There is no question that Hong Kong hotel group Ovolo likes to do things, well, a bit differently. It likes to stand out from the crowd.
Take its latest venture in Melbourne: a near-secret, 45-seat underground meeting place – identified only by a discreet martini glass sign. Ovolo has created the space on Toorak Road for “collaboration, innovation and takeovers with flair”.
So, what can visitors to the underground hideaway expect? Tech start-ups doing multi-million deals? Next-gen crypto kids investing in airlines?
We’re not sure but we do know that Backroom – that’s the name of the place – will be led by Ovolo Hotel’s group creative culinary director Ian Curley; group creative drinks director Andrea Gualdi; executive chef Isa Raku and bar manager Jordan Tredennick.
The emphasis will be on food and drink, something close to Ovolo’s heart, given that it was the first hotel group globally to develop its Plant’d ‘Veg Pledge’, going fully vegetarian across its Ovolo Hotels to reduce its carbon footprint and promote wellness through conscious cuisine.
Guests expecting to come down to the breakfast buffet and pile their plates with pork sausages, bacon and ham will be disappointed, but the vegans are happy and Ovolo business is booming from Hong Kong to Australia.
Ovolo also offers eco-conscious minibars that feature organic and fair-trade produce; ORCA food waste recycling; electric vehicle charging stations; energy efficiency programmes; and Cloud-based reporting to reduce paper waste.
Each room offers a flat-screen LED television, Chrome Cast, additional wall plugs, phone chargers, and Amazon’s Alexa cloud-based voice service to assist guests.
What’s next? Post-Covid expansion is on the cards. “There are great value-add opportunities in the market right now, where hotels can be reimagined and repositioned with the right design, service and branding,” says Dave Baswal, Ovolo Hotels CEO.
Ovolo hopes to more than double its network, and will ramp up growth efforts via acquisitions, HMAs, joint ventures and partnerships, expanding further in Australia, New Zealand, and selected APAC target markets, including Tokyo, Singapore, Bangkok, and Phuket. Europe is also on the radar.
Girish Jhunjhnuwala, Ovolo Hotels founder and executive chairman, says: “This is the perfect time to expand the Ovolo brand and we are open to discussions with strategic partners who would like to be part of our growth journey.”
The group has already put a toe in the water in Indonesia where urban resort Mamaka, by Ovolo, beachside in Kuta, Bali, reaffirms Ovolo’s commitment to shredding the cookie-cutter approach to its developments.
Both Mamaka By Ovolo in Bali and Ovolo South Yarra in Melbourne have an app that guests can use to directly order food, book hotels services and communicate directly with reception. Ovolo is in the process of developing the app for each of its properties.