I am based in New York but spend half of my time in my native Spain. Now that I am here on vacation, I realize it is actually my first time writing about it. Oh well... Summer might be the best time to share my favorite spots and people in sunny Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia!
Madrid is the vibrant center of my social life, where I spend most of my time when in Spain. There, I seamlessly balance business and leisure.
My day usually starts with a professional meeting and breakfast at The Wellington, Hesperia Castellana, Only you or Eurostars Central hotel. If you feel like skipping my morning routine, El Prado and the Thyssen Museums are must-sees. While you're at it, add the iconic public library to your sightseeing bucket list!
Whether at Manu and Amparo's or Marina and Lourdes', I always go to a friends'home for lunch and dinner. Menus are delightful and we follow traditional table etiquette. Ten Con Ten and The Orellana Circle restaurants are great alternatives and Leticia there is an equally fabulous host.
By now, you probably assume all I do in Madrid revolves around gastronomy... Not too far fetched, blame it on the city's amazing delicacies and exquisite wines !
Madrid is also home to my "glam squad", the imagery I have shot there over the years with my team Victor Cucart, Javier Reyes and Carmen Garzón has landed in international editions of Forbes and more.
Work is fun in "Barça", I hold all of my meetings at the Mandarin Oriental. Luckily for me, all of my projects in the city relate to art and culture. I am surrounded by lots of creativity and with such spectacular architecture, Barcelona is a museum in its own right. Exploring the streets by foot is magical, even more so alongside my historian friend Ramón who will make you travel back in time.
Should you want to stick to a world of fantasy for the rest of your stay, stop by the Barcelona Design Gallery and don't miss Pepa Poch's paintings. Craving more visual delight ? Treat yourself to an evening at the breathtaking opera house pictured above.
This is where I recharge: the sunlight, aroma of the seaside and local scents are uniquely welcoming. Valencia is is my home, where I was born and raised. Landing there always makes me emotional. Each time, I arrive at the same airport I left from in 2000 to live my American dream.
All my loved ones gathered for my US departure and whenever I go back, someone is always waiting for me. As soon as I touch down, my family and friends like to rush to me home to honor the Spanish eating custom of 3 hour-lunches! That's about how long we need to savor the largest table of food and share epic storytelling.
El Mercado de Colon is one of my favorite parts of town I grew up going to. The street now boasts designer stores and fancy restaurants, what a tremendous change from my young years!
When the city life gets too busy, the nearby beach is the perfect getaway to regroup and meditate. I usually escape to Hotel Las Arenas or El Parador del Saler for a couple of days.
Of course food is my a guilty pleasure and never out of the picture! Head over to La Marcelina for paella or Cervera for some fresh seafood, a family tradition of ours during summer and Christmas.
The morning comes fast, but nothing like enjoying ice cream and horchata con fartons by the water past midnight...