List of top 100 travel agents : A booklet 2015


Tablo reader up chevron

List of top travel agents - A booklet (2015)

In the hands of an expert, a simple vacation can become a life-changing journey: an unforgettable adventure; a soul-restoring retreat; an education unmatched in any classroom. For our 12th annual look at the best advisers in the business, we asked these travel pros to share their latest discoveries and insider tips from around the world. Wherever your travels take you—from cruising in Antarctica to a walking safari in Zambia—we have the agent for you.

A-List • Super-agents -

Meet the travel industry’s power brokers: a dozen experts with unparalleled experience and a peerless ability to discern what you want from your next trip.

her interest in anthropology. Lindblad works closely with experts on the ground, piecing together complex, highly personalized itineraries that may include historian-led walking tours, shopping in souks, and Masai-guided safaris. “When I plan a trip, I consider the whole story—the raison d’être for going somewhere—as I develop each individual day,” Lindblad explains.

Trend watch An increasing

a private calligraphy lesson. Trend watch Rubin predicts growth in travel to Hangzhou thanks to its preserved cultural heritage, natural beauty, and stellar Aman and Four Seasons properties.

Contact Imperial Tours, Beijing; 888/888-1970; guy@imperialtours. net. can discuss about the problems you faced by calling on Thomas Cook contact number

Anne Morgan


Priscilla Alexander

Known for Her ability to expertly pair clients with one of her hundreds of employees, but she does more than manage. Alexander loves talking to travelers—both long-standing and potential clients—about the details of their trips. She’s also constantly on the road, often taking detours from business trips to visit up-and-coming destinations. After a recent visit to Argentina, she spent three days in Rio de Janeiro to check in on the pre-Olympics progress; on her way back from an Amazon cruise, she stopped in Panama City. “It’s important to be an active participant in the industry you’re promoting,” she says. “Wanderlust has never left me.”

Trend watch “Everything old is new again,” Alexander says. Europe bookings are the strongest she has seen in years, and not only to Italy and other popular Western European countries: Eastern Europe—especially Croatia, Montenegro, and Hungary—are resurgent among luxury travelers.

Contact Protravel International, New York City; 212/651-2101;

Maita Barrenechea

Known for Her local expertise and hands-on approach to travel management throughout Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. “I believe it takes discernment as much as contacts,” Barrenechea says. “I can open doors, but more importantly, I understand what door to open for every traveler.” Barrenechea has done more than follow regional travel trends in her 29-year career, she has shaped them—through supporting hotel and estancia openings, promoting responsible travel, and working with organizations that preserve cultural treasures.

Trend watch Uruguay continues to grow in popularity. Travelers are planning trips to hotels, such as Playa Vik and Bahia Vik in José Ignacio, more than a year out. The coastal area of Carmelo, known for its vineyards and polo fields, is also getting more attention, with new boutique inns such as Finca y Granja Narbona and Posada Campotinto.

Contact Maí10, Buenos Aires; 54-11/6760-4060; maita@mai10.

Jack S. Ezon

Known for Ezon is adept at planning bespoke trips, but has made his name by organizing dozens of global celebrations each year. His little black book of event contacts, from the best florists in Rome to choice wedding photographers in the South of France, gives him his competitive edge, as does a team of dedicated party planners that includes a romance concierge for honeymoons and anniversaries. Ezon is also an expert on Gen-Y and Gen-X vacationers, a fast-​ growing segment of the travel market. Though these younger travelers traditionally like to be heavily involved in trip planning, he notes a growing number are handing the reins entirely over to his team: “Even the Millennials are burned out on the DIY model.” Trend watch Clients are willing to splurge when access is a concern, Ezon notes, but they’re still looking for good values, especially during the shoulder season. “They have no qualms pushing for the best price they can get.”

Contact Ovation Vacations, New York City; 212/329-7267; jezon@

Lisa Lindblad

Known for Bringing an intellectual approach to travel planning, attributed sometimes to

number of single travelers, both male and female, are planning entire journeys around their interests and passions. Lindblad just arranged a monthlong, golf-focused trip to New Zealand for a male client, and a global food adventure for a woman on a three-month sabbatical.

Contact Lisa Lindblad Travel Design, New York City; 212/876-2554;

Mary Ann Ramsey

Known for A deep commitment to extensive on-the-ground research. Ramsey travels to up-and-coming and in-demand destinations throughout the year. In each place, she makes a point of staying in multiple hotels, taking numerous guided tours, and experiencing excursions from several operators to find options that best match the interests and personalities of her clients. She also documents their long-term dream trips (she calls herself “the travel equivalent of a financial planner”) and reports back on destinations that make their bucket lists.

Trend watch Ramsey thinks that wildlife-focused expedition cruising is still in its infancy and will gather even more interest in the coming years.

Contact Betty Maclean Travel, Naples, Fla.; 239/513-0333; maryann@bettymacleantravel. com.

Guy Rubin

Known for Being one of the most sought-after tour operators in China for luxury travel, a field that has changed dramatically in the 16 years that he’s been in the industry. Rubin exhaustively researches new openings—the Banyan Tree Shanghai; the Mandarin Orientals in Guangzhou and Shanghai—and cultivates local contacts that lead to insider experiences: a helicopter ride from Beijing to the Great Wall, instruction in the game of weiqi, or

Known for Bringing the right people together when they travel. Scully introduces her clients to artists, chefs, historians, and architects (depending on their interests) to deepen the impact of each journey. “You have to design a trip based on who the client is, not simply the destination.” She is also mindful of places that offer great value, acknowledging that even the most affluent travelers appreciate this.

Trend watch More travelers are looking for villa rentals in Europe, especially in France. “There are incredible properties in wine regions that are still close to major cities,” Scully says. “Having a private house is also an ideal setup for families.”

Contact McCabe World Travel, McLean, Va.; 703/762-5055; anne@

Pallavi Shah

Known for Believing that a vacation begins the moment you start planning it. Shah brings travelers into the trip-development process to make them feel invested in the experience and to give them final approval of every last detail. Once her clients depart, she checks in on them personally and through ground operators to make sure each hotel, tour, and restaurant is to their liking.

Trend watch In India, where Shah maintains a second residence, she’s noticed a growing number of requests for “journeys that touch the soul,” as she puts it. That could mean attending the World Sufi Spirit Festival, in Jodhpur, or indulging in ancient ayurvedic treatments at a mountainside wellness resort.

Contact Our Personal Guest, New York City; 646/284-2454; opgny@

★ New to list✓ T+L’s travel advisory board

c o v e r : b e r n a r d to u i l l o n /c o u r t e s y o f m o n t e v e r d i . t h i s pa g e : c o u r t e s y o f m o n a c i d e l l e t e r r e n e r e

Jim Strong

& Nancy Strong

Known for Around-the-clock availability, discerning taste, and attention to detail—honed from the close industry contacts that both mother and son have cultivated, as well as their own extensive experience on the road. Everything they book has been thoroughly vetted: Jim spends nearly half the year previewing hotels, yachts, and tours worldwide. They have also created a multimedia brand around Jim’s Craving for Travel books. An off-­Broadway play inspired by the series is in the works.

