The author stayed as a guest of Virgin Australia and the property. All photos and opinions are the author’s own.
The Inchcolm by Ovolo is a relatively small boutique hotel in Brisbane that oozes quirkiness and history. Operating as a private hospital in the 1920s, the Inchcolm is situated on Wickham Terrace: an important medical specialist precinct in Brisbane.
Inchcolm is part of the Queensland Heritage Register and many remnants of the 1900s remain in the hotel. It was previously an MGallery by Sofitel and is now operated by Hong Kong chain Ovolo.
Location and details
You’ll find the hotel at 55 Wickham Tce, perched on a corner intersection within Brisbane’s Spring Hill – look out for the distinctive white facade. It’s about a 15 km drive from the airport or a 5-minute walk to Central Station, which has AirTrain links to the airport.
Once you emerge inside the Ovolo, note the dark and sophisticated colour palette with a small lobby area that hosts both breakfast and evening drinks (the latter is included if you book direct).
The central lift has been modernised, but still carries relics of its past with the manual crank remaining inside. Meanwhile, the lobby itself boasts an eclectic mix of paraphernalia and a large wall of spirits, as part of the hotel’s inclination with martinis.
Inside the room
During my stay, I was allocated a 2 Bedroom Heritage Suite on the second floor. It comfortably sleeps up to four guests across the two bedrooms. In terms of a ‘suite’, it’s not incredibly spacious by any means, with the living room area being quite narrow.
However, I did like the small touches such as various books dotted on the shelves surrounding the Apple TV-enabled television. Each bedroom also contains its own TV, so there’s no fighting over the remote (which thoughtfully comes with alcohol wipes on the table).
The main bedroom features a small window, a plush bed, a wardrobe and a working desk. For a touch of the high-tech life, each room comes with an Alexa digital assistant that can help with telling you the weather or fill the room with music.
Power outlets and USB charging ports are thoughtfully placed around the room, with a universal plug being handy for future international travellers. The wardrobe includes slippers, a bathrobe, several coathangers, an iron and an in-room safe.
One perk of Ovolo properties is the free minibar, which continues in some form at the Inchcolm. Soft drinks, water and juices are complimentary. You’ll also find a Nespresso coffee maker, a selection of teas, plus some beers and wines which you are welcome to purchase.
The bathrooms are well-appointed, with a rainfall shower and dual sinks. Some two-bedroom suites even have a bathtub, but you need to request those (my room didn’t). Ovolo’s quirky in-house skincare and hair products are named after lyrics from rock and pop music hits.
Inchcolm by Ovolo’s pride and joy is the martini – if you book direct, the first round is complimentary during ‘martini hour’. Our particular favourite is the red ‘Spring Hill’: Maker’s Mark bourbon, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, peach bitters and brandied cherries.
There are two function rooms for hire, including the Foxtrot Room and the larger Charleston Room. The hotel’s restaurant, Salon De Co (3rd image below), can also function as a conference area with a relaxed feel.
Due to the property’s limited size, there is no pool, spa or fitness facilities on-site. But there is a self-laundry underground, which could be handy for slightly longer stays.
Continental breakfast (normally A$18) is a huge affair, including a coffee, juice, cereal, yoghurt bowl, toast, and an amazingly flaky croissant. As another point of differentiation, the coffee is local too: brewed with milk from Maleny Dairies and Fonzie Abbott coffee beans.
There is, of course, a full a-la-carte menu available if you want something heartier, and the Salon De Co restaurant also offers an all-day and an evening dining menu: check it out here.
Booking and earning points
Ovolo does not have a traditional loyalty program where you earn points. Instead, you’re simply recommended to book direct to take advantage of discounted member rates and to enjoy complimentary perks such as Martini Hour.
A quick comparison between Booking.com and Ovolo reveals that room rates are basically identical across the two sites. Unless you have a cashback deal or other promo with Booking.com, it definitely makes sense to book with ovolohotels.com.
Be sure to use a points-earning credit card on your reservation to earn more frequent flyer points when you stay. A 2 Bedroom Heritage Suite will set you back $424 a night (non-refundable) or $472 a night (flexible).
If you’re seeking a hotel experience that’s a bit different and steeped in history, then The Inchcolm by Ovolo is the property for you. The rooms are comfortable, and more importantly, functional. I especially like the high-tech twists such as Alexa and Apple TV.
The main downsides are related to the limited size of the property – rooms are somewhat narrow, the lobby can get packed at times, and there aren’t extra facilities such as a pool or gym on-site. Inchcolm’s location also isn’t the most central, though you can still walk to Queen St Mall in under 15 minutes.
The Ovolo brand is appealing for business travellers and tourists alike, who enjoy the finer things in life such as complimentary drinks when you book directly with the property.