OZO is a hotel that’s just popped up on Marine Drive in Bambalapitiya, quite popular for having the highest bar in the city (ON14). It considers itself a new-age hotel, or like a staff member told us, ‘the hotel of the future’, turning digital, encouraging staff interaction with visitors, and catering to a new customer base of wanderlusty travelers.
Everything’s digital here, from your check-in to the menu for room service. The room styling is minimal and soothing. They’re really big about creating the perfect space for uninterrupted sleep, especially for people who travel a lot – the corridor between rooms is extremely quiet and called the ‘snooze zone’, the glass is apparently sound-proof, and they even provide a refreshing Doze Off Drink for those who have trouble sleeping.
Out of the box
OZO is part of an international group Onyx, that is as a rule of its brand, creative. The entire hotel is a WiFi zone, and the lobby and rooms are equipped with flat horizontal screens: through these, you can explore Colombo at your fingertips via OZO’s travel itinerary. It’s got a whole load of suggestions of places to visit, eat and sight-see, in the city and out, and it doesn’t just feature tourist-ey places but local spots like Pilawoos.
Interestingly, there’s a little Eat2go counter in the lobby, with healthy snacks, soda and coffee – for people just heading out or in, with no time for a proper hotel meal. We thought this was a pretty cool innovation for a high-end hotel.
Our favourite though, was their Vocal Local program. Staff members of the hotel, from the manager to the cleaning guy, are featured on the hotel’s digital device, and each of them has a particular interest or expertise in something. Visitors who want to know about music, shoes, sports – whatever – can just check out Vocal Local on their screens and then go have a personal conversation with a staff member who shares their interest.
The view from OZO is amazing. Their dining space and halls look out onto the sea and the city; even at night the view from the banquet hall of the street lights below is startling. The best view of all however, is on the rooftop – the sunset on the OZO roof is supposed to be the best you can get anywhere in Colombo.
The sea makes up most of the view on the rooftop and in the distance you can see the harbour. From inside the rooftop pool it seems like the pool is blending in with the ocean. The seating here is cosy and chic, and for the food you can check out our review of ON14.
OZO Colombo is a very cool place to stay for the weary traveler and we think their creative reinvention of the hotel experience is worth sampling.