The theme of 2016 was definitely TRAVEL! By the end of the year I visited 7 countries & 22 cities. It was a very busy year & hopefully I'll be able to continue the trend in 2017. So far, Greece, Russia & Croatia are on the calendar & I'm sure there will be even more since I plan everything so last minute. For now, here is a little run down of last year's travel.

Counting down from 22... 

22 . Austin, Texas -  Austin was a quick trip for me but a memorable one nonetheless. If you are looking for somewhere to stay, South Congress Hotel is ridiculously chic, it's like modern meets industrial (one of my major fav decor styles). Their restaurant, Central Standard is on trend with the hotel. They serve amazing craft cocktails & have a fully stocked fresh seafood bar. Amazing brunch spot!


21. Philadelphia - We started 2016 off at the Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia this year. I didn't particularly want to spend NYE there but we had a wedding to attend. I have to say, I was really impressed. I would definitely recommend that hotel over others, it's right in the center of where you want to be & close to shopping and restaurants. Plus, it's stunning! We were only there for a short time but the old architecture is gorgeous & the food was amazing.


20 . Vegas - Growing up in San Diego, Vegas nights happened all too often but this year was especially memorable because I had a chance to attend the Salt Conference at the Bellagio. I was able to attend speaking events from some of the worlds most influential entrepreneurs, thought leaders, innovators, political figures & celebrities. My favorite was hearing 2015 Glamor Magazine's Woman of the year, Caitlyn Jenner. It was super inspiring to see her live, listening to her journey & what she is doing for the LGBT community. The speakers are different every year and if you enjoy participating in these types of events, I highly recommend it! As far as hotel goes, I usually stay at the Wynn but I stayed at the Bellagio because the conference was there & it's always a wonderful place to stay. They are pet friendly! Penny really enjoyed herself!


19 . Miami - I've been to Miami many times but always love to go! South Beach is my favorite area to stay & hang out. I love staying at the Mondrian Hotel, it's right on the water & I've always been obsessed with the decor. It has a very retro / Alice in Wonderland type feel with outdoor ivy walls & giant white glossed pillars everywhere. The poolside drinks are my fav & the food is great too, the cuban food in South Beach is incredible.


18 . Washington DC - It was such an honor to attend the Hispanic Heritage Month reception at the White House earlier this year! Last year, at the Holiday party we got a photo in the Red Room so it was only appropriate to snag a shot in the Blue Room this time. Travel tip for D.C. - The train is the best way to get there from NYC or surround areas - the station is really nice there too. The W Hotel is literally right next door to the WH & the decor is EVERYTHING. They have these colorful retro paintings of past presidents in the lobby bar, crystal chandeliers & funky tufted arm chairs everywhere. The rooftop bar is amazing, you can look out at the entire city & get a view of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, & the White House’s East Wing.


17. Valencia, Spain - THE PAELLA!!! OMG I'm not going to say anything else. I had heard they were famous for their seafood and paella and it was no rumor. I had the best seafood at the Gabbeach Hotel oceanfront restaurant. Even though Sergio speaks perfect Spanish (mine is a work in progress but getting there) we have the hardest time understanding exactly what foods are on the menu. Like we get the words and think we have ordered something and an entirely different dish comes out. We made some Spanish errors but ended up being the best ever!


16 . Istanbul, Turkey - Sergio and I LOVE hookah so on our night in Istanbul we stayed up until the wee hours drinking tea & smoking the different flavored tobaccos. We were able to visit because we had an extra long layover from New York to Montenegro. We flew Turkish Airlines and they pay for your hotel if you have an overnight layover. Our hotel was really nice too! It wasn't some shitty airport hotel. In fact, it wasn't very close to the airport so we were in a great location. I don't have a ton to say about this location because we didn't have much time there but Istanbul has the NICEST airport I've ever been to. I would very highly recommend flying Turkish and if you have layover stopping in Instanbul. When I say nice, I mean you would have no idea you were in an airport. It's like it's own mini city & the Turkish Airlines lounge is out of this world. 


15 . Southampton, New York - This was such a relaxing weekend away from the city. I was SO stressed out this summer, like more stressed than ever before in my life. Business was slow & felt like I just had a massive weight on my shoulders. I couldn't sleep, it was REALLY bad. We decided to get out of the city & I had never been to Southampton before so I was looking forward to peace and quiet. We stayed at a Norman Jaffe estate on Meadow Lane, which was beyond luxury. It had a private beach... so there's that! Aside from the major r&r, we headed into town for sushi one night to a total hot spot called Kozu. The food was incredible & the vibe was on point. There was the perfect mix of old and young & at the end of the night it turns into more of a bar / lounge / club type of place. We headed out before any of the madness happened but the food was incredible. If you're in NYC, it's the perfect place to go to 'reset'. It reminded me a lot of San Diego, BBQ-ing by the pool, laying at the beach all day. I miss that sometimes and it was so nice to feel that for a few days.