Trend watch The Strongs are seeing a renewed interest in U.S.-based travel among clients who have time constraints or don’t want to deal with international flights. Napa Valley, in particular, is reemerging as the destination of choice for people who want to stay a little closer to home.

Contact Strong Travel Services, Dallas; 214/361-0027; jim@, nstrong@

Valerie Ann Wilson

Known for Being a passionate and outspoken force within the industry, thanks to her 30-plus years of experience. She sits on half a dozen travel advisory boards and has published two books. Her top-notch agency (now under the leadership of Wilson and her daughters, Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg and Kimberly Wilson Wetty, also on the A-List) keeps hiring and growing its client base. She’s particularly excited to be recruiting a new generation of agents: “We seek out young people who have a passion for travel and customer service,” she says. “It’s an opportunity for us to mentor and get them involved in a terrific, long-lasting career.”

Trend watch Once-in-a-lifetime trips keep pushing geographic and experiential boundaries. Right now Wilson’s agency is working on a South Pole exploration, a handful of around-the-world trips by private jet, and a 21-day itinerary that hits every major safari country in Africa.

Contact Valerie Wilson Travel, New York City; 212/532-3400;

Joel A. Zack

Known for An in-depth understanding of his areas of expertise, which include Portugal, Morocco, South Africa, Spain, and Turkey, and for keeping a close watch on the evolving mindset and expectations of American travelers. His network of friends and connections has led to a growing roster of special experiences—kicking around a soccer ball with kids in a small South African township; an after-hours tour of the Alhambra—that are not easily matched.

Trend watch Zack is seeing more travelers heading to Portugal for its food and wine. “The best new restaurant is Bel Canto, in Lisbon. We have arranged private dinners with the chef, José Avillez.”

Contact Heritage Tours Private Travel, New York City; 800/378-4555;

Central Europe

Nathalie Nagy

Insider clout A part-time resident of Budapest, Nagy travels frequently throughout the region. In Vienna, she can coordinate private visits to the heritage brand Lobmeyr’s glass boutique and Werkstatt (workshop), where artisans handcraft the city’s iconic etched and painted glasswork.

Years as agent 17. Other specialty Mexico.

Contact Protravel International, New York City; 212/409-9562;


Anne Morgan


See Super-Agents.

super-agents • europe • A-List

The garden at Monaci delle Terre Nere, in eastern Sicily (see Andrea Sertoli).

Jim Strong

& Nancy Strong

See Super-Agents.


Murielle Blanchard

Discovery Blanchard, a French native, recently found an old-​ fashioned toy store, Miniatures Bois, in the lovely Burgundian village of Bonnay. Owners and artists Maryse and Joël Dedianne create tiny music boxes, dollhouse furniture, and farm animals out of delicately carved wood.

Years as agent 30. Other specialty Spain.

Contact Black Pearl Luxury Services, Salt Lake City; 801/483-6533; murielle@

A-List • europe

Bob Preston

New favorite The Auberge du Jeu de Paume, just 20 minutes from Charles de Gaulle International Airport, backs onto the stunning Château de Chantilly, one of France’s most beautiful properties. The 92-room resort has equestrian programs; one of its restaurants, La Table du Connétable, was awarded a Michelin star; and its spa has pampering wine-based treatments.

Years as agent 7. Other specialty Italy.

Contact EuroPanache, Paris; 888/600-6777; bob.preston@

Yaron Yarimi

Excited about Paris’s Puces de St.-Ouen flea market, now home to Philippe Starck’s Ma Cocotte, a trendy cafeteria-style restaurant. The large dining room overlooks an open kitchen where classic Parisian dishes are prepared; Yarimi encourages clients to head to the terraces beside the second-floor cocktail lounge for a view of the shoppers below.

Years as agent 25. Other specialty Italy.

Contact Frosch, New York City; 212/784-0391; yaron.yarimi@


Virginia Giordano

New favorite Berlin’s 80-room Das Stue hotel, housed in the circa-1930’s former Danish Embassy. Its lobby and common spaces—by turns playful and austere—were decorated by Spanish interior designer Patricia Urquiola. Don’t miss Stue Bar, where tapas and cocktails are served in grand rooms that face the Tiergarten, Berlin’s answer to Central Park.

Years as agent 19.

Contact Culture Trip, Berlin; 49-30/305-3890; info@

Elisabeth Landry

Top tip It is a German tradition to meet friends for coffee and cake in the afternoon. In Munich, you’ll find the best pastries and a lively atmosphere at Kaffee Richard and

Forest torte,” Landry says.

Years as agent 34. Other specialty Italy.

Contact Century Travel, Atlanta; 404/324-4013; elisabeth@


Mina Agnos

Excited about The Funky Gourmet restaurant, in Athens, which offers creative, modern takes on Greek classics (lamb youvetsi; horiatiki salad). Dishes are beautifully presented and served with high-design utensils. Wine pairings often include Greek bottles.

Years as agent 12.

Other specialties Italy and Egypt.

Contact Travelive, Bloomfield, N.J.; 888/377-5483; mina@

Kelly Shea

New favorite The Amanzoe, Amanresorts’ first property in Greece. Surrounded by olive groves on the Peloponnese, the 38 freestanding pavilion rooms have private pools and Aegean Sea views. “The hotel is also close to many of the area’s key archaeological sites—Epidaurus, Mycenae, and ancient Corinth, among others,” Shea says.

Years as agent 26. Other specialty Turkey.

Contact Kelly Shea Travels, Carmel, Ind.; 317/805-5770;

Christos Stergiou

Special booking A look at Greek culture, past and present, that included private tours of ancient sites and lesser-known museums, gallery-hopping with a Greek art expert, a traditional Cretan dinner in the Old Town of Rethymnon, and a discussion of the origins of the Greek fiscal crisis over dinner with Stergiou himself, a Stanford-​trained financial expert.

Years as agent 9.

Other specialties Turkey and Italy.

Contact TrueGreece, Maroussi, Greece; 800/817-7098; christos@

property in Oia, Santorini. Nine suites (and 14 more on the way) have white Cycladic-style interiors and polished-concrete pools with cliffside Mediterranean views.

Years as agent 10. Other specialty Turkey.

Contact Hellenic Holidays, New York City; 212/944-8288;


Carol Cornell

Insider clout With more than 40 trips to Ireland under her belt, Cornell knows how to put amateur genealogists and ancestor-seekers in touch with historians, church members who keep grave records, and pub owners whose establishments have historic family ties. “I also set up dinners with locals, so travelers can couple discoveries from the past with an understanding of Ireland’s present,” Cornell says.

Years as agent 30. Other specialty Italy.

