It was a toss-up whether to feature on the cover of this, our third birthday edition, Latin pop queen Gloria Estefan against a dreamy Miami backdrop – or the Nepalese gent casually smoking a cigarette in his little shop, who smiled for me while in Kathmandu this summer.

I was buying Gloria’s music in my teens, when records were only made of vinyl and came in two sizes. Little did I know back then that such a global music icon would speak to me, decades later, about her incredible life story. She may have won seven Grammys and sold more than 100 million albums, but Gloria’s story is also one of struggle, pain, tears, and, most of all, overcoming the seemingly impossible – which in her case was breaking her back in a terrible accident 25 years ago.

The Cultured Traveller – Third Anniversary Edition, October-November 2017
 - Editor’s Letter Third Anniversary Edition Oct-Nov 2017

Kathmandu was one of the most demanding yet rewarding press trips I’ve experienced to date. Must-see sights, eateries and venues were not delivered on a platter as they so often are. On the contrary, a considerable amount of research, time and genuine graft went into this issue’s City Focus article, which necessitated me spending a week in the capital of Nepal, quite literally scraping away layers of dirt to reveal the city’s beautiful underbelly.

Since we’re not Vanity Fair or Rolling Stone, Gloria got bumped from the cover by the gentleman you see now. But their stories send the same message – that where there’s a will there’s a way. Gloria miraculously walked and performed again after her paralysing accident. The Nepalese shopkeeper somehow survived the devastating Gorkha earthquake of two years ago and lived to smile for another annoying tourist.

The Cultured Traveller – Third Anniversary Edition, October-November 2017
 - Editor’s Letter Third Anniversary Edition Oct-Nov 2017

In 2014 The Cultured Traveller was but an idea I dreamt up on a small beach in Cyprus. Somewhat bored by glossy holiday magazines full of irrelevant advertising and paid editorial, I was sure I could create something more slick, light-hearted and easy to absorb, without bombarding readers with clothing and jewellery ads in a travel publication.

Three years later here we are – going strong and every day getting a little better at what we do. I thank all of you, our readers, for the opportunity to meet the Gloria Estefans and Nepalese shopkeepers of this incredible planet we live on, and hope that you continue to enjoy reading The Cultured Traveller as much as we enjoy working on delivering it to you. 


Nicholas Chrisostomou
Editor-in-Chief

Editor's Letter - The Imperial in Torquay

When I was young my parents used to take my sister and I to The Imperial in Torquay, which, during the Victorian seaside resort’s heyday, was one of Devon’s most glamorous hotels, perched on a cliff-top on the outskirts of the town since 1866.

Despite being so young, to this day I recall the chandeliers, marble floors, cornicing and formal gardens with a sense of romance. Whilst I wonder how The Imperial looks now, in my mind it will always be grand, imposing and timeless. I used to love the time we spent at The Imperial, even though we usually all stayed in the same bedroom and apart from breakfasts we rarely dined in the hotel.

I’m often asked my favourite places to stay around the world, or what prompts the inclusion of a property in our Rest Your Head section. In the fast moving 21st century hospitality industry, with new hotels opening every week, it’s hard to pinpoint why a hotel is “hot” or worthy of mention in The Cultured Traveller, apart from ticking the usual boxes of course.

Now I think about it, a hotel’s longevity and whether it will stand the test of time is a sure factor. As a child The Imperial obviously had a profound effect on me because I still remember it today. Back then it made me imagine how I’d like to travel and live as an adult, if I had the means, of course.

Today there are hotels I adore because they trigger a visceral response and always make me long to return. They range from a homely four-room hotel on the South coast of Sri Lanka, to a slick boutique property in the upscale downtown heart of Beirut. Both I like immensely for completely different reasons but are equally memorable. For those who live for our next trips (I include myself in this group), and dream of places before we’ve ever been there, we try to showcase in TCT hotels that may – like The Imperial did for me – create lasting memories rather than passing fancies.

There are at least four Rest Your Head hotels I’m rather keen to experience, Dawn Gibson’s diary of her visit to the seaport city of Rotterdam makes me want to rush to the Netherlands and investigate for myself, and Ashlee Starratt’s dreamy account of her time in UAE’s Empty Quarter sounds like the perfect place to lose myself. I hope that the properties and destinations featured in this issue will spark initial excitement, and some, like my visit to charismatic Cartagena, will mark the beginning of a new romance.

Nicholas Chrisostomou
 Editor-in-Chief