Hotel review: Ovolo Southside, Hong Kong

When you think of Hong Kong, you think of food, great hospitality, a big inner-city urban Asian sprawl and enough of an expat culture to mistake yourself as being in Melbourne.

That’s exactly what it is.

However, it’s not until you scratch the surface of Hong Kong and wriggle underneath its multicultural skin that you being to notice how edgy, buzzing, happening and vibrant an amalgamation of colour, smells, people, creativity and culture it truly is.

Hong Kong’s heritage rests on Chinese imperialism, English colonialism and a great deal of random pirate history, nautical influence – it is called Fragrant Harbour in its English translation, after all – and creativity, all of which really rear their heads. Hotels, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues all hone-in on the edgy vibe of what Hong Kong is about. If you haven’t heard of the Ovolo Hotels, for example, see here.

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Art adorns walls at every turn, if you’re looking for it, creative and clever design sits around almost every corner and a great deal of the more Westernised restaurants, hotels and bars feature a lot of contemporary design elements that would have most designers squealing with excitement.

One such hotel that hits all of these nails on the head is the Ovolo Southside in a small fishing town by the name of Aberdeen on Hong Kong island’s south side.

It’s like a haven-in-a-haven.

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Aberdeen, though inconveniently – depending on your version of a visit to Hong Kong – disconnected from the hustle and bustle, is a perfect location for the establishment of one of Hong Kong’s shining stars.

A Hong Kong based company that has five hotels in Hong Kong alone, they have branched out further afield to the likes of Australia, where you can experience your own slice of Asian-Western finery at the Ovolo Laneways on Lt. Bourke Street.

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The creed behind the Ovolo hotel name encapsulates three key pillars that set it so far apart from its competitors, it’s a definite favourite in a long list of brilliant hotels. They are: good value, good quality, and good design, all of which when combined create a phenomenal experience.

The rooms, of which there are six types, offer varying elements of the edgy urban atmosphere of the hotel. Though it admittedly is close to nothing of note other than Hong Kong’s water park, sporting fields and the highway (Wong Chuk Hang Road), the view of the surrounds, mountains, urban sprawl and hustle and bustle of the Hong Kong world below helps to give a surrealistic feel to the peaceful-just-on-the-outskirts standing of the hotel.


Couple the disconnected relaxation of the hotel overall with some of the quality design elements in rooms the likes of a double loft (my room), which features a separate living space and partition wall, and a unique piece of art on each varying room wall of the hotel and you have a winning combination.

The one thing you notice about the Ovolo Hotels is that each is as unique as the last and each sports a completely different aesthetic in everything from the colour motifs of rooms, to the thematic games and personalities you see throughout the venues.

Perfect for the business trip or need for an officious location, the Southside offers two bars, quirkily enough entitled Lo Lounge (for the lower option) and Above, for the rooftop cocktail bar that offers more of a sweeping view than any of the Southside hotel’s corner rooms or high-level lofts. Each as dimly lit and urbanly-edgy as the last, the entire hotel offers an attitude all its own.

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It’s only too easy to never want to leave.

While it might be a 10 minute taxi ride from central Hong Kong, Southside offers a more local flavour a mere three minute taxi ride in the opposite direction.

Contining in a southwesterly direction from the hotel, you come to Ap Le Chau, fishing village and a most densely populated residential area in all of Hong Kong. That’s saying something. Mind you, wander the streets, drive through the alleyways and explore the years old buildings, and you notice more than one manner of artistic expression abounds.

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For the brave, Aberdeen is known for its houseboat-bound locals known colloquially as Tanka people, its fish markets and completely edible roadside rood and bakeries. While they aren’t so ‘traditional’ in the form of art and design, their art exists in other ways.

With meat markets, a strong Buddhist culture and a friendly disposition in each of the roadside shops or bazaar-like market set-ups, Aberdeen – conveniently within proximity to the Ovolo Aberdeen Harbour (a more nautically themed hotel of the lot) – is a friendly and totally liveable more waterside part of the Hong Kong culture that is all too easily overlooked.

The Ovolo staff are all fluent in English, Cantonese and most Mandarin, making organising getting anywhere a complete breeze. Their willingness to help is second to none Hong Kong-wide and you can see why: the number of guests the Ovolo Southside takes-in from so many varied walks of life is enough to make every day as interesting as the art on its walls or the personality of the hotel itself.

See more about the Ovolo Southside at its website.

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