Contact Covington Travel, Fort Wayne, Ind.; 260/432-5995;


Filippo Curinga

Special booking Curinga arranged a dinner—accompanied by a live orchestra—at the feet of Michelangelo’s David in the Accademia Gallery in Florence, which was opened after-hours exclusively for his clients.

Years as agent 17.

Contact IDI Travel, Venice; 39-041/593-6299; filippo@

Joyce Falcone

Top tip Falcone, cofounder of a Slow Food chapter in her hometown of Aspen, tells Italy-bound clients to look for the chiocciola (snail) emblem that Slow Food restaurants often place on their doors or entryways to signify their commitment to regional produce and recipes.

Years as agent 17. Other specialty Sicily.

Contact Joyce Falcone—The Italian Concierge, Aspen, Colo.; 970/544-3799; info@

airlift a grand piano via helicopter from Naples to the lawn of the J.K. Place Capri hotel. The payoff: a surprise performance by one of the leading sopranos from Venice’s Teatro La Fenice. The show culminated in a fireworks display over the Bay of Marina Grande.

Years as agent 16.

Contact Bellini Travel, London; 44-20/7602-7602; emily@

Andrea Grisdale

New favorite Grisdale loves the Palazzo Victoria, in Verona—the sister hotel to Il Salviatino, in Fiesole—for its location (a two-minute walk to Juliet’s balcony), service, and architecture. The hotel was built over the archaeological remains of a 2,000-year-old Roman villa, and cleverly combines original parquet floors and frescoes with sleek contemporary touches (flat-screen televisions; heated towel racks).

Years as agent 23.

Contact IC Bellagio, Bellagio, Italy; 39-031/952-059; andrea@

Uri Harash

Excited about A resident of Rome, Harash likes the city’s new Gran Meliá hotel for the different perspective it offers travelers. Not only does it have an outdoor pool (rare in Rome), but it’s set in Gianicolo, “a lesser-known, but locally loved neighborhood,” he says. While in the area, don’t miss the fresh seafood at Assunta Madre.

Years as agent 15.

Contact Perfetto Traveler, Rome; 39-392/129-6543;

Deborah Hyte

Discovery The Castello di Ama in Tuscany, located in the Chianti Hills. The family-owned property has a private gallery, so you can sip their excellent Sangiovese while checking out the rotating exhibitions of works by contemporary artists.

Years as agent 33.

Other specialty Western Europe.

Contact Altour International, Los Angeles; 888/495-0066; deborah.

Kaffee Glockenspiel, both located near New Town Hall. Forget about calories and “order the Black

Petros Zissimos

New favorite Alta Mare by Andronis, an affordable boutique

Emily FitzRoyColleen Lamont

Special booking For a client’sInsider clout Lamont introduces

Comment Log in or Join Tablo to comment on this chapter...

75th birthday, FitzRoy arranged to clients to an enologist in Tuscany

New to listT+L’s travel advisory board

who will blend wines to their specifications, create bottles with personalized labels, and send cases back home. While at the vineyard, travelers may also experience a traditional Tuscan lunch with wine pairings.

Years as agent 34.

Other specialty Small-ship cruises.

Contact Journeys Peak Travel, Portland, Ore.; 866/297-1058;

Judy Nussbaum

New favorite The villa and hotel complex of Monteverdi, in the village of Castiglioncello del Trinoro in Tuscany. Its range of options, from stylish hotel rooms to a restored six-bedroom house, can comfortably accommodate both couples and families.

Years as agent 32.

Other specialties France and cruises.

Contact Unique Travel of Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Fla.; 561/ 495-5775;

Andrea Sertoli

Discovery The eight-room Monaci delle Terre Nere, in Sicily, which sits on the slopes of the active Mount Etna volcano. The owner has enormous respect for the environment, and it shows: the lush estate retains a rustic sense of place and is partly fueled by solar energy.

Years as agent 18. Other specialty Croatia.

Contact Select Italy, Chicago; 800/877-1755; andrea@selectitaly. com.

Marjorie Shaw

Special booking When an American wanted to make contact with her long-lost relatives in the Abruzzo region southeast of Rome, Shaw managed to locate the family and sent her client with a driver and translator. The American left with not only a deeper connection to her ancestors but also a secret recipe for meat loaf that had been passed down for generations.

Years as agent 24.

Other specialty Honeymoons.

Contact Marjorie Shaw’s Insider’s Italy, Bronxville, N.Y.; 914/470-1612;


Greg Tepper

Excited about Plyos, a charming rural town five hours north of Moscow where dachas, or summer villas, dot the rolling countryside. American travelers are just discovering this remote gem. “The best way to explore the area is on a sleigh ride in the winter or a carriage ride along the river in the summer,” Tepper advises.

Years as agent 19.

Other specialty Eastern Europe.

Contact Exeter International, Tampa, Fla.; 813/251-5355;


Carol Arklind

Top tip If you can’t get a reservation at Noma, try Bror, which was opened in April by two of Noma’s former sous-chefs. The 46-seat restaurant is already garnering stellar reviews for its Northern European–inspired comfort foods, such as salted pollock, a rich white fish, served with fennel.

Years as agent 24.

Other specialty United Kingdom.

Contact Cadence, La Jolla, Calif.; 925/308-7048; arktravel@

Tor Jensen

Special booking Jensen recently planned a four-man, three-week expedition across Greenland on dogsleds. “There were no stops other than tented overnights on the ice cap,” he says of the once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Years as agent 20.

Other specialty Southeast Asia.

Contact Jensen World Travel, Wilmette, Ill.; 800/853-6736;


Claire Schoeder

Special booking Schoeder threw an over-the-top party for a family staying in a private castle in Inverness. The entire clan was fitted with traditional Highland dress for a day that included whisky tastings, falconry, bagpipe lessons, and a formal dinner with Scottish dancing on the castle lawn. The next morning a piper woke everyone for breakfast.

Years as agent 21.

Other specialty England.

Contact Century Travel, Atlanta; 404/324-4011; claire@centurytvl. com.


Virginia Irurita

Insider clout Madrid-based Irurita has strong ties to local chefs. For one food lover, she arranged a day of mushroom foraging in Daroca de Rioja, in northern Spain, with chef Ignacio Echapresto of the Michelin-starred Venta Moncalvillo, followed by a private cooking class in Echapresto’s kitchen.

Years as agent 15.

Other specialty Food and wine.

Contact Made for Spain, Madrid; 34/91-448-7275; virginia@

Judith Wolf

Excited about The Routes of Sefarad, a network of 21 cities that highlights the history of the Jews who lived in Spain before the Inquisition. The organization is also an excellent resource for finding specialized guides and ancient synagogues, and for travelers looking to trace their ancestral roots.

Years as agent 28.

Other specialties Turkey and Italy.

Contact Frosch Travel, Deerfield, Ill.; 847/948-5300; judith.wolf@

Spain and Portugal

Joel A. Zack

See Super-Agents.


