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A-List: World's Top Travel Agents 2011

Ilustration for top travel agents a list in Europe.

Photo: Bo Lundberg

Greece

Mina Agnos +
Top Tips: For souvenirs, Agnos loves the gift shop at the Benaki Museum, in Athens, which is filled with ceramics, embroidered stationery, and delicate handmade reproductions of museum artifacts. In Mykonos, her go-to spot is Nammos restaurant, on Psarou Beach, for the freshest sea urchin in the Aegean.
Years as Agent: 10.
Other Specialty: Egypt.
Fee: From $250.

Kelly Shea
New Favorite: The Aegean Suites, in Skiathos, and sister property Skiathos Princess top Shea’s hotel list for their stylish white-on-white décor and proximity to what she calls probably the most beautiful beaches in Greece. And in Vouliagmeni, 10 minutes outside Athens, Shea fell hard for the Arion Resort & Spa, with its chic blue-and-white maritime furnishings and large wooden decks off every room.
Years as Agent: 24.
Other Specialty: Turkey.
Fee: $250.

Christos Stergiou
New Favorite: For culture buffs, Stergiou recommends the Onassis Cultural Center, in Athens, a 195,000-square-foot exhibition and performance complex showcasing emerging dance and theater talents.
Years as Agent: 7.
Other Specialty: Turkey.
Fee: $100.

Ireland

Carol Cornell
Excited About: In County Galway, the 18th-century Ballynahinch Castle is a 420-acre old-school sporting estate. Cornell is especially impressed by the range of activities, from river fishing to skeet shooting.
Years as Agent: 27.
Other Specialty: Italy.
Fee: $100.

Italy

Margot Cushing
Excited About: The growing popularity of the Emilia-Romagna region. Bologna makes an ideal base from which to explore the lesser-known medieval towns of Ravenna and Modena (where the Ferrari HQ is a counterpoint to the Romanesque architecture).
Years as Agent: 30.
Other Specialty: Mediterranean.
Fee: $300.

Joyce Falcone
New Favorite: In Sicily, the just-opened Foresteria, on the Planeta wine estate—a vineyard, inn, and cooking school. The rooms are stylishly spare, with iron beds and woven cotton rugs. Best asset: chefs take guests on island-wide wine tours.
Years as Agent: 15.
Other Specialty: Italian islands.
Fee: $400.

Andrea Grisdale
Insider Clout: For a writer client researching a novel about World War II–era Italy, Grisdale opened her little black book to arrange meetings with a Venetian countess, the scion of Italy’s oldest silk-weaving company, and a former U.S. military official.
Years as Agent: 21.
Other Specialty: None.
Fee: From $200.

Deborah Hyte
New Favorite: The most recent addition to Sicily’s bustling hotel scene, the contemporary Metropole Taormina Maison d’Hôtes. For nearly 40 years, the 18th-century palace remained closed, until receiving a top-to-bottom makeover in 2010. Most of the 23 now-contemporary, brightly colored suites have views of the Bay of Naxos.
Years as Agent: 30.
Other Specialty: Western Europe.
Fee: From $400.

Judy Nussbaum
Excited About: The never-waning appeal of Capri. Specifically, Nussbaum cites last year’s merger of the Capri Palace hotel with Il Riccio, the stylish restaurant and exclusive beach club. Her clients who stay at the property get first dibs on the club’s beachside chaise longues and hard-to-book tables.
Years as Agent: 30.
Other Specialty: France.
Fee: From $100.

Andrea Sertoli
Excited About: Rome’s revamped Air Terminal at Ostiense Station, where a branch of the gourmet food hall Eataly is set to open next month. Culinary stars attached to the venture include Adriano Baldassarre from Sibilla restaurant, in Tivoli, and Carlo Cracco of Milan’s Ristorante Carlo Cracco.
Years as Agent: 14.
Other Specialty: Croatia.
Fee: From $100.

Marjorie Shaw
New Favorite: Locanda Palazzone, a 14th-century historic villa with an organic vineyard, in Umbria. In keeping with the ethos of Shaw’s company, the property is small (only nine suites) and family-owned.
Years as Agent: 22.
Other Specialty: Food.
Fee: From $395.

Sally Watkins
New Favorite: Watkins recently discovered Villa Le Maschere—a 65-room villa in Barberino di Mugello, just north of Florence. The hotel has been beautifully renovated with mosaic floors and majolica ceramics. For those who want culture, the hotel operates a daily shuttle service into Florence and another to the shopping outlets at Mugello.
Years as Agent: 26.
Other Specialty: Switzerland.
Fee: From $350.

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