PortfolioThe Bentley Suite at the St. Regis New York
New York, New York, USA
It is not just about designing a place anymore. It is about designing an experience that flows from check-in to sleeping, to bathing to dining. Psychographic profiles are driving design decisions. It is not enough for a hotel to label itself as business or leisure. People are doing business while they play and they are playing while they travel for business. There has to be a degree of escapism even in business hotels. People want to go beyond their routine and try something new.
People are taking better care of themselves. They go to spas. As a result, guest bathrooms have to be more spa-like. More and more, they have natural light. In space-conscious, high-end city hotels, you will see large pampering shower experiences—rather than a tub and shower. The exception is a soaking tub where space allows. The one place in which bathtubs are still a must is in family-oriented resorts and then, usually, only in double-bedded rooms.
When guests work on their laptops, they do not want to look at a wall. They want to see a view, but they also want to watch CNN. They want enough space to do yoga or Pilates in their rooms. Guestrooms are getting bigger because they have to be multi-functional. Operators used to think that small rooms encouraged guests to go out and spend more in the restaurants and bars. Now, hoteliers definitely are seeing that guests are willing to pay more for the lifestyle experience afforded by larger guestrooms.
Guestrooms used to give guests a dining table. Then, they had to provide desks. Now, you might see a table on casters that can be rolled up to the foot of the bed. Guests can decide how that table is used—whether as a desk or a table for breakfast in bed. Designers have to think about how guests use the room. They need a place to relax and watch TV, a place to just lounge. They need to be able to customize the experience by changing lighting levels. Guests do not necessarily want the same lighting levels for dining as they do for reading in bed.
New forms of wellness are being incorporated. Guestrooms are being designed so that the bathrooms are becoming one with the room so that visual space is borrowed between the bedroom and the bathroom. Tubs are often being replaced by rain showers and toilets are being concealed in innovative ways.
Our clients' properties consistently generate a RevPAR premium of over US$50.
As reported by Hotel Business magazine and Hotel Online, WATG was the first architecture firm to conduct research (with statistics gathered by Smith Travel Research) which revealed a consistent and quantifiable relationship between good design and the clients’ bottom line.
Visionary Client David Cheng
Vice President, China Jin Mao Group co., Ltd.
Born in 1966, David Cheng earned his post-graduate degree in Economics at Nanjing University and then continued his studies at Les Roches Hotel Management School Switzerland and China Europe International Business School. David started his hotel career with Jinling Hotel Nanjing at various positions, then joined Jin Mao in 1997; he was a member of the preopening team for Jin Mao Tower and held the position of Deputy General Manager Grand Hyatt Shanghai. As the major driving force for hotel development and operations for Jin Mao, David has been responsible for the project development and the supervision of operations after opening of the following hotels: Hilton Sanya (2005), The Ritz-Carlton Sanya (2008), Westin Beijing Chaoyang (2008) and JW Marriott Shenzhen (2009). His role includes selecting the location/project; negotiating and fixing the management contracts; and supervising the construction, preopening activities, and operations.
Thought Leader David Moore, AIA
Senior Vice President, Managing Director, Singapore
Joining WATG in 1989, David Moore rose through the ranks to become managing director of the Honolulu office after a stint in Singapore and Beijing. In 2007, he returned to Singapore to head up WATG's office there and has helped grow the firm's portfolio throughout the region. Dave has worked on projects in China, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Fiji, India, Thailand, Japan, Australia, Guam, Myanmar, Mauritius, and the Maldives. His experience of living both in Asia and the US has bestowed on Dave the ability to bridge the cultures of East and West with great sensitivity.
Thought Leader Howard J. Wolff
Senior Vice President
Howard J. Wolff, WATG senior vice president, is an award-winning thought leader. He was the first to research the correlation between good design and a hotel's top- and bottom line and is credited with coining such phrases as "Return on Wow" and "RevPAD" (Revenue Per Amazing Design). Recently, he created a program for HD Expo entitled "Luxe in Flux" and assembled a panel of luxury hoteliers to discuss the subject. Howard identified and presented six important trends, which he shares here.
Visionary Client John R. Hardy
President and CEO of The John Hardy Group
John Hardy is president and CEO of The John Hardy Group, a real estate consulting group specializing in the hospitality industry. Prior to the formation of JHG, John was the group vice president of architecture and construction for Interstate Hotels Corporation. During his tenure, John was instrumental as a principal in the development, design and construction of 14 full-service hotels and numerous renovations. Five years ago, he founded the Radical Innovation in Hospitality Design awards program.
Thought Leader Raj Chandnani
Global Hospitality Resources, Inc. interviews Raj Chandnani, Director of Strategy, WATG
You've been up since 4 a.m., and are harried from the hassles of airport security, the transcontinental flight, jet lag and back-to-back traffic. As you step out of the taxi and enter the hotel, your surroundings feel comfortable and you can eventually exhale. The lobby is a living room, and someone with a smiling face greets you. Your check in process is effortless and you are intuitively able to find your room. Whether you decide to have a glass of wine, check your email or have a hot shower, your day is suddenly looking better since the experience is the complete antithesis to your stressful day. The most important design trend for hospitality? Customization, ease and authenticity.
Visionary Client Phil Sherburne
Phil Sherburne is the developer for Bardessono, a 62-room boutique hotel designed by WATG, which recently opened. Located on the Bardessono family farmstead in California's Napa Valley, the five-acre property sits in the heart of the walking village of Yountville. Bardessono family heirs, concerned about the impact a commercial development would have on the town's rural character, handpicked Sherburne because of his development experience and attention to environmental sensitivity.
Finally - A Sigh of Relief
How Suite It Is!
Hotels in the Sky
WATG at HD2008
"Green" Design and the Media
Guestroom Design Trends