Ilene Koenig

New favorite Adventure travelers shouldn’t miss the Titlis Cliff Walk near Engelberg, the highest suspension bridge in Europe. It’s 10,000 feet above sea level, 330 feet long, and only five feet wide—and it hovers 1,500 feet in the air above a glacier.

Years as agent 28. Other specialty Skiing.

Contact Let’s Travel (a division of Plaza Travel), Santa Monica, Calif.; 310/451-5805, ext. 1258; ilene@

europe • A-List


Frederick Poe

Excited about The formerly Armenian city of Ani, close to Turkey’s eastern border, for its windswept countryside and incredible medieval ruins that were only recently opened to the public.

Years as agent 53.

Other specialty Eastern Europe.

Contact Poe Travel, Little Rock, Ark.; 800/727-1960; fpoe@

United Kingdom

Ellen LeCompte

Special booking LeCompte, who has a cottage in the Cotswolds, loves to give clients a sense of local British traditions by arranging for them to attend private events— jousting matches; horse-racing trials; car rallies—at historic estates in the English countryside.

Years as agent 22. Other specialty Africa.

Contact Brownell Travel, Richmond, Va.; 804/353-0075, ext. 3;

Linda M. Raymer

Excited about The Jewish Museum London in Camden, which reopened a few years ago after a $15 million renovation. It traces the Jewish community in Britain back to the time of William the Conqueror.

Years as agent 30.

Other specialties Switzerland and Napa Valley.

Contact Travelink, American Express Travel, Nashville; 615/277-5146; linda.raymer@

Susie Worthy

Insider clout If you want access, Worthy delivers—and then some. After her clients attended a private dinner party at Buckingham Palace, she rented them a boat on the Thames for a front-row seat at the Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

Years as agent 36. Other specialty Paris.

Contact NoteWorthy, London; 44-20/3051-5165; susie@noteworthy.

A-List • u.s. & canada

A Historic Corner King room at the Wythe Hotel, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (see Amy Glass).

Contact Frosch, San Mateo, Calif.; 650/373-4425;

Napa Valley, california

Michelle Murré

grits and sausage.

Years as agent 19.

Other specialty Switzerland.

Contact Frosch Travel, New York City; 212/784-0265; linda.kibak@

New York city

Amy Glass

Top tip So many travelers limit themselves to Manhattan, but Brooklyn should be a required stop. To get a taste of the borough’s diversity, Glass suggests heading to Tanoreen, in Bay Ridge, known for its authentic Palestinian dishes. If you want to overnight in Brooklyn, opt for a room in the new 70-room Wythe Hotel, in Williamsburg.

Years as agent 35.

Other specialty Costa Rica.

Contact Protravel International, New York City; 212/409-9540;

Western U.S.

Harold C. Jenkins

Excited about The little-known town of Buffalo, Wyoming, tucked into the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains. Stay at the Occidental Hotel, steeped in Old West history. Past guests include Teddy Roosevelt and Calamity Jane, and the 17 rooms have names like Outlaw and Prairie Cowboy. In the


Carolyne Brandon

Excited about The Ulupalakua Vineyards, where rows of grapes overlook the Pacific from Maui’s mountains. A handful of the estate’s specialty wines, such as the sparkling Hula O Maui, are made with local pineapples.

Years as agent 31. Other specialty Cruises.

Contact Altour American Express Travel, Newport Beach, Calif.; 650/248-2344; carolyne.brandon@

Darlene Mulkewich

Top tip On the Big Island, you can cruise on Fair Wind’s Hula Kai luxury catamaran to a lovely spot for snorkeling and scuba diving.

They’ll even lend you a stand-up paddleboard for the afternoon.

Years as agent 26. Other specialty Alaska.

Contact Altour American Express Travel, Oak Brook, Ill.; 800/535-4458, ext. 11; darlene.mulkewich@

Edward Phillips

Discovery Musician Henry Kapono plays at Duke’s restaurant in Waikiki on most Sunday evenings. “It’s a scene right out of a Jimmy Buffett song: there’s tropical music, fresh seafood, and fruity cocktails—and a global crowd dancing to Kapono’s island-inspired rhythms with a rock-and-roll twist,” Phillips says.

Years as agent 23. Other specialty Spain.

Insider clout Murré likes to combine Napa Valley’s food and wine experiences with its gorgeous natural surroundings by sending clients to the Jaffe Estate, a winery that is closed to the public but accessible to her through personal connections. Travelers can sample the estate’s extraordinary Cabernets, see the professional-grade telescope in owner Gary Jaffe’s private observatory, and enjoy a private dinner with wine pairings under the stars.

Years as agent 9. Other specialty Italy.

Contact Azurine, San Francisco; 415/796-3869; michelle@

New Orleans

Linda Kibak

New favorite The Hotel Mazarin, in the heart of the French Quarter, where 102 rooms overlook either the neighborhood’s historic buildings or a quiet European-style interior courtyard. The complimentary breakfast includes Southern staples such as

Occidental Saloon, 23 bullet holes pepper the walls and ceiling—the bartender has the whole story.

Years as agent 25. Other specialty Skiing.

Contact Corporate Vacations American Express, Lake Forest, Ill.; 615/714-9917; harold.jenkins@

Deborah Trevino

Special booking Trevino reserved a helicopter to drop a pair of adventure enthusiasts at the top of a remote ski run at Alyeska Resort, in Alaska. At the bottom of the slopes, a dogsled waited to take them to a romantic lunch in the mountains; with champagne on hand to celebrate, the client proposed to his girlfriend.

Years as agent 20.

Other specialty Australia.

Contact Hobson Travel, Naperville, Ill.; 630/983-8000;

m at t h e w w i l l i a m s/c o u r t e s y o f w y t h e h o t e l

New to listT+L’s travel advisory board

mexico & central & south america • A-List

Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay

Maita Barrenechea

See Super-Agents.

Argentina and Chile

Jordan Harvey

Insider clout Harvey, who once lived on a Patagonian dairy farm, has relationships with many family-owned haciendas and vineyards that aren’t typically open to the public. At the Julio Bouchon winery, in Chile’s Maule Valley, travelers can dine with the family and ride horses through the 914-acre property.

Years as agent 4. Other specialty Peru.

Contact Knowmad Adventures, Minneapolis; 612/877-1735; jordan@


Martin Frankenberg

New favorite The Botanique Hotel & Spa, the first truly sophisticated hotel in the mountains outside of São Paulo. The six-suite, 11-villa property is not only architecturally striking and eco-conscious, it also showcases the area’s natural and cultural draws: Brazilian music plays in common areas; the restaurant’s chef forages for fresh fruits and vegetables; and along with pillow, wine, and cigar menus, the hotel offers a selection of waters curated by a local geologist.

Years as agent 12.

Other specialty Villa rentals.

Contact Matuete, São Paulo, Brazil; 866/709-5952; martin@

Paul Irvine

Insider clout To tap in to the emerging visual-arts scene in Rio, Irvine turns to internationally renowned artist Marcos Chaves, a born-and-bred Carioca and current resident of the bohemian Santa Teresa neighborhood, to lead tours of his favorite places, including galleries, friends’ studios, and private homes.

