With a wealth of expertise, these power brokers are the most informed and best connected in the travel industry.
Priscilla Alexander **
Known For: Her ability to match clients to the right agent among her hundreds of employees—a relationship she firmly believes determines the success of a trip. Alexander listens carefully to what you’re saying (and what you’re not saying) to determine who’ll work best with you to create the ultimate travel experience.
Trend Watch: River cruises, which have become popular for Protravel in Europe and are a great way of seeing different parts of the Continent. Viking’s and AmaWaterways’ routes along the Rhine and Danube are especially good values.
Barbara Gallay **
Known For: Deep connections with top hotel general managers across the globe. Now with the reach and clout of global travel company Frosch (which acquired Gallay’s boutique agency Linden Travel in 2009), she is uniquely primed to pull strings, open doors, and find room when many others claim it’s impossible.
Trend Watch: Montenegro on the Adriatic, particularly the new Aman Sveti Stefan. “I’ve received a lot of inquiries about the property for next year,” Gallay says.
Known For: Her eagle eye in uncovering the truly authentic, cultivated over decades of merging the high-end with the rustic, the undiscovered with the venerated. Lindblad’s background is cultural anthropology, so if it’s the best suzanis in Kazakhstan or finest handwoven ikat silk sinhs in Laos you’re after, Lindblad’s your agent.
Trend Watch: José Ignacio, in Uruguay, where a new Setai hotel is about to make its debut alongside the Fasano, Estancia Vik, and Playa Vik.
Mary Ann Ramsey **
Known For: Tracking down hidden gems and what’s new in hotels, restaurants, boutiques, and cruises. Ramsey spends days at a destination—always with advance reports from ground staff about where to go, from the popular to the under-the-radar spots.
Trend Watch: Southern India. Ramsey encourages clients to visit Kerala or Karnataka to “see a different side of Indian culture.” For those intent on a Rajasthan agenda, she likes to include a soft-adventure excursion to Jaisalmer, where you’ll stay in a tented camp such as the Serai.
Guy Rubin *
Known For: Rubin is the China expert other agents call for recommendations (among those who outsource to him is members-only travel club Nota Bene). His superb coterie of guides—one of whom is carefully matched with each client—dissolve cultural barriers and enhance any experience, whether it’s dinner in the French Concession mansion of a Shanghai socialite or a visit to a local food market in Beijing.
Trend Watch: Lhasa, Tibet, where the recent opening of a St. Regis (and upcoming arrival of the InterContinental Resort Lhasa Paradise) could, Rubin believes, change the way Western travelers perceive this destination.
* Tour Operator
** T+L’s Travel Agent Advisory Board, 2011
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