The Guide has a new editor, only the fourth in nearly 40 years. Astella Saw, who has been working for the past four years as a writer, is taking over from Desmond Balmer. Desmond, former travel editor of the Observer, has earned his retirement after editing the Guide with distinction for more than a decade.
Astella has worked for Penguin and the BBC in London, and for Seven Stories Press in New York. She recently rewrote the 2015 edition of the DK Eyewitness Top 10 Paris guide book. She says that one of the things she likes about staying in hotels is ‘a lavish tea’.
The editor plays a crucial role in writing, editing, and selecting hotels. But behind the editor there is a dedicated team of writers, and sub-editors who have been working together for many years. A small business such as the GHG is totally dependent on their skills.
It is thanks to Alison Wormleighton, our managing editor, that the Guide comes out on time and is so carefully edited. Niki Davies is responsible for selecting and editing the Guide’s shortlist, and also personally replies to the thousands of letters and emails that we receive each year.
Lizzy Laczynska, our designer, creates order out of chaos, and cheerfully deals with our many idiosyncracies. Rose Shepherd and Emma Grundy-Haigh write the Guide’s entries with wit and style. Daphne Trotter is an eagle-eyed sub-editor, who spots the most arcane errors. Hugh Allan, our production editor, supervises the printing of the Guide, and is one of the reasons why it looks so polished.
Vince Nacey, our computer man, has designed our databases without which the business could not work. Andy Green of HeadChannel and his team of web developers are responsible for creating and operating the Guide’s impressive website.
Finally our new chief executive, Richard Fraiman, is changing what has essentially been a Mom and Pop small business into a professional publishing company.
We live in a fast-changing multi-media world. But whatever the future holds, the Guide is well placed to handle it.