Years as agent 10.

Other specialty Argentina.

Contact Dehouche, Rio de Janeiro; 800/690-6899; paul.irvine@


Silja Torborg

New favorite The Refugia hotel, with 12 ocean-facing rooms, on the Chiloé archipelago off central Chile. The architecture is smart and sustainable, and includes high-design elements—fireplaces, furnishings, art—by local artisans. A new airport has made the island more accessible.

Years as agent 17.

Other specialty Food and wine.

Contact Trails of Chile, Puerto Varas, Chile; 56-65/566-671; silja@


Tatiana Johnston

Excited about The rehabilitation of Ronda Street (also called Calle Morales), a lovely colonial thoroughfare in Quito. After much investment, the once-down-on-its-luck Old Town artery is lined with stylish boutiques and restaurants as well as traditional sweetshops, hardware stores, and local markets.

Years as agent 17. Other specialty Peru.

Contact Big Five Tours & Expeditions, Stuart, Fla.; 800/ 244-3483;

Galápagos Islands

Brian Morgan

New favorite The 16-passenger Ocean Spray catamaran, operated by Haugan Cruises, which sails on eight-day Galápagos trips. Its spacious cabins have modern interiors and private balconies. There’s also an outdoor whirlpool, a large sundeck and lounge, and a restaurant with alfresco dining.

Years as agent 14. Other specialty Peru.

Contact Adventure Life, Missoula, Mont.; 800/344-6118; galapagos@


Zachary Rabinor

Discovery The 22-room hotel Bo, on the site of an Art Deco building in Chiapas’s San Cristóbal de las Casas. A playful mash-up of Midcentury Modern furniture and traditional design elements, the hotel incorporates natural materials from the surrounding regions, giving it a strong sense of place.

Years as agent 10.

Other specialty Central America.

Contact Journey Mexico, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; 800/513-1587;

Central and South America

Emmanuel Burgio

Insider clout Burgio organized a trip for a renowned photographer who wanted to take aerial shots across South America. Thanks to Blue Parallel’s close relationships with national park directors and country officials, Burgio was able to obtain permits to fly over restricted areas in the Galápagos Islands, Machu Picchu, and Mayan ruins in the Yucatán.

Years as agent 11.

Other specialty Private villas.

Contact Blue Parallel, Potomac, Md.; 800/256-5307; emmanuel@

Marisol Mosquera

New favorite Palacio Nazarenas from Orient-Express, housed in a 16th-century former convent in Cuzco, Peru. The 55 rooms—all oxygenated to provide relief from the 11,000-foot altitude—have Peruvian-marble bathrooms, espresso bars, and native art and historic artifacts. It’s one of many

exciting developments in Cuzco’s hotel scene.

Years as agent 16.

Contact Aracari Travel Consulting, Lima, Peru; 312/239-8726;

South America

Carlos L. Fida

Excited about Adventure travel for all levels of experience—Fida led a group of clients ranging in age from 28 to 72—through Patagonia, especially Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. Fida can set up mountain-biking, kayaking, and hiking excursions, as well as overnights in family-owned ranches and small hotels.

Years as agent 35.

Other specialty Adventure.

Contact PanAmerican Travel Services, Salt Lake City; 800/364-4359;

Beth Jenkins

Discovery For families, the all-inclusive Dos Lagos Lodge, on the 442,000-acre Cerro Castillo National Reserve in Chilean Patagonia. “It’s only accessible by boat or helicopter, making it incredibly private, with activities such as horseback riding, fishing, and kayaking, keeping all ages engaged,” Jenkins says.

Years as agent 4.

Other specialty Honeymoons.

Contact McCabe World Travel, McLean, Va.; 703/762-5048; beth@

Eric Sheets

Special booking Sheets, whose professional sweet spot is combining the Galápagos with other South American destinations, planned a wedding for a couple who wanted to marry among Darwin’s famous islands under a full moon. The chartered yacht was equipped with a violinist, band, and minister; after the ceremony, the couple flew to Cartagena, Colombia, for their honeymoon.

Years as agent 17. Other specialty Cuba.

Contact Latin Excursions, Bal Harbour, Fla.; 305/356-8488, ext. 100;

South American Food & Wine

Liz Caskey

New favorite Bocanariz, a hip wine bar in Santiago’s Bellas Artes

A-List • mexico & central & south america • carribean • africa & the middle east

neighborhood—think of it as the West Village of Chile’s capital— that organizes its bottles not only by region but also by valley. Travelers can order flights of one- to three-ounce pours.

Years as agent 8.

Other specialty Adventure.

Contact Liz Caskey Culinary & Wine Experiences, Santiago, Chile; 904/687-0340;

Woven raffia palm huts at

Odzala Ngaga Camp, in the

Congo basin (see Dana Welch).

Margie Hand

Excited about For families in

search of an exclusive and

convenient getaway, Hand

recommends taking over the

five-villa Royal Island retreat, in

the Bahamas, set on a private

island just four miles from North

Eleuthera. The staff will arrange

meals, spa services, watersports,

and outdoor activities, as well as

parties to celebrate any special

milestones or events.

Years as agent 19.


minded couple’s Africa itinerary

Other specialty Destination

began with shark-cage diving


Bob Berghaier

outside Cape Town and an

Contact All Seasons Travel,

New favorite The former

elephant-back safari at Camp

Birmingham, Ala.; 888/234-0046;

zookeeper and wildlife expert

Jabulani, near Kruger National

loves the high-end Muchenje and

Park. They took in Victoria Falls

Janet McLaughlin

Ngoma safari lodges in the remote

from a microlight airplane and a

western section of Botswana’s

river raft, then ended in a

Special booking McLaughlin

Chobe National Park. There are far

beachfront suite at White Pearl

went the extra mile for a husband

fewer vehicles there than in the

Resorts, in Mozambique.

who wanted to surprise his wife

more visited northern part of the

Years as agent 27.

with a special gift on an

park, and great opportunities to

Other specialty French

anniversary trip to Barbados. In

view predators such as lions,


addition to arranging their trip,

leopards, and African wild dogs.

Contact TravelStore, Los Angeles;

she went to Tiffany’s, picked out a

Years as agent 12.

Comment Log in or Join Tablo to comment on this chapter...

310/689-5415; katie.c@travelstore.

diamond bracelet, and sent it in an

Other specialty African history


insured package down to Sandy

and culture.

Lane resort, where the couple was

Contact Premier Tours,

Sandy Cunningham


Philadelphia; 800/545-1910, ext. 414;

Years as agent 24.

Special booking Cunningham

Other specialty Italy.

arranged a “breakfast” with baby

Contact Provident Travel,

Katie Cadar

rhinos at Kenya’s Lewa Wildlife

Cincinnati; 800/486-5060;

Conservancy. Clients were able to

Special booking An adventure-

bottle-feed the calves and learn

about the conservancy’s pioneering anti-poaching efforts.

