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Hotel Homes Q&A: John Goldwyn of WATG

John Goldwyn holds the position of Vice President at global architecture firm Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo, or “WATG.” The firm specializes in resort and destination-oriented developments worldwide with numerous mixed-use hotel/residential projects, and John heads up the planning and landscape team in the London office.

Q: The development of hotel-branded residences is a major trend. Why do you think they are so appealing to homeowners?
A: The hotel brands represent an aspirational lifestyle for potential owners, conveying the prestige and amenity-rich nature of the resort. The brands’ expertise also instills confidence in homeowners that the property will be managed properly. They offer a “lock and go” concept which takes the hassle out of holiday home ownership and creates added security.

Q: Which hotel-residential developments have you worked on?
A: I do a great deal of work from Western Europe to Central Asia, with diverse projects including the Residences at Viceroy Bodrum, Turkey, the planning and detailed design of a Missoni Hotel and resort in Southern Turkey; strategic planning for a major new city on the Caspian coast of Russia and a 1,000-hectare mountain destination golf and ski resort in Kazakhstan.

Q: What is the hardest part of designing a mixed-use hotel-residential development?
A: Getting the mix between residential units and hotel keys and amenities. It needs to be operationally efficient and sized to accommodate homeowners and hotel guests without either feeling compromised in any way. The synthesis of good business planning and good physical design is the key to a successful product.

Q: What do you do differently in these properties than those with only hotels or residences?
A: For a successful project, we strive to achieve between the hotel and residences, in part to maximize the operational efficiencies.

Q: What has been your favorite property to work on so far?
A: The Viceroy Istanbul is a fascinating modern spin on a historic building with a landscape-led approach to a hotel. It is expected to open in early 2014.

Q: What are you working on next?
A: Projects range from a new resort city in China to boutique hotels in Turkey and cultural projects in the United Arab Emirates.

Q: Where do you think the mixed-use hotel-residential trend is going?
A: It is all about the urban context with a focus on South East Asia, Russia/CIS and certain hot spots in the Middle East.

Q: When travelling, what is your favorite hotel service/amenity?
A: Other than, obviously, the mini bar, I always try to swim when I can. A great pool is essential.

Q: If you could own a residence at any hotel in the world, which would it be?
A: I love the apartments in the Banyan Tree and the Sukothai Hotel in Bangkok. They are not the newest properties in town but the location – and the city in general – is unbelievable.