In the very first issue of AFAR, we published an essay by the legendary travel writer Tim Cahill about the kindness of strangers—and karmic debt. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to. It details hospitality in its purest form.

In the intervening years since that issue came out, the business of hospitality has changed dramatically. In 2009, the prevailing wisdom for hotels was to keep guests comfortably tucked inside their rooms. Today, in response to the experiential travel movement, hotels are vigorously investing in their communal spaces and trying to get travelers out and about in their destinations. And of course, the hotel industry has been rocked by the popularity of Airbnb and other homesharing services. In cities around the world, many formal white tablecloth restaurants have been replaced by more casual spots that exude warmth and an unpretentious vibe.

Getaway cabins are within a 2-hour drive of Boston, NYC, and D.C., with another city coming soon.
When our editors started talking about an issue devoted to modern hospitality, I kept a list of words next to me for reference. The new hospitality isn’t stuffy. It isn’t snobby or intimidating. It’s real. It’s nice. It’s fun. It’s inclusive. Ultimately, every traveler wants to feel that inimitable sense of being welcomed anywhere in the world. For how you can help that along, don’t miss the interview with author and political commentator Sally Kohn, who’s just published a book titled The Opposite of Hate.

Today, travelers have more options than ever when deciding where to stay. Sometimes we seek out luxurious hotels where our every need is anticipated. (Read our portfolio of the world’s dreamiest new and renovated hotels.) Sometimes we want an intimate overnight where we can let ourselves sink into a place (such as SingleThread in Healdsburg, California, which is run by a Michelin-starred chef and a farmer). And sometimes what we really need is a tiny cabin in the woods (like the one pictured above, a Getaway cabin outside of Boston).

But hospitality is about more than picking a hotel. It is fundamental to how we humans treat one another. In “New Home, New Hope,” contributing writer Chris Colin travels to Sardinia to examine how hospitality lies at the heart of one of the biggest issues of our time: the largest refugee movement in history.

And with that, I invite you to settle into our hospitality issue. You are welcome here.

>>Next: Hotel Experts Share Their Secrets for Making Anyone Feel Welcome