Gorillas in the lobby, rock star suites, free mini bar and loot bags, and some Middle Eastern Za Za Ta tasty treats are just some of the reasons that make Ovolo The Valley one of the most exciting hotels in Brisbane to dazzle business travellers staying overnight, discovers TDL editor Scott Podmore.
Fortitude Valley found a way to ditch its seedy reputation of the 1970s-80s thanks to a multi-billion dollar makeover in the 1990s to these days start shaping as an eclectic and cosmopolitan inner Brisbane suburb (within 3km of the CBD).
It’s a vibrant business hub and magnetic entertainment scene with edgy bars (rooftops too), hip cafes and top chefs settling into the ‘hood (see food section below). It’s also the land of the luxury car with dealerships galore featuring the latest eye (and ear) candy for brands like Lamborghini, Maserati, Ferrari, Bentley, Audi and more if you want to indulge in some window shopping or, if you’re lucky, make a purchase.
Ovolo The Valley lives by the brand’s philosophy of being a “guest-centric business motivated by reacting to guest needs, standing out from the accommodation crowd, zigging when others zag, taking creative strides and spontaneous moves at every turn with zero intention of slowing down”. It’s a very short Uber ride to any of the city’s offerings, be it entertainment, work in the CBD or for special events, and is a hotel with retro styling and a refreshingly modern approach. Only last week Ovolo The Valley was rewarded in the Queensland Hotels Awards for Excellence winning Best Deluxe Accommodation. The Ovolo touch radiates here.
From “medium” rooms up to “Rock Star” suites, Ovolo’s 5-room type menu covers the full gamut of wants and needs. Middle of the pack for size and price is the Large Spa Room, a visual feast of vibrant colours, commissioned art adorning walls, bold wallpaper, quirky light fittings and playful furniture. You can’t help but be dazzled before you even have time to flop on the King-sized bed with its plush velvet bedhead and chaise. The room offers ample lounge area, workspace and ensuite bathroom, complete with glass-enclosed marble shower.
One of the special touches offered by this progressive boutique designer hotel collection is the complimentary mini bar and free loot bag with all sorts of goodies, great in room coffee and big bold wine glasses from which you can enjoy your free bottle of wine while catching up on some work emails.
Tech savvy touches include a large High Def flat screen TV with Google Chromecast, USB charging ports and Amazon’s Alexa cloud-based voice service for a little robotic-like butler magic during your stay. Hidden toilet and bathroom spa ticks the box for my kind of hotel stay, while quirky book and mag choices include thought provoking reads such as the ‘100 Albums You Need On Vinyl & Why’ to continue the retro rage that runs throughout the entire hotel.
The concept of Ovolo is boutique affordable luxury with a seriously fun designer vibe that flows throughout. Facilities aren’t big but they’re bold and edgy. Reception is more akin to a nightclub entry with signature egg wall, lolly bar and ottomans in the waiting area, and lots of greenery, while big highlights at this luxury hotel include an outdoor swimming pool, sauna, understated and stylishly cosy gym, and a rooftop terrace which can also be accessed via a Vimec simplex elevator for people with disabilities. That’s after you move past the warning sign alerting visitors to a “budgie smuggler zone ahead”, of course.
The hotel doesn’t have a business centre, but has a fantastic little board room for 10 and a sophisticated and quiet library downstairs is another area for private events. The Games Room is a meeting or breakout room which adjoins The Ballroom. It’s a great flexible little space for small-sized social events, meetings, breakouts or pre-function space for larger events.
It’s hot and it’s brand new! Za Za Ta, a Middle Eastern inspired bar and kitchen, opened only a couple of months ago and pays homage to the spice blend za’atar. It’s here you can experience a rich mix of soulful and dynamic Middle Eastern cuisine complete with genie bottles, exotic dishes and an excellent line-up of around-the-globe waiting staff charming one and all. The menu showcases a playful and bold take on dishes from across the region alongside a curated collection of cocktails, spirits, and wines, crafted to entice. With ample vegetarian offerings, the Maremma spiced duck breast, Yemenite butter bread, and Tri tip steak with sesame leaves and bone marrow jus are just some of the tasty highlights.
Leading the Za Za Ta kitchen is Israeli-born executive chef Roy Ner (ex-Nour and Aria, NSW) and head chef, Dario Manca (ex-Pilu at Freshwater, NSW). The 200-seat venue sprawls into multiple rooms, each with its individual purpose of charm, buzz and personality. The design of Za Za Ta has been inspired by the conservatories of the Victorian era, with nooks reminiscent of 1940s cocktail cabinet. Quirky layering and unexpected delights are to be discovered on the journey, including interactive experiential art.
Point of difference
Where should I start? A dazzling onsite Middle Eastern restaurant, expect-the-unexpected decor and furnishings throughout, quirky and distinctive features like the loot bag and retro rock touches are just a few. Oh yeah, the gorillas here, there and everywhere certainly separates this hotel from the rest, too.
Ask the concierge…
Ovolo The Valley’s Mollie (the assistant manager) jumped at the opportunity to tell us about “the goods” in and around Ovolo The Valley including places to go for a bite or a beer (see above).
But it was what Mollie said next that really helped me understand why this hotel brand is truly kicking goals: “Ovolo The Valley is so much fun and so interesting that it really brings back memories of my childhood. I was born in a hotel, my parents used to own and run a hotel in Edinburgh. I used to take the food up to the rooms on trays when I was about 5, then my brother and I would slide down the stairs on the trays. I love how new this hotel is and particularly the company that runs it.”
She adds: “Ovolo is really fresh and creative, and not monotonous like a lot of traditional hotel brands where unless you’re in the ivory tower you can’t really have any say. Here, I could ring the GM right now and say “we have a guest coming who’s a reviewer and I think we could go to IKEA and get a particular product that I feel will take their experience to a whole new level”, and the GM would give me the keys to the car to go and do that. They may not necessarily take on an idea of painting the walls a wild colour, but the Ovolo really embraces what it’s people can offer in contributing in that way and enhancing the guests’ stay. They nurture that. I’ve never worked for a company like this before.”
Pro in the know
Tim Hannah, CT Connections Partnership Manager Qld: “The Valley has always been a busy part of Brisbane but in the past five years or so it has been cleaned up and become a real entertainment and business hub. There are a lot of new office buildings that have been built and are occupied by some of the country’s largest national corporate businesses. There are plenty of amenities like restaurants and quality accommodation options that are really benefiting from the resurgence and appeal to move out of the CBD.”
10 Words Or Less …
Quirky, colourful, exotic, stylish, retro and loads of fun.