This month in Travel + Leisure’s annual Hotels Issue we introduce a head-to-toe redesign of this 42-year-old publication. From the cover to the back page, you’ll notice a cleaner look, with larger images, simpler navigation, and more emphasis on digital and social media throughout. Feature stories now appear earlier in the magazine to showcase destinations and T+L’s award-winning photography. You’ll also find dynamic new sections that address a wide range of travelers’ needs: On Our Radar, our expanded compendium of news, finds, opinions, and obsessions; Trip Doctor, offering expert travel advice under the purview of the department’s chief practitioner, news editor Amy Farley; and Decoder, our insider guide to a different city each month.
Serving our audience well is, in fact, much on my mind, as we once again present T+L’s It List of the 50 best new hotels, resorts, and renovations; our annual World’s Best Service Awards; and Hotel Handbook, as well as an amusing account by T+L contributing editor Bruno Maddox of his stint as a concierge at a Las Vegas hotel. We also zoom in on four Roman neighborhoods and the perfect hideaways from which to access them; Abu Dhabi’s new resort-like properties, in our cover story; a jungle retreat in Belize; and Bangkok.
Bangkok is, of course, a capital of the “ultimate hotel service” zone of Southeast and South Asia, regions where I have gone behind the scenes on a number of occasions. Last fall, at the O-Zone Experience, a staff sanctuary in the city’s storied Mandarin Oriental Hotel, I saw a revolutionary approach to employee—and no doubt, guest—satisfaction through stylish contemporary design, a café and Starbucks-like coffee bar, a dedicated concierge, and more. In February, I visited the Oberoi Centre for Learning & Development, in Delhi, where the India-based hotel and resort group operates a competitive two-year postgraduate program in hotel management—a spawning ground for enlightened service and operations. Back on U.S. shores, at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration in upstate New York, an inscription on an entrance wall quotes benefactor and hotel impresario Ellsworth M. Statler: “Life is service. The one who progresses is the one who gives his fellow men a little more—a little better service.” That about says it all.
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