Overview: A former high-rise warehouse turned 162-room boutique hotel, the Ovolo Southside is the first serious hotel to set up shop in the emerging Southside neighborhood of Tin Wan.
The Location: The industrial Southside neighborhood of Tin Wan, adjacent to better-known Aberdeen, is a congested jungle of vertical warehouses and high-rise factories that has become a hotbed of cutting-edge art galleries, rising-star fashion designers and renegade chefs.
Room: Long Loft, 21st floor. The Long Loft is Ovolo’s largest room category, sort of like a junior suite, with a comfortable seating area that’s slightly separated from the bed with a slatted wooden screen. It’s a charming little room, emphasis on little, but in hindsight I think the Corner Deluxe would have been more fun. The Corner Deluxe rooms have a smaller sitting area but offer incredible wraparound views from the bed. At any rate, the rooms come with complimentary goody bags filled with snacks. The overall vibe is industrial efficiency.
Food/drink: Daily breakfast is included at Cirqle, the hotel’s fourth-floor restaurant that happens to be one of the neighborhood’s best places to eat (fantastic salmon crudo with chili, lime and sesame seeds, for example, or lamb chops with orzo). The lobby bar offers free snacks all day. The rooftop lounge comes alive after dark.
WiFi: Fast and free. The hotel also partners with a bunch of local hotspots around town, where you can log on for free with your hotel password.
Public spaces: The very sexy lobby lounge is outfitted with a pool table. The front desk overlooks the gym. The rooftop desk overlooks a side of Hong Kong you’ve probably never seen before. And at every turn, the hotel is filled with brilliant art from local artists.
Service: The staff is young, cute and utterly charming.
Cost: $225, Long Loft. Smaller rooms start around $100. This is shockingly affordable for Hong Kong, and at this price you can almost justify taking taxis back and forth across the peak several times a day.
Bottom line: This is a very cool hotel in an interesting, out-of-the-way location. Tin Wan feels like a neighborhood to which Hong Kongers would travel to escape their own city rather than a destination for tourists who want to experience Hong Kong at its most vibrant, chaotic core. But the price is great, and it’s definitely fun for a night or two — and staying here will make you feel like a local, not a tourist.