Mercien-Ferol creates each itinerary from scratch, often with off-the-beaten-path surprises, such as stops at her favorite cafés along Queensland’s Sunshine Coast or a rain-forest trek followed by a champagne lunch. She also favors independent boutique hotels and lodges over international chain hotels.
Excited about: The Thala Beach Nature Reserve, on the coast of northern Queensland. Formerly known as the Thala Beach Lodge, the reborn property has upped its eco ante with sustainably built timber bungalows and tree cabins set high on stilts. There’s also a renewed focus on nature-based activities—ranger-led hikes and sea-kayak tours—in the surrounding unesco World Heritage–listed reefs and rain forest.
Specialties: Australia, New Zealand