Hotel Review: Ovolo The Valley is a marvel of convenience, technology and “free”dom (Brisbane)

Tucked off Wickham Street in the Fortitude Valley is one of Brisbane’s finest and newest hotels, sitting comfortably alongside a slew of great dining and entertainment options in the city’s famously bustling district. The hotel in mention, Ovolo The Valley in many ways sits at the heart of this, surrounded by an area of Brisbane that’s exploding with new apartments, hotels, dining and entertainment; the Ovolo itself only opening three months ago. 

With 103 rooms, the hotel has a vibrant yet boutique vibe, and is the second Ovolo to open in Brisbane (the first, Ovolo Inchcolm opened earlier last year), with the architecture firm behind Sydney’s The Ivy – Woods Bagot – having designed the development. And with that “new hotel” smell still sweeping through, it’s hardly surprising how young the accomodation is. Just putting your feet on the carpet of your hotel room reinforces just how fresh this space is; and the technology that exists throughout the hotel goes on to see the Ovolo set a new benchmark for what modern temporary accomodation should provide: true convenience, no hidden fees and an ability to make a room truly your own. 

The King room I had on the third floor didn’t have much of a view – overlooking the nearby Domayne is nothing to write home about – but the room was incredibly spacious and comfortable. There was so much room in fact it dwarved the King Bed that sat at the centre of the room. On one side of the bed, there was a desk with a mirror and a comfortable chair, and a place to put your suitcase. On the other side, a presumably custom designed burgundy couch and a blue chair sat against a round table with an issue of Frankie, next to the minibar and coffee/tea facilities – where you’ll also find a coffee table book about vinyl album covers hidden away.

The bathroom was impressive too, with a large walk in shower and two sinks to make this very suitable room for a couple with a good amount of luggage. Honestly, travelling only with a backpack felt like a waste to fully take advantage of the space. 

There’s plenty of storage in the bathroom, and a cupboard near the door which holds some comfortable robes and slippers for both guests, as well as ironing facilities. They encourage you to take the slippers home, with a smiling Ovolo logo ever there to remind you to return. There’s umbrellas in the room, yoga mats available on request (there’s a lot of space in the room for such an activity after all) and on the ground floor you’ll find a complimentary “candy buffet” and a fruit water station. 

The hotel prides itself on the letter “F” – standing in this case for “Free”, and they offer a number of complimentary amenities for those who book directly through their website (though something tells me that many of these items would be available to everyone). This includes complimentary breakfast at the cafe next door (while they continue to finish their own restaurant and bar), Wifi is fast and free (with the name “ovololovesyou”), and there’s also free self-laundry, a 24 hour gym and a pool that’s open from 530am to 10pm, both found on the rooftop. There’s even a free self-service washer and dryer (a marvellous addition).

Meanwhile, a “Loot Bag” in your room provides some snacks (potato chips, chocolate bars – that sort of thing), and the mini bar is stacked with complimentary beverages, including beer, wine and soft drinks. If that’s not enough, guests can enjoy 530-630pm daily happy hour in the lobby wth complimentary beverages. Nu waters sit next to each side of the bed.

What you might find in the free “loot bag” that sits in the room.

In the bathroom, you’re stocked with Biology Amenities. Most are in large containers so don’t expect to take them home with you, but body lotion, hand wash, body wash, shampoo and conditioner are all supplied. There’s even packages with Cotton Buds, nail files and more. For the extra essentials – like razors, toothbrushes and pads, a sign asks you to let the front desk know if you need it. I say I felt like I needed to bring more than my backpack to make full use of the room, but really they don’t seem too interested in whether you’ve brought anything or not. They’ve got you covered. 

This is a room that has thought of – and provided – just about everything that an international or domestic traveller could need; and a few notable extras that set it a step above the rest. The TV comes stacked with Chromecast with easy instructions waiting for you when you arrive in your room. It took just a minute for me to connect my iPhone to the TV and stream from my Netflix account. It’s the room entertainment of the future, and it’s already here.

Each side of the comfortable King Bed – which comes complete with a pillow menu sitting atop it – has master light switches, USB chargers and plugs – including a converter plug on one side for international travellers. Next to the TV sits an Alexa that responds easily to your requests for a Spotify playlist. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen such a unit in a hotel room, and honestly it proved to be as much a successful sales pitch for owning the device as it did being a practical addition for the room. I’m starting to think every room needs one of these. And finally there’s an iPad next to the Alexa unit, which doubles as an information portal for the hotel, and as the clock for your room. Setting up your alarm clock has never been easier. And with easy touch buttons near the door, telling people you’re sleeping has never been easier either. 

The design of the space leans on greenery – leaves adorning the wallpaper behind the bed; cactus sculptures in the bathroom. There are framed drawings of plants, next to an actual plant, closer towards the door. And these themes are found scattered throughout the hotel – which has a playful edge with its design, while ensuring its consistent and tasteful throughout the facilities. Music is part of that too – a “Finally Found a Rhythm“ campaign promotes their Spotify radio station throughout the hotel. It’s these little touches that makes the Ovolo a unique experience, while the practicality found in your room and around the hotel make it the perfect destination for any traveller. Oh and the air conditioning is fantastic. 

The convenience the Hotel provides for the traveller also extends to its location. There’s a number of food and entertainment options at easy reach. The Triffid – one of Brisbane’s best music venues – is just a couple minutes walk away. Johnny Rocket’s and Grill’d provide some burger options in the buildings directly surrounding the hotel, while a number of Sushi, Teppenyaki, Italian, Korean and more restaurants are also available. I ate at Gong’s Sushi Bar Emporium and enjoyed an incredible wagyu beef Bento Box for about $34.

Next door, the cafe Société, serves a complimentary continental breakfast (pastries and coffee, that sort of thing) for guests from 630am to 10am, or until 11am on weekends and public holidays. They’ll be opening their own restaurant/bar later this year which will presumably replace that service. With an experience this good, we may just have to go back and see what’s in store. Room service, however, is already available. 

Final Verdict

There’s nothing not to love about Ovolo The Valley. From the stunning (if quaint) rooftop pool, to their massive rooms with colourful, leafy designs, and the wide array of inclusive extras, this really is the hotel that has it all, and then some. Except their own restaurant of course – but that’s coming soon. And with a location this good, you have to wonder if they even need it – everything you could possibly crave is within seconds from the lobby.

But for all the comfort this hotel provides – and I should mention the bed was ridiculously comfortable – it’s the technology in the room that truly sets the location apart from the rest. Massive TVs with Chromecast, Alexa and plenty of charging ports ensure you’ll be able to make this room feel like home be your stay one night or one week. And honestly, after one night, I had no desire to leave.

FIVE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Ovolo The Valley is located at 1000 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley. Rates start around the $170/night mark. For more details head to their official website, or search Hotels Combined in the box below to treat yourself to a night now!

The writer stayed as a guest of the hotel for one night. Photos by the author. 

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.

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