Elizabeth Viliani, Manager, Operations, one of the newest staff members at Arrangements Abroad, says her love of travel was forever fused when she landed a sales job with CIGA Hotels, the Italian luxury hotel company. When CIGA was acquired by Starwood Hotels, Elizabeth added even more amazing properties—including a tented desert resort outside Dubai and a Frank Gehry masterpiece in Rioja, Spain—to her portfolio. When she’s not traveling, you can find Elizabeth walking her dog in Central Park, reading mystery novels, watching classic films, or searching flea markets for vintage jewelry.
Where are you from originally?
I grew up in South Jersey near Philly and had a double major in psychology and sociology at Drew University. After college, I moved to New York City, feel in love with the urban lifestyle and have been here ever since. My first job right out of college was at a company placing advertising in the Yellow Pages. This was definitely not for me so when I I had the opportunity to work for a small company representing Italian hotels, I jumped at the chance. I fell in love with travel AND Italy. My next job landed me a sales job at the iconic Italian luxury hotel company CIGA (where I met my Italian husband while on a sales call). Over the next years, a series of acquisitions led to my job at Starwood Hotels where I managed a sales territory selling their luxury brands.
So far, what do you enjoy most about working at Arrangements Abroad?
The small scope of the office. It’s not a huge corporate setting. It isn’t bureaucratic. I enjoy working on the itineraries and learning about new places, and I like the vendor visits. Coming from a corporate environment, it is a nice change. Also, people are interested in cultural travel and not just luxury.
Which city do you most often recommend that your friends visit?
There are so many wonderful ones! I guess my two favorite ones to visit are London and Rome. In London, there is a ton to do and great visits outside of the city. Rome has so much history and so many facets. There are hidden components to it even after many visits. I’ve been to Rome at least 15 times.
Which destination would you drop everything to see?
Maybe Peru. I want to see Machu Picchu and Cusco and experience that culture. It sounds fascinating to me.
Do you have any special skills?
I have a good eye for vintage jewelry and know a lot about the history of it. I find jewelry at flea markets and antique shops. I wear something different almost every day.
Which websites do you visit the most?
What is something about you that surprises people?
Both sides of my parents’ families were here before the Revolutionary War. Also, both sets of my grandparents are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
What are three things you can’t travel without?
A warm shawl, sunglasses, and my iPhone.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I have a lovely dog, Pluto. One of my favorite things to do is walk him in Central Park. You meet some very interesting people in the park when you have a dog!