14. Boston, Massachusetts - This was my first trip to Boston & I totally fell in love. We stayed at the Boston Park Plaza & got such an amazing deal on the hotel by booking through Hotel Tonight. If you don't know what Hotel Tonight is, you seriously need to get on board. Sergio and I only do Hotel Tonight! You have to be easy going and sort of an anti-planner to use it, which is basically the story of my life. I booked my flight to Boston & booked the hotel while waiting in the baggage claim. It's an app that shows you the hotels in the area you're looking to stay and you book it the same day for a discounted rate. This entire year I've traveled the world & stayed in 4 or 5 star hotels for like $100-ish a night. There are exceptions to some remote places that don't have it (like the mountains of Morocco) but I used it all over Spain, everywhere in the US, Mexico and more. If you go to Boston go over to Newbury Street is an Avenue of shopping & restaurants. We had sushi & even found a luxury pet store to get Penny a bunch of outfits.


13 . San Diego, California - This is CRAZY that I consider going to San Diego travel but I only went home 4 times this year & it’s worth a share! This year was BIG for me, after flying back and forth every month for almost two years I took the leap, moved out of my San Diego apartment (missing that tufted couch right about now) & made my way to The Big Apple! If you go to San Diego, you need to explore La Jolla! I lived there for about 7 years before I moved downtown & it is seriously one of my favorite places in the world. Lunch at the La Valencia Hotel overlooking the water, quaint coffee shops & juice bars on every corner, sunset drinks at Eddie V's & rooftop yoga (so California) at Trilogy Sanctuary - feeling SERIOUSLY nostalgic right now. If you guys go to SD, please let me know! I would be happy to recommend many other places.


12 . Newport, Rhode Island - This is definitely one of the most beautiful places in the US that I've ever been to. It's all pearls, sail boats & light houses. The Castle Hill Inn is out of a dream, classy & SO romantic! The Agassiz Mansion was built in the 1800's, we stayed in the Rose Room (there's only 7 rooms in this place) overlooking the Narragansett Bay. The seafood & sailing were the high points of our stay, a seriously awesome experience.


11. Granada, Spain - This was some of the best sightseeing of my end of the year trip. The Alhambra Palace is a giant fortress on the peak of the Granada & it THE sight to see in Spain. It is surrounded my many other little palaces (one of which being a castle of Sergio's family - it was so beautiful & awesome to see) & it is very Mediterranean & Italian inspired. That's what I loved about this city most. There were a ton of cypress trees & and stone architecture. Cypress trees are those tall pointy green trees, so regal. I immediately wanted to move to the country side and forget all about city life. You must stay at the Parador de Granada, it's the only hotel that is within the Alhambra walls & probably one of the nicest hotels there. BUT they don't allow pets, in fact you can't bring pets to the Alhambra at all - I snuck Penny in but that's another story!


10 . Acapulco, Mexico - If you haven’t been, you NEED to go! Having grown up in San Diego, I’ve done a lot of traveling to Mexico but this was my first time to Acapulco. In May, we went for a quick trip & we enjoyed every minute of it at the Princess Mundo Imperial. This is a MAJOR bargain location… you know me, I love a good deal. The flight isn’t cheap but we booked last minute so we probably could have saved there had we planned earlier. However, Acapulco itself was extremely affordable… let’s just put it this way, our huge ocean view suite with a wrap around terrace, room service, massages, loads of food & drinks COMBINED for our entire stay was under $800… I couldn’t believe it. The point is, if you want to get away and don’t want to spend a ton, this is an awesome option & you won’t regret it


9 . Marbella, Spain - Marbella is like the Spanish Riviera... the oceans are clear & yachts are lined up along the coast. It is a major summer hot spot! I visited years ago & it was quite a different experience, I was spending my days drinking endless rosé on topless beaches & hitting the night clubs every night. This time was a bit more "adult", if you will, & I loved it even more than before. The Puente Romano Hotel is where it's at. The pool is overlooking the Mediterranean & the outdoor restaurant (BEST for brunch) also overlooks the sea. At the same time this hotel also has an entire area lounge that connects some of the best restaurants and nightlife in the city. We celebrated with friends at a club called La Suite & it wasn't cheesy and lame like a lot of American nightclubs, it was all the wild stuff but with a bit more class. It's a frequent destination for the who's who of Europe.


8. Barcelona, Spain - I wish I had visited during warmer weather, definitely heading there before we go island hopping next summer. Nevertheless, this city was stunning. My favorite little nook in this city was the Gothic Quarter. It's the happening place to be in Barcelona. The streets are narrow & windy, so much that cars can't really fit (everyone has a motor bike there). The architecture is fitting of the areas name, gothic, dark... very medieval! Sergio and I went tapas hunting there and we had the BEST time discovering little places that literally only seat 5 people or look like they were built right into a cave. If you want to be in the center of the city, I would recommend staying at the Pulitzer Hotel. They are so dog friendly they even provide dog bed & bowls. If you're more like a four seasons type of traveler I would recommend Hotel Arts, it's right on the water but far away from all the action - it's all about the cities in Spain.


