. Art really does reign supreme in every square inch of this hotel.
The Rooms – I stayed in a Mini Queen Room on the 17th floor. The room was absolutely stunning and offered a great view of the nearby hills. The room I was in was rather spacious with a nice living area, and a separate bedroom with a divider in between. I did find the bathroom a tad poky but the Biology bath and body amenities were compensation enough. In keeping with the heritage of the building, my room had an industrial-chic feel to it with distressed walls, a metallic artwork, exposed pipelines and even industrial-style switches. Apple TV and an awesome Harman/Kardon wireless sound dock. The gadget-laden business traveller will be happy to notice power points ALL over the room, making it so easy to get the juice back into your gizmos. My favourite features? The speaker and the Biology amenities. 🙂
I did get a quick peek at the other rooms. I do think that the entry level rooms are a bit poky for my liking, but I was told that they were fine by Hong Kong standards.
Here are some photos.
The F-Word – Hey, I didn’t come up with that, the guys at the hotel did. Yup, a stay at the Ovolo Southside (or any other Ovolo property) will have you using the four-letter F-word rather generously. In case you were wondering, the word in question is FREE, (What the F were you thinking?). Ovolo guests can enjoy the following perks for free.
A free minibar in the room. Generously stocked with drinks. (When in Hong Kong, try the Tsingtao). It’s a comforting feeling when you can help yourself to the minibar, especially when the midnight pangs strike, and not have to worry about ringing up a hefty bill.
A free snack bag in my room as I checked in with chips, candy, chocolate and mints.
Free laundry. Now this is interesting, especially for all my business traveller readers. If you’ve been on the go, living out of a suitcase, chances are you’ll have a pile of dirty laundry. The hotel has a laundry room with a washing machine and dryer, which you can use, at no extra fee. Having a freshly laundered set of boxers or shirts is indeed a comforting thought to take on the next few legs of your business travel.
Free wi-fi. Less perk, more necessity. Great speed to stream my Jazzradio and seamless coverage through the hotel.
Free coffee-tea snacks in the public areas. While there is tea-coffee in the room, if you’re a coffee snob like me, who needs a freshly brewed espresso every single time, you can actually go down to the lounge and help yourself to some good quality coffee (or tea) from the machine. With bite-sized sweet and savoury snacks to moot, this is a great 24/7 offering.
Free happy hour. Every evening between 5 and 7 at the Lo Lounge, where you can kick back and chat up your fellow guests.
Secret Garden – After a long day at work, if you’re looking to kick off your Oxfords and sip on some single malt, or maybe even a flute of Moët, the aptly named ABOVE rooftop bar and lounge, with its extended secret garden offers breathtaking views of the surroundings.
My Verdict: Perfect for the business traveller. Ovolo Southside ranks high for me in terms of room comfort and decor. The service is discreet and casual yet attentive. Business travellers will like the idea of not having someone wait on them hand and foot yet have the staff available and attentive at all times. The free perks add a lot value to the experience, especially the laundry, the happy hour and all-day tea-coffee service. Works well even if you want to work out of the hotel and not step out as there are lots of comfortable seating areas (with power points) in the lounge. New-age business luxury!
What it costs: According to the Ovolo website (hyperlink), the July 2016 rates are as follows: The entry level Mini Twin room costs HKD 748 (INR 6479), the top end Long Loft suite costs HKD 1320 (INR 11,400) per night, making the room rates EXTREMELY competitive by Hong Kong standards.
Brainchild of Hong Kong-based entrepreneur of Indian origin, Girish Jhunjhunwala, the Ovolo chain has a discreet network of 8 hotels and two service apartments across three cities (Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne).
Ovolo Southside, Hong Kong
Experienced by Riaan George