Ovolo Hotels is part of a new breed of brands delivering us “hotels of the future”, changing the way we experience hotel short stays forever. Think great value ‘inclusives’ with your stay such as mini-bar (bottle of wine included), loot bag, happy hour and a delicious brekky. The Ovolo ‘flow’ has infiltrated the Australian eastern seaboard with hot properties in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra. What’s all the fuss about? TDL catches up with our guest ‘Pro in the Know’, David Baswal, Ovolo Hotels COO and CFO.
“I think it’s the uniqueness of Ovolo (Hotels) that make us so different. Each property is different. We don’t have a cookie cutter approach, nor do we make it the same old boring thing. We’re surprised every time we walk in and think, wow, this is really cool.” ~ David Baswal, Ovolo Hotels CFO and COO
From the factory floor to hotel magnate
Girish Jhunjhnuwala is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ovolo Hotel Group. Born and raised in Hong Kong, much of Jhunjhnuwala’s childhood was spent working the factory floor of his father’s successful watch manufacturing business, before taking it over in 1984 at the tender of age of 20.
Over time, Girish could see the industry regressing and as the new millennium ticked over he realised his three children relied on their mobile phones to tell the time; it was then that he knew it was time to close down the family business and go into another line of work. So, in 2002, he did just that.
While on the hunt for a shop for his wife’s business he came across the first Ovolo property. After making enquiries, he was told there wasn’t only one shop for sale, but the entire building.
He bought it and Ovolo was born.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, much of Jhunjhnuwala’s childhood was spent working the factory floor of his father’s successful watch manufacturing business.
Ten of the best
Fast forward the clock 16 years and now 54-year-old Jhunjhnuwala is a global hotel magnate, with six hotels across the Eastern seaboard of Australia and four hotels in Hong Kong. The self-described daredevil puts much of his success down to learning the fundamentals of business at a young age, good timing, and the ability to sense an opportunity.
From humble beginnings with a 42-room serviced apartment business in Hong Kong aimed at a growing market of bankers and executives looking for long-term accommodation somewhere that felt like home, to today, a 460-room global chain of hotels and serviced apartments with an underlying ethos of effortless living.
With continuous expansion on the horizon there’s no stopping Girish Jhunjhnuwala. While his focus has now shifted to satisfy a new, emerging demand for regular short stay accommodation, and increase his room offering to upwards of 2000, he also wants to expand his Hong Kong-based Mojo Nomad brand, dubbed microhotel – a co-living and working space opened last year – internationally.
The Ovolo Hotel Inchcolm is vibrant with eclectic touches here, there and everywhere.
What sets Ovolo apart? Disruption by design?
I think it’s the uniqueness of Ovolo that make us so different. Each property is different. We don’t have a cookie cutter approach, nor do we make it the same old boring thing.
We’re surprised every time we walk in and think, wow, this is really cool. The one thing that doesn’t change is comfort and friendliness. But the décor, the look and the feel, sure. The effortless part of our offering won’t go – it will stay throughout all of our hotels. I think it’s a good, welcoming change when you walk into a property and think, ‘This is different, this is something fun.’
For now we are focused on establishing a stronger brand presence via product across the key Eastern Australian cities which we are developing through our recent acquisitions including Emporium Hotel in Brisbane and Hotel Hotel in Canberra. We do also have plans to bring our new co-living concept Mojo Nomad into the Australian market given recent successes with this product in Hong Kong.
Further to this we are aggressively looking for growth opportunities in South East Asia to boost our portfolio across the region with our Hong Kong office spearheading this development.
Ovolo Laneways is one of Melbourne’s most accessible boutique hotels, inspired by hidden laneways and gems.
The Australian Ovolo hotels…
Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour is a unique designer hotel with a rich history located in Pyrmont. The property is filled with inspired interiors and industrial chic with a historic edge.
Ovolo Nishi is Canberra’s most creative and inspired boutique hotel, where artisan influences, culture and interior design collide.
Ovolo Inchcolm is Brisbane’s newest designer hotel located in Spring Hill: eclectic, sophisticated and curious with a rock ‘n’ roll edge.
Ovolo Woolloomooloo is Sydney’s most fashionable designer hotel. With stunning design and playful art-filled interiors this iconic hotel is truly breathtaking.
Ovolo Laneways is Melbourne most accessible boutique hotel. Inspired by the hidden laneways and gems that Melbourne is known for you can’t get a better location to soak up the Melbourne CBD vibe.