Where the experts: Robert Godwin, MD of Lamington Group

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Robert Godwin, 30, is the Managing Director of Lamington Group who have created room2, an independent ‘hometel’ brand which combines the very best of hotels and Airbnb, and targets the needs of today’s global traveller. room2 strives to be a place to live not just to stay, where flexibility and freedom are paramount and the traditional rules and restrictions of hotels are removed.

‘Hometels’ are a new accommodation sub-category which room2 aims to define and lead as it develops into a national hospitality brand, with an ambitious vision of 1000 units by 2025. Two sites are now open in Hammersmith and Southampton, with further sites due to open in Chiswick and Manchester by 2021.

Here Godwin lets us in on his travel highs and lows…

Robert Godwin, MD of Lamington Group

What do you like to do on holiday?
For me, and in fact a number of consumers today – travel is more about immersive experiences than staying in plush resorts or upmarket hotels. I seek deeper, more unique experiences and adventures which take me away from my normal routines and familiar lifestyle. Ideally, these are natural, not curated or overly facilitated.  

Where did you last go?
Earlier this year I visited Costa Rica, somewhere I had not been before and experienced both the delights of the coast and unique jungle terrain.

Do you know where you’re going this year?
Having grown up sailing regularly, I often try to head to the coast or to spend some time on the ocean, so I’m really hoping to sail around the Mediterranean and I’d also like to head back to Tulum in Mexico, a favourite of mine.

Tulum ruins

Of all the places you’ve been to, which was your favourite and why?
Iceland, for its utterly raw and natural beauty, unparalleled by anything I’ve experienced anywhere else in the world. Spending time in these impressive natural landscapes combined with perhaps some of the world’s cleanest air, was an incredibly rejuvenating experience, especially compared to the hustle and bustle of London inner-city life.  

Which destination do you wish to travel to, but haven’t yet been?
Japan. I’ve heard amazing things from a cultural perspective, and have always been fascinated by the history and the way its society has evolved and adapted following major events.

In your own country, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?
It’s hard to go past London. Sometimes you need to stop yourself and take in the beautiful architecture around you. A stroll through the city on a crisp spring day is hard to beat, but if you want a true escape from the city then a trip to Cornwall is an ideal option.

London Bridge City Summer Festival

How do you plan your holiday?
I generally use online reviews and search. Particularly Tripadvisor, as I find it quick and easy, along with being tried and tested by the market for quite a while now. As an operator, we pay close attention to our guest feedback through this channel as we know how important it is to consumers.

How often do you go away?
I try to get away every couple of months or so, but our recent property openings have made this a little more challenging. I do think it’s important to refresh and revitalise away from your place of work in order to come back with new ideas and increased focus.

Who do you travel with?
Usually close friends, and my girlfriend who is often accompanied by her golden labrador, who has already clocked up more than eight flights in 2019 alone.

Japan’s Mt Fuji

Where do you see tourism in your country, in 10 years?
London will continue to offer a hugely diverse array of options for travellers and as such attract a broad range of international tourists, however I do expect the market to become more specialist in appealing to, and catering for, the Chinese market given the massive potential here.
Generally speaking, I feel the consumer trend towards more unique and differentiated experiences will continue with travellers looking for more alternative forms of accommodation and expecting greater flexibility and freedom from providers.    

Room2’s flagship hotel in Southampton
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