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Qantas introduces the Dreamliner and non-stop flights to London

What does this mean for air travel? Prepare for a journey that is lighter, smoother and greener.

Cruise control: Captain Kent of the Emerald Princess

We caught up with Princess Cruises’ Captain William Kent to talk life on deck, sailing the Red Sea and how to spend 24 hours in Venice.

Midnight in Melbourne style

After-dark glamour calls for monochrome elegance with accents of red and the glimmer of bling. Martinis await.

Recipes by David Thompson

Thai food maestro David Thompson returns to the Sydney restaurant scene with the opening of Long Chim, a standard-bearer for Thailand’s robust street food. Fiery som dtum is just the beginning.

Reader dinner: Quay, Sydney

Join us at Quay for a specially designed dinner by Peter Gilmore to celebrate the launch of the new Gourmet Traveller cookbook.

GT's party hamper

We’ve partnered again with our friends at Snowgoose to bring you the ultimate party hamper. With each item selected by the Gourmet Traveller team, it’s all killer and no filler.

Aerin Lauder’s Morocco

Meet Aerin Lauder; creative director, lifestyle mogul, mother and global traveller. Here she shares her musings on Morocco, the exotic catalyst for her latest collection.

A hotel dedicated to gin is opening in London

A modern-day gin palace, The Distillery, is set to open in the middle of London’s Portobello Market this year.

Hot Hotels: Jawai Peranakan Mansion

Jawai Peranakan Mansion bedroom

Jawai Peranakan Mansion bedroom

Shophouses and mansions in Penang are restored as UNESCO heritage award winning hotels.

Former Sydney banker turned international hotelier Chris Ong has opened his sixth hotel, Jawi Peranakan Mansion, in Penang's heritage showpiece, George Town. Its 12 suites evoke the Anglo-Indian mansion it once was.

"It's an unusual property in Penang because no one has restored an Indian Muslim property to its original state," says Ong. "Culturally speaking, Jawi Peranakan style is newly identified and quite distinct. It's both Anglo-Indian and Mughal."

Ong opened his first property in 2004, the celebrated Galle Fort Hotel in Sri Lanka.

The villa restoration earned him and co-owner Karl Steinberg a heritage award for what UNESCO judges called "a masterpiece of cultural heritage and conservation".

Hotels may be Ong's business, but conserving heritage architecture is what drives him. He traces his inspiration and finances to Australia, where he worked for 20 years as a banker. "Back in the '70s and '80s I watched suburbs like Paddington and Fitzroy being renovated. Every second person seemed to be doing up a house, and I did it, too."

Rooftop pool at Jawi Peranakan Mansion.

In Penang, meanwhile, 150-year-old terraces of traditional shophouses were being cleared to make way for apartments. It was at Galle Fort that Ong realised the plight of his hometown's heritage and, in 2007, he returned to begin buying houses "no one else wanted to touch".

Among them was Seven Terraces, a row of 19th-century shophouses previously owned by Anglo-Chinese traders. He had it configured as an 18-suite retreat and appointed it with his collection of museum-quality Peranakan antiques.

Ong now has four properties under a new brand, George Town Heritage and Hotels.

He says many locals still prefer living in modern apartments, but a 2008 UNESCO World Heritage listing of George Town has meant old buildings are increasingly being repurposed as cafés, restaurants and hotels.

"I want to put the George Town shophouse on people's bucket lists," says Ong. "I want it to be regarded in the same way as the Japanese ryokan, the Tuscan farmhouse and the Balinese villa."

Jawi Peranakan Mansion, 153, Jalan Hutton, George Town, Penang,

Rooms from $146, 153 Jalan Hutton, George Town,
Rooms from $146, 153 Jalan Hutton, George Town,
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

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things to do this autumn

Whether it's foraging for wild mushrooms in a picturesque Victorian forest or watching a film by moonlight in Darwin, we've got you covered with 20 exciting autumn experiences from around Australia.

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