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Culture / Travel

Designing Travel

Custom Luxury Trips Turn Your Interior Design Choices into Exotic Working Vacations

BY // 10.12.16

What is the ultimate luxury? To each his own, but studies have consistently revealed that meaningful experiences rank high with just about everyone. Not only do experiences enrich our lives, but they make the mementos we bring back seem even more valuable.

Case in point: Aria Stone Gallery’s new custom-tailored excursions. Why just buy stone for your new abode from a showroom when you can travel to the quarry in Italy or Brazil, and hand-select your own slabs?

Taking the idea even further, Aria’s exclusive program builds customized trips around your quest, with first-class flights, meals at Michelin-rated restaurants, stays that include Wine Relais hotels, Land Rover quarry cave tours, and anything else your heart desires.

The idea for the trips came about when a client with a big project requested to travel to the source in Italy for his stone. “He wanted to understand more about the quarrying process, and how we selected materials,” says April Graves, vice president of Aria Stone Gallery. Aria Stone has since taken three more groups of clients on stone selection trips to Italy.

“We’ve put it together so there’s a guided story that best suits the stone direction for each project,” which includes behind-the-scenes cave tours, she says. “There’s so much that goes into it before the stone is even transported and processed into slabs and shipped to Aria.”

Aria Stone Gallery’s new custom-tailored excursions allow you to travel and hand-select your own slabs.
Aria Stone Gallery’s new custom-tailored excursions allow you to travel and hand-select your own slabs.

Think of it as a bespoke buying trip with perks. Typically lasting about a week, the trips are tailored to each project. Bring your interior designer, architect, family and friends — it’s up to you. Cost is based on number of people, length of stay, and the amenities and experiences requested.

Holiday Gifting

  • Cotton Club
  • Loeffler Randall - Clutch
  • Cle Du Peau - Nail Polish
  • Bond No 9 - Candle
  • Bond No 9 - Perfume
  • Oscar De La Renta - Clutch
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Wayne Smith
  • Cle Du Peau - Lip Gloss
  • Elaine Turner - Felicia Stole in Magenta
  • Wayne Smith
  • Loeffler Randall - Shoes
  • Museum of Fine Arts Houston
  • Elaine Turner - GiGi Flats
  • Oscar De La Renta - Earrings
  • Cotton Club
  • Asher Gallery

On a recent excursion, clients started in Milan where they shopped the design district, explored the region’s vineyards and wineries, and even drove Italian sports cars. Says Graves: Aria owner/founder Vinny Tavares, who travels to Italy several times a year, selected hotels and restaurants frequented by local residents that are his personal favorites, such as the Villa Cordevigo, an 18th-century Wine Relais luxury hotel near Verona.

Make no mistake, these are working trips — after all, you’re there to choose stone for your project — and Graves assures everyone goes home happy. “We look at as many factories and as much stone as needed until you find the right one. You’ll know when you see it,” she says.

Aria Stone recently arranged for a client to visit three stone factories in Italy, but when he still wasn’t sure, they went to three more. “He ended up picking stone from the first factory,” she says. “But that’s what we’re there for; We keep looking until you find the perfect piece.”

Home, chic home.

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