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Hotel Hotel sold to Ovolo Hotels

Seminal boutique hotel Hotel Hotel has been sold to Ovolo Hotels with a name change coming into effect from 1 March this year. Does this spark a new era in the hotel industry?

  • Grand stair at Hotel Hotel, photo by Tom Roe.

  • Hotel Hotel's striking entrance by March Studio, photo by John Gollings.

  • Entrance at Hotel Hotel, photo by Tom Roe.

  • (L-R) Nishi Building, photo by Ross Honeysett. Hotel bedroom, photo by Tom Roe.

Hotel Hotel, which was created and operated by Molonglo Group, will be taken over by Ovolo Hotels within the next few months. As one of the first boutique hotels to set the scene in Australia, Hotel Hotel designed by March Studio has been widely awarded for its design, putting Canberra and the NewActon precinct on the map.

The private sale between Molonglo Group and Ovolo Hotels includes the businesses, operations and the staff that work and care for the hotel and restaurant. CBRE Hotels facilitated the negotiation. As owners of the NewActon Precinct and the Nishi building (home to Hotel Hotel), Molonglo Group will continue to activate the precinct through its cultural program.

Ovolo Hotels has stated that this move represents a continued aspiration to explore the hotel landscape, opening up possibilities with other boutique hotels in the future.

When commenting on the news, Molongo Group director Nectar Efkarpidis says, “We wanted to do something special in both Canberra and Australia, I think we’ve achieved that. Hotel Hotel was the physical manifestation of ideas that we had been exploring for several years. About architecture, design, objects and furniture; and how they can help us to evolve and expand Canberra’s civic sense of itself with others.”

Efkarpidis continues that, “This move will allow us to focus on new projects in Canberra and beyond. Hotel Hotel will continue without its physical embodiment in the form of our creative projects, through film and publishing, exploring ideas around the purpose of place and how we fit into it.”

The property development and creative production house, Molonglo Group, will be working on a number of architecture, design, cultural and experimental projects in 2018, across Australia and internationally.

Ovolo Hotels will now operate in Hong Kong, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra, signalling rapid expansion for the company with three new hotels joining its portfolio in the last six months.

Changing tides

Does this sale signal a change in the boutique hotel sector in Australia? As the value and equity that is created in a highly curated and designed offering can be quantified, will developers see the potential to create holistic hotel experiences and sell them off like any other development?

There’s no doubt that many elements must align for the experience to feel authentic in a project like Hotel Hotel, but design is the single most critical element in achieving that.

Take a look at another wave-making design hotel, the Jackalope hotel

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