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» Ovolo Nishi, Canberra review
Ovolo Nishi, Canberra review

Ovolo Nishi, Canberra review

In the centre of Canberra’s funky NewActon precinct, you’ll find an accommodation experience that’s befitting of its arty, innovative surrounds. Ovolo Nishi, formerly Hotel-Hotel, is a boutique art hotel that serves up plenty of creativity in its design and its approach to inclusive hospitality.

There’s a laid-back kind of sophistication that’s palpable at Nishi. The 68 guestrooms are fitted out with contemporary decor in monochromatic tones, complemented by vintage furnishings and original artworks that provide pops of colour and a point of difference for each room. My room was designed to make the most of the building’s natural sunlight, and featured beautiful portraiture photography that contributed to a more personalised guest experience.

Ovolo Nishi, Canberra review
Ovolo Nishi, Canberra review

The contemporary-luxe vibe carries on throughout the hotel, with guests able to peruse a jumble of artworks, books, furnishings and other knick-knacks in common spaces like the lobby, library, and in-house restaurant, Monster Kitchen & Bar. When combined with the architectural and interior design aspects of the “pineapple” building in which Ovolo Nishi is housed, the result is eclectic, colourful and very Instagrammable.

It’s not just the design features though that define a stay at Ovolo Nishi, or at any Ovolo property. All of Ovolo’s boutique hotels aim to reflect the unique attributes of their respective neighbourhoods in their design, and to disrupt the traditional hotel model by providing guests with a more inclusive experience. A stay at an Ovolo includes freebies that you would usually expect to pay substantially for elsewhere. When booking direct with Ovolo Nishi, you’ll receive free mini-bar drinks (beer, wine, water and soft drinks), free in-room snacks, free breakfast, free laundry, free happy hour drinks daily, and free Wi-Fi.

Ovolo Nishi, Canberra review
Ovolo Nishi, Canberra review

The emphasis on little luxuries extends to in-room technology, with each offering electronic blinds, iPads, and Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant. I was particularly impressed with Alexa when it came to playing music – where I would usually fumble with Bluetooth connections or aux cords, Alexa handled my spoken music requests with ease; lining up playlists from the hotel Spotify and adjusting the volume accordingly. When I was ready to leave my room, I simply requested she ‘power off’ as I exited through the door (to which she promptly obliged).

These simple but significant additions to the guest hospitality experience seem to be working for Ovolo. Headquartered in Hong Kong, where it has four hotels, the group is expanding impressively into the Australian market with six properties in Sydney, Melbourne Brisbane and Canberra. Ovolo Nishi is one of the most recent portfolio additions after being acquired in March 2018. This year, the hotel is adding 17 new rooms to its existing offering, including 16 ‘snug rooms’, which take on the micro-hotel concept, and one larger suite with a balcony.

Ovolo Nishi, Canberra review
Ovolo Nishi, Canberra review

One of Ovolo Nishi’s assets is its in-house restaurant, Monster Kitchen & Bar. Spreading across several spaces of the Nishi lobby, the restaurant serves up contemporary Australian fare that showcases the best ingredients and products of the region. All of Nishi’s guests will pull up a seat at Monster, whether it be for a delightful dinner experience or for the free breakfast included in your stay. And it’s not a simple continental breakfast, either. Guests can choose from three options on the complimentary menu, with coffee or tea and a juice also included.

As someone who has become somewhat jaded by mediocre hotel breakfast buffets, this concept was a breath of fresh air and a highlight of my Ovolo Nishi stay. The barista-made coffee hit the spot, a generous glass of OJ was pulpy and fresh, and the creamy scrambled eggs I ordered were presented on a thick piece of crunchy toast. If you’re really ravenous, sides can be added at a small extra cost.

It’s clear from my stay at Ovolo Nishi that the brand is helping to redefine what constitutes a modern hospitality experience. The hotel’s edgy design, complimentary inclusions and dedication to telling the story of its surrounds do a lot to set it apart from the competition, and made my stay in Canberra all the more enjoyable.

Room rates start at A$276 per night. ovolohotels.com.au/ovolonishi/