Dominick Aiello (DA) is one of the best veteran players in international travel booking. As the head of the renowned and New York based RA travel, Dominick serves as an essential provider to the the music and entertainment industries. As a frequent traveler himself Dominick knows the ins and out of travel better than most and as such we (RA) turned to him to recount the details of his recent trip to Washington DC, and his special invite to the White House.
DA: Working in the entertainment industry it is not often that something can truly amaze you. After working with immensely popular clients, visiting the most grandiose hotels in the world and helping to construct the travel industry’s definition of luxury, the ability to appreciate beauty persists - but it is very difficult to be truly amazed. Yet despite the overwhelming obstacles, my last trip was to a location that easily surpassed my expectations and truly amazed me. It was a trip to the most powerful and protected building on Earth; The White House.. Over its two centuries of existence the White House has been called the "President's Palace" and the "Executive Mansion". President Theodore Roosevelt officially gave the White House its current name, and history’s largest understated title, in 1901. To many people The White House is merely a symbol, a representation of the ideal American presidency - but being there is much different. When there it is much more, as its former names suggest, a palace radiating strength, power and honor to all those lucky enough to receive an invitation inside.
RA: So, Dominick, why did you travel to DC ?
DA: I was invited to DC as part of Michelle Obama’s Celebration of Design Event. It was essentially an event created by the First Lady to give students interested in pursuing careers in design the chance to go to workshops and meet with some of the biggest names in the business.
RA: What were required to bring with you and tell us the three main items you packed.
DA: Fortunately DC in early fall is a gorgeous place, the weather was fantastic practically every day in the high 70’s. I really only needed to pack light. The most important items I packed were my main black Ray Bans and my suits. I mean I was visiting the White House- you have to dress right visiting a place as powerful as that.
RA: Tell us about how you got there?
DA: To get there I took the Amtrak Acela Express line from New York and it was lovely. As a businessman I always need to stay in contact with my office and my clients. Acela was able to provide me a comfortable seat, attentive service and Wifi to help me make my travel time productive. I’d definitely ride it again.
RA: Where did you stay while there ?
DA: I stayed at the Capella in DC. Its an insanely nice place, a very new small boutique hotel in Georgetown. There they focus on service to the max. From the moment I walked in I felt that touch of luxury, the service was fantastic and the property feels incredibly secure. You even need a room key to get into a private section of the lobby, which was very nice for relaxing with friends at the end of the day. Overall the place is a great place to be, the staffs are very attentive and kind without being overwhelming and the hotel is truly exquisite while still being extremely comfortable. I cannot wait to go back!
RA: Tell us briefly about the White House.
DA: My tour was pretty early morning and I had to get to the visitors entrance 15 minutes before my scheduled visit. The security was so tight, they had to check IDs, compare it to a pre-made list, pass through a dog sniffing checkpoint, a metal detector and a prohibited item checkpoint. Thank God I’m a man too because I didn’t realize you couldn’t carry a single bag, water bottle, camera or backpack. Nothing. It was fine though because I had pockets, so I had a place to put my wallet and cell phone. After all that we finally made it inside and it was incredible. It was so incredibly powerful to be in the same hallways walked by some of the most influential men in history. After a tour I attended the ‘Celebration of Design’ event and had a fantastic time. The students were truly inspiring and so passionate for such young students.
RA: What was the most memorable part of the trip ?
DA: The most memorable part of the trip was the Hall of Portraits. It’s this long hallway with portraits, in age order, of all the presidents. They were all painted during the time of their Presidency - so on top of being in a room full of insane history it felt like time traveling through past and walking in the steps of all those great men.