What can being a bonsai tree caretaker teach you about leading a business? In Girish Jhunjhnuwala’s case, it enables you to direct your company (Ovolo) with a god-like patience for detail. Having strayed from the family watch business, Jhunjhnuwala ventured into property development in 2001. Inspired by boutique hotels in London and New York, he has since successfully opened seven hotels and serviced apartments in Hong Kong and one in Melbourne. His hard work has earned him the DHL/SCMP Hong Kong Business Award of Owner-Operator in 2012. The Hong Kong native is also an avid golfer, wine aficionado, and dedicated family man.
Hong Kong’s first warehouse-turned-hotel, Ovolo Southside is something you might expect to find more in New York’s Meatpacking District than in Wong Chuk Hang. The hotel references the area’s industrial past in its design, as seen in the exposed concrete and brick façade, and the utilitarian design of its Lo Lounge.
Graffiti and art installations spread throughout the hotel’s public spaces are a striking mix of local and international artists. As with all good design, the hotel does not take itself too seriously. Case in point, a Mao-style meeting room that offers reclining leather armchairs against an exotic Chinese fabric wall, instead of boardroom style seating.
The visionary architects behind Ovolo Southside play directly into the hotel’s strength: its majestic setting. An expansive terrace, enhanced with cutting edge graphic motifs by local artists, offers up endless views of an area rich in such treasures as Aberdeen promenade, Deep Water Bay, and Ocean Park.
Maintaining the warehouse’s original structure, the hotel presents concrete facades, steel furniture, and heavy-duty fixtures that complete the industrial look. Playful design, such as the reception desk with machinery parts, mural behind the bar, and bursts of vibrant color bring the public spaces alive.
Perks such as complimentary breakfast, free daily-replenished minibar, self-service laundry facility, and flexible checkout are but some of the many reasons that Ovolo Southside is the perfect springboard from which to explore one of the last bastions of authentic Hong Kong.