Years as agent 18.

Other specialty Adventure.

Contact Uncharted Outposts Safari & Travel Company, Santa Fe; 888/995-0909; sandy@

Lisa Lindblad

See Super-Agents.

Dana Welch

New favorite Wilderness Safaris’ two Odzala camps— Lango, on the edge of a savanna, and Ngaga, surrounded by forest—in the Congo basin. The intimate, eco-friendly camps, made up of just six rooms each, give travelers unprecedented access to the area’s tropical rain forest and its dense population of lowland gorillas.

Years as agent 21.

Other specialties Active and experiential travel.

Contact The Travel Society, Denver; 303/563-6225; dana@

j a c k i e c a r a d o n i o

New to listT+L’s travel advisory board

Botswana, Zimbabwe,

and Zambia

Craig Beal

Excited about Matusadona National Park, in Zimbabwe, where Beal spotted the increasingly rare black rhino on a hiking safari last fall. Stay in one of the classic tents at Musango Safari Camp on Lake Kariba, he advises. “Owner Steve Edwards has personally greeted nearly every guest since 1992.”

Years as agent 8.

Other specialty South Africa.

Contact Travel Beyond, Wayzata, Minn.; 800/876-3131; craigb@

EastERN and Southern Africa

Dan Achber

Insider clout Achber arranged for a photography-loving client to accompany zebra researchers as they counted the animals while flying over Botswana’s striking Makgadikgadi salt pan in a Cessna 206—without the doors. Needless to say, his aerial pictures were spectacular.

Years as agent 5.

Contact Trufflepig, Toronto; 416/628-1272;

Jeanie Fundora

Special booking By using private jets and securing off-hour runway stops, Fundora was able to plan a trip to top lodges in South Africa, Tanzania, and Rwanda for busy clients, shaving down what could have been a three-week trip to meet their 11-night time frame.

Years as agent 14.

Other specialty Indian Ocean islands.

Contact Travel Beyond, Wayzata, Minn.; 800/823-6063; jeanief@

Tim Lapage

New favorite The Potato Bush Camp, in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park, which has four tented rooms—with claw-foot tubs, hammocks, and plunge pools—and is set on the banks of the Zambezi River.

Years as agent 32.

Other specialties South America and India.

Contact Safari Experts, Park City, Utah; 435/649-4655; safari@

Sunit Sanghrajka

Discovery Rubondo Island Camp, in Tanzania. The only public

property in Africa’s largest island national park, the camp supports Rubondo’s goal of becoming a self-sustaining conservation area. Travelers can go on guided hikes to encounter chimpanzees and other animals in their native habitat.

Years as agent 20.

Contact Alluring Africa, Winter Park, Fla.; 800/510-6059, ext. 101;


Malaka Hilton

Top tip To dress like a local when in Luxor, stop at the Mobaco Cottons store in the Pyramisa Isis Luxor Hotel. The well-tailored line is made with Egyptian cotton and comes printed with a small camel logo.

Years as agent 19.

Other specialties Jordan and the U.A.E.

Contact Admiral Travel International, Sarasota, Fla.; 888/722-3401; malaka@


Rachel Epstein

Excited about The Beresheet Hotel, perched on the edge of the Ramon Crater in the Negev Desert just a 2½-hour drive from Tel Aviv. A beautiful, minimalist structure, it offers guests a unique base from which to explore the desert, nearby wineries, and the area’s history.

Years as agent 31. Other specialty Spain.

Contact Frosch, New York City; 800/866-1623; rachel.epstein@

Middle East

Jean Newman Glock

Insider clout Glock, who spent 17 years with Smithsonian Journeys, maintains a little black book of door-opening contacts. Dr. Salima Ikram, for example, the head of the Egyptology department at the American University in Cairo, has taken some of Glock’s clients behind the scenes to see the mummies at the Egyptian Antiquities Museum.

Years as agent 2.

Other specialties North Africa and the Arabian Gulf.

Contact Connoisseur Travel, Washington, D.C.; 202/469-8904;


Michael Diamond

New favorite While Diamond usually prefers traditional riads, he was impressed with Morgan Hotel Group’s 71-room Delano Marrakech: “It brings a hip and youthful option to town. Even if you aren’t staying here, stop by the rooftop lounge for cocktails and city views.”

Years as agent 12. Other specialty Turkey.

Contact Heritage Tours Private Travel, New York City; 800/378-4555, ext. 102; michael@


Volker Altvater

Special booking For clients who wanted to see both Kenya’s famous highlights and its best-kept secrets, Altvater arranged a helicopter safari that provided views of Lake Turkana in the north, the forests of the Matthews Range, Mount Kenya, and the thundering herds of animals on the grasslands below.

Years as agent 27.

Other specialty South Africa.

Contact Big Five Tours &

Expeditions, Stuart, Fla.; 772/600-2213;

Mark Nolting

New favorite The eco-sensitive, six-tent Singita Mara River Camp—the only permanent lodging in the Lamai Wedge, in Serengeti National Park. A high concentration of wildlife around the Mara River means that your private, elevated deck is often the best place in the park for game spotting.

Years as agent 27.

Other specialties Madagascar and Malawi.

Contact Africa Adventure Company, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; 800/882-9454; safari@

Norman Pieters

Top tip Pieters has noticed a major upswing in

multigenerational safari travel, to which the industry is responding. MalaMala Game Reserve, in South Africa, for example, has suites that sleep four, and junior ranger programs for guests 12 and under. Kids receive backpacks with animal checklists and a compass; specially trained guides teach them how to track animals.

africa & the middle east • A-List

Years as agent 41. Other specialty India.

Contact Karell’s African Dream Vacations, Miami; 800/327-0373;

Jackie Rush

Excited about Rush loves Mombo Camp in the Okavango Delta for its intuitive staff, plush tents, and fantastic wildlife viewing, arguably the country’s best. “Mombo continues to top the charts. Book far in advance,” she advises.

Years as agent 37. Other specialty Jordan.

Contact Frosch, Washington, D.C.; 800/296-0071; jackie.rush@

South Africa

Julian Harrison

Insider clout Harrison introduces Johannesburg-bound clients to guide Robin Binckes. An expert on apartheid-era history and a master storyteller, he arranges home visits with locals and takes people to lesser-traveled sites, such as the imposing Voortrekker Monument, in nearby Pretoria.

Years as agent 27.

Other specialty East Africa.

Contact Premier Tours, Philadelphia; 800/545-1910, ext. 429;

Ginger Hill

Top tip Cape Town’s new City Bowl Food Market on the waterfront. “It’s an easy way to experience African street food,” Hill says. “You can explore the stalls on your own or book a private tour with a culinary guide.”

Years as agent 23.

Other specialty East Africa.

