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Update: IRT’s Eleanor Hardy Named Condé Nast Traveler ‘Top Travel Specialist’ Two Years Running

By Owen C. Hardy

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Red Conde Nast top traveler specialist logo 2021

For the second year in a row, The Society of International Railway Travelers® (IRT) is thrilled to announce that IRT President Eleanor Flagler Hardy has again been named a World’s Top Travel Specialist by Condé Nast Traveler magazine (CNT). Her specialty, of course, is Luxury Trains.

“I am thrilled and honored to be named again to this prestigious group of international travel specialists,” Eleanor said when the Condé Nast Traveler announcement was made. The news was embargoed until today.

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Eleanor on the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express for IRT’s 25th anniversary trip from Vladivostok to Moscow. IRT Photo by Owen Hardy

Eleanor has devoted her professional life to the welfare and happiness of her worldwide list of clients, many of whom call her a friend. This official and prestigious recognition is highly deserved.

Eleanor began her professional life as a newspaper reporter – the kind who won’t take “no” for an answer.

She began working for IRT as soon as Rachel, our second daughter and now IRT Vice President, Sales & Marketing, started second grade.

While I published our IRT magazine, Eleanor took charge of our new travel planning department. She works with our entire IRT team to be sure that our guests are well-matched to the luxury train they want — and if not, help them find an alternative they will love.

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Eleanor with staff of first journey of the Belmond Grand Hibernian IRT Photo by Owen Hardy

She never looked back.

Within several years, we were invited, and joined the Virtuoso luxury travel consortium, at Eleanor’s urging. This immediately gave IRT access to the world’s top travel partners, many of whom have become great, well-trusted friends who VIP our guests every time.

She has logged millions of miles, on every continent except Antarctica, gaining a deep knowledge of the world’s top luxury trains.

Eleanor’s luxury train “information bank,” coupled with her naturally outgoing personality, are gold for IRT and our clients.

Want the lowdown on sleeping car berths on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Rovos Rail or the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express? 

Need info on where to stay in Moscow, Madrid or Lima?

Want the best guide ever in Berlin, Vancouver or Vienna?

Eleanor’s your go-to travel guru.

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Eleanor prepares to travel to Machu Picchu aboard the Belmond Hiram Bingham. IRT Photo by Owen Hardy

But should people really be thinking about their future travel, given the current world health crisis?

“Ironically, there isn’t a better time,” Eleanor says.

What destinations do you want to visit?  Which of our World’s Top 25 Trains do you want to ride — or ride again? She says now is the time to be thinking about this for 2022 and 2023. And she’s hopeful — with wide vaccination — that many of our guests will be on the rails by the third quarter of 2021.

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Pisco sour in hand, Eleanor toasts her trip to Peru’s Machu Picchu aboard the Belmond Andean Explorer. IRT Photo by Owen Hardy

“Now’s the time to keep dreaming — and to start making those plans,” Eleanor says. “Because I guarantee you, when this crisis ends — and it will — there will be a surge like you wouldn’t believe.”

“Get at the front of the line,” advises this Condé Nast Traveler 2020 & 2021 Top Travel Specialist. “Let’s start planning now. Our team will be here when you are ready.”

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IRT Society President Eleanor Hardy on the VSOE. IRT Photo by Owen Hardy

For a complimentary, 15-minute appointment with Eleanor, to discover our process and what extraordinary things we can do for you, call (800) 478-4881 (+1 502-897-1725 if outside the US/Canada), or email tourdesk@irtsociety.com.