Hong Kong hipsters have a new haunt with the opening of the city's first warehouse conversion hotel, writes Julietta Jameson.
The story of Hong Kong's first warehouse conversion hotel is the story of a neighbourhood.
The Ovolo Southside, as its name suggests, is on the southern side of Victoria Peak, for years considered undesirable, due to its exposure to the elements and the tempests of the South China Sea.
Now it's one of Hong Kong's most desirable residential areas. Ovolo is in Wong Chuk Hang, a former industrial area in the south where old car workshops and warehouses have recently been turned into galleries and boutiques.
The transformation of a 1976 multi-use commercial building into a chic 162-room industrial hotel laden with modern art is indicative of the new timbre of the area. As well as offering guests spectacular views, it features a dedicated gallery space, rooftop bar, and an aesthetic straight out of hipsterville.
Hong Kong architecture firm K plus K Associates maintained the original structure and exposed the poured concrete floors and brickwork, steel water pipes and foil-clad airconditioning ducts in the ceiling, then furnished the space with utilitarian steel for a minimalist aesthetic.
But guest services are not at all minimal. Inclusions such as breakfast, happy hour drinks, daily replenished minibars, and a 24-hour gym are covered by the tariff. Super-speed Wi-Fi and access to more than 11,000 internet hotspots throughout Hong Kong are also free to guests.
Following the trend to fill hallways and other public spaces with graffiti art, the work of Parent's Parents, a Hong Kong art collective, adorns the corridors. Murals by Los Angeles duo Cyrcle stretch across the rooftop and many of the interior spaces.
The hotel's main restaurant, CIRQLE, features an open kitchen and adjoining outdoor terrace to make use of that sunny aspect once thought undesirable. Expect to rub shoulders with local bright young things if you take the elevator to the rooftop nightspot, ABOVE, affording great views of Shouson Park.
The property is a member of Design Hotels. Room rates start at $HKD1150 ($168). See designhotels.com/Ovolo-Southside.