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In a world where things are becoming increasingly disposable it is refreshing to take time to recognise instances of restoration. Old buildings are being transformed from their past lives as industrial warehouses, coal cranes and jails, and reborn as five-star hotels and resorts. From the innovative architects behind the transformation of a historic grain storage tower in Cape Town into The Silo, to the murderous affair that consumed the past owners of San Antonio’s Pearl Brewing Company, which now houses the luxurious Hotel Emma, our cover story details some of the most intriguing and innovative tales of conversion around the world. The most successful stories are created when the hotels incorporate both the physical and narrative elements of their histories into the new building, crafting a layered journey of discovery for their guests.
As well as an increasing respect for the history of the places we visit, there is a growing awareness of the impact that tourism is having on their future. On page 100, we explore the philanthropic organisation run by tour operator Abercrombie & Kent, which uses its US$2.5 million budget to fund effective community outreach programs that give back to the regions in which they operate, serving as the antithesis to all-too-common surface-level initiatives and potentially harmful voluntourism programs. Deborah Dickson-Smith updates us on the declining state of the Great Barrier Reef and the growing number of luxury travel brands coming to its aid with ocean conservation initiatives (page 107). And like me, you might begin to notice that in many of our stories, our writers are increasingly touching on each property’s small conservation victories, like the birth of Likuliku Lagoon Resort’s first iguana bred in captivity (see page 158).
I speak to award-winning interior designers Blainey North and Kit Kemp about society’s increasing emphasis on appearances and how this is influencing design in luxury properties around the globe (see page 154). And we also launch our new family section; Gather (page 141) where our writers experience self-contained luxury rentals and child friendly hotels and resorts.
Thanks for continuing to flip through our pages.
Katie Milton | Editor