Running a Korean bathhouse is a world away from producing Australia’s highest- rating morning TV show, but Adam Boland and his partner Julian Wong reckon they are up for the challenge.
The 35-year-old former producer who is openly gay was responsible for Sunrise’s soaring ratings and shocked many in the industry when he announced his departure from the show last year, opting instead for a consulting role two days a week.
Now he is off on a new venture, with plans to open a Korean-style bathhouse, named the Ginseng Baths, in Kings Cross by this September.
By his own admission, it is an ambitious task for someone who has only worked in media, and for Wong, an architect.
“It is a massively ridiculous challenge that has every likelihood of sending us bankrupt and into mid-life crisis,” Boland laughed.
“But we’re the kind of guys who get bored easily and it was time for something new.”
Boland, who exudes energy and enthusiasm to the point of barely drawing breath, told the Star Observer the idea came after the pair holidayed in Hong Kong over the Christmas and Chinese New Year period, where they visited a bathhouse for the first time.
“We were greeted by these massive baths and it was confronting even for me, as a gay man, to see all these naked men with no sexual intentions, indulging in such an experience. After that, we went from bathhouse to bathhouse discovering the differences between each,” he explained.
“On the plane home, we wondered if there was a way of doing it here with the Asian influence adapted to a Sydney context.”
The Ginseng Bathhouse in Kings Cross closed some years ago.
This did not deter Boland, however, who believes there is still a place for such a venue.
“We have day spas on almost every corner of Sydney, but most just charge inflated prices for an average massage,” he said.
Boland is “navigating through a world of legal hurdles” to get the project up and running while Wong is in South Korea researching architecture and design.
Three possible locations have been sourced, two in Kings Cross and one on Broadway, though it is 14 Kings Cross Rd which Boland has his heart set on.
“It’s close to public transport and the gay and lesbian community will be a large part of our client base,” he said. “We haven’t signed a lease yet and are still in negotiations.”
The pair is calling for feedback from the public through a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/GinsengBaths
“Facebook has been a great conversation and given us a lot of hope,” Boland said. “Now is the time for people to tell us what they want.”
By MITCHELL JORDAN