Contact Heritage Tours Private Travel, New York City; 800/378-4555, ext. 105; ginger@

Judy Udwin

Top tip Cape Town–bound travelers who love to cook should book the Cape Malay Experience at the Cellars-Hohenort Hotel. In the interactive class, participants learn to make regional dishes such as butternut-and-lentil potjie, a stew prepared in a cast-iron pot.

Years as agent 31.

Contact Century Travel, Atlanta; 800/533-6336; judy@centurytvl. com.

A-List • asia


Diane E. Hilliard

Discovery The village of Mae Hong Son, in northern Thailand, where you can ride elephants, visit a local hill tribe by boat, and—best of all—get a Thai massage at Phu Klon Country Club Health Mud Spa for about $10.

Years as agent 41.

Other specialty Middle East.

Contact Hilliard Olander Travel, Stillwater, Minn.; 651/307-8225;

Janet Moore

Excited about Tracing the Burma Road from western China to Rangoon, Burma. Travelers make their way through emerald-green

In the lounge of the Palace Hotel Tokyo, adjacent to the city’s Imperial Gardens (see Duff Trimble).

rice paddies, fertile valleys, and the Gaoligong Mountains, known for their forests and fields of sugarcane, coffee, and papaya. Stops in Burma include Sagaing, famous for its monasteries, and the temple-studded Pagan.

Years as agent 28.

Other specialty Middle East.

Contact Distant Horizons, Long Beach, Calif.; 800/333-1240;


Stan Godwyn

Insider clout For a traveler passionate about Chinese porcelains, Godwyn arranged a

visit to the private OX Culture and Ceramics Museum, in Xi’an, where she met with the curator and was able to examine—and in some cases even handle—pieces from the early Ming dynasty.

Years as agent 19.

Other specialty Southeast Asia.

Contact TravelStore, Sacramento, Calif.; 800/283-2772 ext. 5511;

Karin Hansen

New favorite The 313-room Four Seasons Beijing, the company’s seventh property in China. “It’s a cut above the rest,” Hansen says, noting the impeccable service, the spacious suites, and the hotel’s artwork, which showcases the city’s contemporary art scene.

Years as agent 36.

Other specialties Thailand and Cambodia.

Contact Frosch Travel, Deerfield, Ill.; 800/323-1276; karin.hansen@

Guy Rubin

See Super-Agents.

Laura Woo

Discovery A Hong Kong expert, Woo cautions clients not to leave the city without sampling a dan tat, or egg tart, from Tai Cheong Bakery, at Lyndhurst Terrace.

Locals line up around the block for the hot, flaky pastry.

Years as agent 31. Other specialty Hawaii.

Contact West University Travel, Houston; 281/497-8820; woo@

Mei Zhang

Insider clout For a prominent U.S. architect, Zhang planned a design-focused trip in Beijing that included a private tour of the National Center for the Performing Arts (a.k.a. the Egg), a discussion with a feng shui expert at the Temple of Heaven, and a private tour of the Rem Koolhaas– designed CCTV building.

Years as agent 13. Other specialty Tibet.

Contact WildChina, Beijing; 888/902-8808; mei.zhang@


Jonny Bealby

New favorite The Lotus, a luxury houseboat in the backwaters of Kerala. The two rooms come with

t e t s u ya m i u r a

New to listT+L’s travel advisory board

teak floors and furniture, dhurrie rugs, observation windows, and private verandas. Travelers can arrange onboard yoga lessons and ayurvedic massages, and borrow the boat’s mountain bikes to explore the area’s temples and coconut groves.

Years as agent 11.

Other specialty Pakistan.

Contact Wild Frontiers, London; 800/454-1080; jonny@wildfrontiers. com.

Carole A. Cambata

Special booking Cambata personally hosted a trip visiting Rajasthani sights by Cessna Citation private jet. In Jodhpur, the group met the city’s former maharajah for tea and sailed on Lake Pichola in a 150-year-old royal boat. In a village outside Jaipur, a local opened his house to them for a rooftop dinner accompanied by musicians.

Years as agent 32. Other specialty Bhutan.

Contact Greaves Tours, Highland Park, Ill.; 800/318-7801; ccambata@

Ellison Poe

Excited about The city of Amritsar, in the Punjab region of northwestern India. There are grand sites—including Sri Harmandir Sahib, or the Golden Temple—and rewarding voluntourism opportunities. Poe often arranges for guests to volunteer at a Sikh langar (free communal kitchen) that feeds thousands of people a day.

Years as agent 30.

Other specialty Sri Lanka.

Contact Poe Travel, Little Rock, Ark.; 800/727-1960; epoe@

Ashish Sanghrajka

New favorite Sanghrajka loves the about-to-open Banyan Tree in Kerala, India, one of the region’s few high-end eco-sensitive hotels. Located on a private island, the resort’s rooms overlook the southern state’s serene backwaters.

Years as agent 13. Other specialty Kenya.

Contact Big Five Tours &

Expeditions, Stuart, Fla.; 800/244-3483;

Pallavi Shah

See Super-Agents.

Bob Watson

Top tip If you go to Delhi, take a city tour with the Salaam Balak Trust. The organization’s student guides—many rescued from life on the streets—lead tours of where they used to live, usually through backroads and slums seldom seen by travelers.

Years as agent 28.

Other specialty Southeast Asia.

Contact Valerie Wilson Travel, New York City; 914/701-3215; bobw@


Noriko Townsend

Excited about Akiota-cho, a small town in southwestern Japan, for its artisans and soft adventure opportunities. Hike past waterfalls in a forest to the Sandankyo Gorge, known for its dramatic canyon walls. Back in Akiota-cho, stop at Yokohata Craft Shop for gorgeous, hand-carved kitchen utensils.

Years as agent 18.

Other specialty Southeast Asia.

Contact Altour American Express Travel/Japan In Style, Fort Collins, Colo.; 877/737-1647; noriko.

Duff Trimble

New favorite The Palace Hotel Tokyo, where many rooms have balconies overlooking the Imperial Palace grounds, a rare front-row seat in the capital. The hotel also has an excellent set of restaurants—from the six-seat tempura bar, Tatsumi, to the French-inflected Crown—and a buzzy, see-and-be-seen atmosphere.

Years as agent 12.

Contact Wabi-Sabi Japan, Toronto; 647/477-1711; duff@

Southeast Asia

Catherine Heald

Special booking Heald planned an over-the-top Balinese wedding for a Brazilian couple that began with a traditional Hindu wedding ceremony on a beach—the couple, in Balinese dress, arrived via helicopter—before moving to the prince of Bali’s palace, where guests danced in the dozens of pavilions and gardens.

Years as agent 9. Other specialty Asia.

Contact Remote Lands, New York

City; 646/415-8092; catherine.

Jarrod Hobson

Special booking Hobson (known as “the Indonesia guy” among colleagues) chartered a modern version of a traditional wooden spice-trading boat for a family traveling around Indonesia’s Coral Triangle—what biologists call the Amazon of the Seas. Between trips to island villages, clients can snorkel right off the boat to see exotic corals, clown fish, and pygmy sea horses.