7 . Madrid, Spain - If it's a testament to how much I love this city, I visited 3 times this year!! It's hard to pin point one thing I really love about this place but one major fav was the huge indoor market, Mercado San Miguel. It's a cluster of restaurants that make seriously the BEST food you've ever eaten. The food is prepared right in front of you & super fresh. You can grab a sangria & walk to each little restaurant to enjoy dishes like lamb chops, fresh sea food, roasted peppers, jamón, fresh burrata and other artisanal foods. It's situated in the old city were you can find those quaint winding streets lined with tapas restaurants & it's right next to the Royal Palace where you can take a tour of the entire place. It's really an AMAZING city.


6 . London, England - East London is everything. We stayed in Shoreditch & after all the typical touring (Big Ben, Buckingham Palace etc.) we spent our time at Shoreditch House, London's Soho House. I recommend staying in the hotel because otherwise it's member only & it's the perfect place to eat, drink, spa, recoup after touring around & lay poolside. It's ridiculously hip & chic... as well as the crowd. The surrounding neighborhood is like SoHo meets LES - Totally fell in love with this spot!


5. Córdoba, Spain - It was so hard not to list this as #1... I didn't want to leave this place. I seriously could have stayed forever. Probably because the hotel was seriously HEAVEN. All the hotels in this region have names like Palace or Palacio because they are literally old palaces that were converted into hotels. Some of them retain a lot of originality but most of them are totally redone from head to toe and just use the remaining structure. We stayed at Hotel Hospes Palacio del Bailío (booked on Hotel Tonight see #14 for details) & it was beautiful! The rooms had gorgeous hard wood throughout & felt more like apartments then just a basic room, they are pet friendly, the spa is so luxurious (free thermal baths for guests but massage & facials were epic too) oh, and the restaurant had these truffle raviolis that were to die for. They also make their own olive oil which I purchased and smuggled back here, it was so good we were basically taking shots of it. One of the most spectacular ancient structures I've ever seen was the Catedral Mezquita was like the cultural Soho House of it's time & the art & design is really unbelievable, my brain literally couldn't comprehend how this place was created and maintained. You only need a few days in this place but it's so worth a visit if you head to southern Spain.


4 . Atlas Mountains, Morocco - If you ever go to Marrakech you can drive about an hour away to a National Geographic Lodge - Kasbah Du Toubkal & experience genuine Berber Hospitality in the Atlas Mountains. From there, you can hike to the tallest peak in North Africa, Toubkal. Sergio felt like we were on the edge of death during the hike but it was an unforgettable & once in a lifetime experience that we'll never forget! The textiles there are insane as well - we brought some beautiful goat hyde rugs & traditional Moroccan dining spoons home with us.


3. Seville, Spain - One of the most recent on the travel list but certainly one of the best! This place was everything. The air literally smells like heaven there because the streets are lined with orange trees. To be honest, I NEVER thought Orange trees were very pretty by any means but there is something about them all in a row that is just magical. There is SO much history in this city, ancient gardens and castles so there is a ton to do there. My favorite was the shopping! OMG so good. I bought ALLL kinds of stuff from shoes to pants to furs and seriously only spent like $300. I got an epic multi colored raccoon vest for $100. I don't know why things are more affordable there but I'm starting to think they are not more affordable and everything in the US is just over priced. Either way, the shopping is to die for.


2. Budva, Montenegro - No joke, the Aman Sveti Stefan is the most breathtaking place I've ever been to. The stone walls are lined with ivy trellises & built right into the island's structure. The secret passage ways are a beautiful maze within the interior of the island & terraces with endless views of the Adriatic Sea are seriously magic. This is the PERFECT setting for a romantic getaway or honeymoon // I highly recommend flying there via Turkish Airlines. The service is TOP & if you have an overnight layover they pay for your hotel (not a shitty airport hotel either) ... we got to explore Istanbul for free on our way home thanks to them.


1 . Antigua, Guatemala - I don't even know where to begin with Antigua. Antigua is one of the most beautiful and magical places I've ever traveled too. It is a diamond in the rough. In the middle of, what was once a jungle, is this old city of dilapidated buildings, rich history and bright colors. The streets have never been paved, there are just large stones that line them and behind every door is some sort of secret garden or hidden treasure.


When the city was first built, they taxed the landowners on the size of the front of the property instead of the actual size of the property. In turn, the streets are just lined with tiny doors & small entrances.

From the outside, it doesn't look all that special but when you enter the doors you'll find beautiful gardens, courtyards, hotels, homes and you can hardly tell the difference between one entrance and the next. By the way, everyone there is SO NICE! Of all the places I traveled this year, it was by far my favorite! We are going back as soon as possible!


During our trip we stayed at the most incredible house I've ever been to. Per usual, just a small entrance door and inside was a paradise. It was an 8 bedroom estate with full staff... I could go on about the beauty of this place but good news for you I downloaded the snap of our tour for you guys to check out. Click here to watch the tour. Bottom line, if you want to travel somewhere new, Antigua is highly recommended! Oh & Hotel Casa Santo Domingo is the place to stay!