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A-List 2010: World's Top Travel Agents

An illustration of traveling icons.

Photo: Nola Lopez

Australia, New Zealand, + the South Pacific

Australia

Catharina Apodac
New Favorite: She raves about a bistro in the Tasmanian capital of Hobart called Blue Skies Dining, which serves straightforward local food that’s as popular with natives as it is with those who’ve traveled thousands of miles for the island’s revered salmon and beef.
Years as Agent: 20.
Other Specialty: New Zealand.
Fee: From $150.

Cassandra Bookholder
New Favorite: From Melbourne, Bookholder will send clients by helicopter to the Royal Mail Hotel & Restaurant, set in Grampians National Park, famous for its picturesque mountains and Aboriginal relics. The property grows more than 150 fruits and vegetables in its kitchen gardens and the cellar is one of Australia’s most comprehensive, including over a dozen regional Rieslings.
Years as Agent: 4.
Other Specialty: South Pacific.
Fee: From $250.

Terry Coffey
New Favorite: In the Philippines, Coffey’s secondary area of expertise, the capital’s Manila Hotel, with its embroidered linens, ornately carved teak beds, original brass chandeliers, and black-and-white floor tiles, reflects the antithesis of the sleek design aesthetic that pervades much of Southeast Asia.
Years as Agent: 27.
Other Specialty: The Philippines.
Fee: From $200.

Suzy Mercien-Ferol
New Favorite: Arkaba Station, a luxe, full-service cattle station and the sister resort of Bamurru Plains, with all the attendant ranch activities, including riding and herding.
Years as Agent: 16.
Other Specialties: New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti.
Fee: From $150.

French Polynesia

Susanne Hamer
Insider Clout: On Bora-Bora, Hamer’s name opens doors: in the past year, she has secured everything from exclusive after-hours appointments with Olsen Teriimarama (a.k.a. Marama), the island’s premier tattoo artist, to entrée at the gallery of Alain Despert, usually open only to serious collectors of South Seas art.
Years as Agent: 16.
Other Specialties: New Zealand, the Cook Islands.
Fee: From $200.

Robin Turner
New Favorite: Bora Bora Nui is a “Polynesian charmer” with a stunning new two-bedroom family villa as well as fresh talent in the kitchen—chef Daniel Echasseriau (formerly of La Samanna).
Years as Agent: 25.
Other Specialty: Hawaii.
Fee: Varies.

New Zealand

Donna Thomas *
Insider Clout: Besides having her own exclusive golf concierge, who has every blue-chip course from the Pacific coast to the southern alps on speed dial, Thomas has arranged for over-the-top wedding proposals in spots reached via helicopter: a picnic atop a volcano as well as one on a glacier.
Years as Agent: 37.
Other Specialty: Australia.
Fee: None.

Icon Key

* Tour Operator
** T+L’s Travel Agent Advisory Board, 2010
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