Canberra’s Hotel Hotel sold to Ovolo Group
Author: Emma Breheny
Photography: John Gollings
5:18PM, Jan 17, 2018
The game-changing boutique property enters a new phase of play in March.
Hotel Hotel ("for people people" as its droll marketing spin quipped) rewrote the playbook of boutique hospitality in Australia when it opened in 2014. With eco-architecture, one-off fittings and furnishings by local designers, and a lobby that multitasked as a gallery, all-day eatery and late-night bar, the Canberra hotel and its resident owners self-consciously championed the virtues of being small, bold and singular.
On 1 March it will be singular no more. The 68-room hotel and its highly regarded restaurant, Monster, have been bought by the Hong-Kong-based Ovolo Group, which will rename the hotel and double-down on service to offer guests the comforts they're used to in their own home. Think Apple TV in rooms, breakfast and mini-bar included in the room rate and a nightly happy hour. A new as-yet unannounced addition to the building's cinema, gallery, hair salon and yoga space is also planned.
Hotel Hotel will be Ovolo's sixth property in Australia, following its recent acquisition of the Emporium and The New Inchcolm Hotel & Suites in Brisbane. Its existing portfolio includes Ovolo Woolloomooloo and Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour, both in Sydney heritage buildings, Ovolo Laneways in Melbourne and four properties in Hong Kong.
"What we bring to the table is the service aspect," says David Baswal of Ovolo Group's Asia-Pacific operations. "The beautiful layout and beautiful food of Hotel Hotel remain, overlaid with Ovolo's service."
The founder, the Molonglo Group, will retain ownership of the New Acton Nishi building that houses Hotel Hotel and plans to use the double-barrelled name as an umbrella for creative projects that "explore the purpose of place and how we fit into it". The group's co-director, Nectar Efkarpidis, says the company will be working on "architecture, design, cultural and experimental projects" this year in Australia and abroad.
Ovolo will retain all the hotel staff and work closely with the Molonglo Group on the exhibitions, experiences and events that have set the hotel apart.