Years as agent 18.

Contact Asia Transpacific Journeys, Boulder, Colo.; 800/642-2742, ext. 223; jarrod@

Sandee Litwin

Top tip Timing is everything when it comes to visiting Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. “Have a private guide take you at 4:30 in the morning,” she says. “It’s much cooler, you’ll miss the crowds, and you’ll see the sunrise over the temple domes.”

Years as agent 31. Other specialty Europe.

Contact Litwin Travel, Los Angeles; 310/470-7202; sandee@

Rebecca Mazzaro

Discovery The obscure but fabulous balloon festival in central Burma’s Taunggyi, which takes place every November. Tribal villagers fashion handmade paper hot-air balloons (shapes range from roosters to life -size elephants) that are loaded with candles and fireworks, released, and eventually catch fire and explode into a light show.

Years as agent 15. Other specialty India.

Contact Asia Transpacific Journeys, Boulder, Colo.; 800/ 642-2742, ext. 233; rebecca@

Patrick O’Connell

Special booking For clients who wanted to see Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay but didn’t have much time, O’Connell chartered a helicopter to and from Hanoi. A private boat tour of the bay’s islands was followed by a candlelit dinner in a limestone cave—they were back in the city by late evening.

Years as agent 14.

Contact Asia Transpacific

asia • A-List

Journeys, Boulder, Colo.; 800/ 642-2742, ext. 242;

Darlene Ravin

New favorite Bangkok’s Siam Hotel, surrounded by palaces and temples, on the Chao Phraya River. All 39 suites and villas have plunge pools, as well as personal butlers and Art Deco lighting fixtures and furnishings. Don’t miss a Thai twist on whiskey soda at Chon Thai Restaurant.

Years as agent 15.

Other specialties Africa and South America.

Contact Worldview Travel, Santa Ana, Calif.; 303/929-8877;

A-List • australia, new zealand, & the south pacific

Kingsford Homestead, a 19th-century Georgian-style manor in Australia’s Barossa Valley (see Cassandra Bookholder).


Catharina Apodac

Excited about Experiencing Sydney by water on a Sea Sydney cruise. The 52-foot Pacific motorboat makes its way from the urban center to the outskirts, passing landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Travelers can take in the sights, kayak, and sunbathe.

Years as agent 24.

Other specialty New Zealand.

Contact Carefree Vacations, San Diego; 800/795-0720; capodac@



New favorite The 225-acre Kingsford Homestead, on the edge of South Australia’s Barossa Valley. Originally built in 1856 as a sheep station, it now has seven suites with crystal chandeliers, and L’Occitane amenities in spacious bathrooms. The slow- roasted Barossa lamb at the farm-to-table restaurant is a must-try.

Years as agent 7.

Other specialty New Zealand.

Contact Camelback Odyssey Travel, Phoenix; 602/889-5902;

Terry Coffey

New favorite The 18-room Cicada Lodge, on the Katherine River in the remote Northern Territory, for its contemporary design paired with local Aboriginal art and unusual excursions. Helicopters are available to take guests to faraway swimming holes and ancient rock-art sites.

Years as agent 34.

Other specialty Pacific Rim.

Contact World Discoveries, Rumson, N.J.; 732/741-6726; agent@

Suzy Mercien-Ferol

Excited about Australian tour company Luxury Outback Tours’ new outback excursions. Explore remote areas like the Gibb River Road (in the northwest) and Cape York (in the northeast) in a customized RV with reclining leather seats and a full galley kitchen. A support vehicle zips ahead to set up plush, safari-style tents for overnights in the bush.

Years as agent 19.

Other specialty New Zealand.

Contact Touring Treasures, Brighton, Australia; 800/536-5328; suzy.mercien@touringtreasures. com.

New Zealand

Jean-Michel Jefferson

Insider clout One of Jefferson’s clients spent a day horseback riding through a private high- country sheep station on the South Island. He then joined the owner at his house for a meal of local rabbit and lamb with New Zealand’s preeminent landscape artist, Grahame Sydney, and poet laureate Brian Turner.

c o u r t e s y o f k i n g s f o r d h o m e s t e a d . o p p o s i t e : da g m a r s c h w e l l e

New to listT+L’s travel advisory board

Years as agent 11.

Contact Ahipara Luxury Travel, Central Otago, New Zealand; 64-3/447-3558; jean-michel@

Donna Thomas

Top tip Thomas loves suggesting unexpected side trips. For people headed to the South Island, for example, she recommends a short hike to the pristine Ohau waterfalls, where they may find baby seals playing in the spray.

Years as agent 41.

Other specialty Australia.

Contact New Zealand Travel, Langhorne, Pa.; 800/367-5494;

french polynesia

Susanne Hamer

Excited about On her last trip, Hamer discovered Mihiarii Pearls, a fantastic shop along one of Papeete’s backstreets. “They have boxes of loose pearls in all price ranges. Choose your favorites and they’ll make any jewelry you like on the spot.”

Years as agent 18.

Other specialties Maldives and Seychelles.

Contact TravelStore, Los Angeles; 310/689-5411; susanne.h@

Robin Turner

Top tip InterContinental guests at any French Polynesian property can enjoy the facilities—the locker room, showers, pools, and the beach—at the InterContinental Resort Tahiti, Faa’a (the closest to the international airport) before taking the red-eye back to LAX.

Years as agent 25-plus. Other specialty Maldives.

Contact American Express Travel, Chicago; 800/627-2815, ext. 83207;

Claudia Gordon

Top tip While docked in Cape Town, stop in at Tribal Trends, where sibling owners Eugene and Anita Kramer have hand-selected items including painted ostrich eggs, woven fabrics, carved pots, and feathered lamps, most of which are made in South Africa.

Years as agent 33.

Other specialty Space travel.

Contact Naples Luxury Travel Advisors, Naples, Fla.; 239/325-5040; claudia@naplesluxurytravel. com.

Scott Kertes

Top tip When traveling with Crystal Cruises or Regent Seven Seas Cruises—two of Kertes’s favorite lines—ask about booking your next cruise while still on board. “You won’t find this in print, but perks could include

australia, new zealand, & the south pacific • cruising • A-List

Looking onto the Danube from the upper deck of the Viking Odin, from Viking Cruises (see Liz Sadie Sutton).

Paul Niskanen

Discovery The Vintage Room, the

only restaurant on Crystal’s

Serenity and Symphony ships that

requires an extra fee. “Menus are

personally prepared by the ship’s

executive chef, the head sommelier

handles all wine pairings, and the

cabin upgrades, generous ship

whole experience is limited to 12 to

credits, reduced deposit amounts,

Comment Log in or Join Tablo to comment on this chapter...

14 guests a night," Niskanen says.

Comment Log in or Join Tablo to comment on this chapter...

516/746-6670, ext. 1003; scott@

Comment Log in or Join Tablo to comment on this chapter...

You might like blog's other books...