My Top 5 Favourite Google Tours – Mark Weeks, Photographer

Since starting out as one of the UK’s very first Google Trusted Photographers in early 2012, my company Weeks360 has become the market leader in creating virtual tours for businesses. With clients such as the Hilton Hotel Group, Regus and a number of well-respected brands, Weeks360 has lead the way in promoting and delivering on “see inside” tours for Google Streetview.

It’s never easy to identify (and always somewhat dangerous) to identify a favourite tour (or client for that matter), but the following five tours do stand out for me, both from a photographic standpoint, as well as from a personal standpoint.

5. Somerset House: This tour is one of my all-time favourites because it is both such an iconic venue, but also because on my first date with my partner, we went to Somerset House. The beautiful staircase, Nelson’s war rooms, the grand fountain and of course the terrace bar all make for a wonderful tour. The staircase was perhaps one of the most difficult areas to create a virtual tour as the stitching software used to create the panoramics got confused nearly every time! Go deep into the bowels of the building and you’ll also find the crypt, complete with graves. Very cool tour indeed.  

4. Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam: For the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, I was commissioned directly by Google to do this hotel. This was the first time I’d returned to Amsterdam as a photographer (I lived there previously), and as such it was a bit of a coming-home/milestone for me. While taking a breakfast break, I rang home and spoke with my partner and our kids using FaceTime. We spoke for about five minutes and then said our goodbyes. A week later when I was processing the tour, one of my boys asked what I was looking at. I told him it was the room where I had called them on FaceTime. I asked if he could tell me where I had been sitting when I had FaceTimed them. He looked carefully about the room and then pointed to a blue sofa in the corner. “That’s where you sat!” he exclaimed. He was correct. A week later the whole family returned to Amsterdam for a long weekend break. We passed by the Waldorf and I asked if they wanted to go inside. The four of us trundled up the steps and into the lounge. Once inside, the boys beelined their way to that very same sofa. They knew where they were. Pretty incredible.

3. Aldiana Andalusien: When Google first started Google Business Photos (later Google Business View), they had a restriction on the total number of panoramic photos that could be included in a tour. This restriction was 30 panoramics in total. This restriction was in place for a number of technical reasons. As the program matured, this limit was raised. A little over a year after I started the program, my partner Lee and I created the two largest tours ever created, Aldiana Andalusien and Aldiana Alcaidesa. In publishing these two tours, we helped pave the way for other massive tours to follow.  

2. Regus Edinburgh : The serviced office company Regus has been one of my favourite clients for the past two years. I’ve had the great fortune to create many tours for them and am always impressed with how each office has its own character. The St. Andrew Square centre in Edinburgh really stood out as it was the former headquarters for Scottish Widows, and its boardroom is something out of Bewitched or Mad Men. I walked in and was immediately wowed. I also just really love Edinburgh, so what’s there not to be happy about this shoot.  

1.Hilton Park Lane The Hilton Park Lane has to be included in my list. From the very onset of this project, I had the Hilton on Park Lane as my dream client. It’s such a lovely place, incredibly chic and a landmark hotel not just in London, but globally. They had approached me a number of months earlier, but then suddenly all systems were go! The tour is one of the largest hotel tours created. It features a number of beautiful suites as well as the stunning Galvin at Windows bar & restaurant.

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