Where are you from and when did you start working with SWISS?
I am Italian and been flying with Swiss International Air Lines for almost eight years now, and since 2012 as Maître de Cabine Europe.
What is the primary route that you are you currently flying?
In my position as Maître de Cabine Europe, I fly mostly around Europe. Having said that, my primary route is to one of my favorite cities, Madrid, among other European cities.
What are some of your favorite restaurants in Madrid?
Madrid has a lot to offer when it comes to restaurants. In the past few years, it has developed an amazing trend in this area. One of my favorite places to go to eat is the Terrace of the Circulo de Bellas Artes, which offers one of the most breathtaking views of the city. In addition to this, there is also Platea Madrid, a cinema converted into an awesome, trendy, and upscale food market with restaurants and bars overlooking the main screen of the old cinema, which is still showing old films in the background, and, from time to time offers different shows.
When it comes time for a smart cocktail, where do you like to go?
It has to be the YOUnique bar and Lounge at the ‘Only You’ Hotel. It offers a variety of well-known champagnes and signature drinks set up in a trendy and modern bar. In addition, Sunday brunch is not to be missed at the adjacent restaurant belonging to the same hotel. Grab a mimosa, and indulge yourself with an exquisite brunch at one of the most upscale bar/restaurants in Madrid.
Tell us about a couple of must-see attractions in Madrid.
Madrid has a few hidden treasures, apart from the Museums of El Prado, Reina Sofia, Thyssen, and so on. There are a couple of places that really will make you fall for this city, like I did 14 years ago. One of them is the Templo de Debod. It is an Egyptian Temple located in Parque del Este just outside the center of the city. In the early evening it offers beautiful views of the Casa de Campo park and the sunset there is just one of the most romantic you can find in the city. In addition to this, there is another well-hidden treasure in Madrid called Palacio Cerralb. It was the former residence of the Marquis de Cerralbo, who died in 1922 and donated his residence to the city to be converted into a museum. It is luxuriously decorated in a baroque style and amongst its paintings you will find Tintoretto, El Greco, and many more. In addition, its garden is not to be missed!
What do you do to stay in shape while traveling?
For the last two years, I started a strict fitness regime and even though time zones and cities change, I always find time to get to the gym at least four times per week. I also follow a few dietary recommendations while flying. Just trying to eat fresh and combine this with a strict gym routine has helped me to keep my body in shape.
We all know how important it is to relax and rejuvenate after a long trip. Do you have a spa to recommend?
There is a magnificent spa called Hammam Al Andalus in the city center. It is an amazing place to relax and rejuvenate oneself in a calm atmosphere and discover the Hammam experience at its Andalusian Arab Baths.
What are some of your favorite LGBTQ bars and clubs?
In this aspect Madrid is the queen of the LGBTQ community. It has many bars and clubs to offer and it is one of the most open LGBTQ cities in the world.
It is very difficult to choose a favorite, however for an early evening drink, ‘La Kama Café’ offers trendy cocktails in a chic setting and, ‘D’Mystic’, one of the oldest LGBT bars in the city, gives you a more Spanish atmosphere and offers great drinks. In addition, there is ‘Marta Cariño’ which offers pop music and it is a great place to meet friends before heading to the clubs. If you are looking for a fun, relaxed, local and attitude free evening, the bars in La Latina quarter are the ones to visit (only on Sunday after 5 P.M.). Grab a beer at one of the main bars (La Sixta, La Perla and El Atril) and enjoy talking to anyone who is around. If you are looking for clubs in Madrid, I just have to remind you Madrid is home to the well-known WE Party group, which each month offers unbelievable parties with world-known DJs. It mainly happens in ‘La Riviera’, a state of the art night venue in the city with capacity for two thousand people. For the usual weekend night out, there is ‘Baila Cariño’, ‘Bearbie’, ‘Kluster’, ‘Dlrio Live,’, and on Sundays ‘Churros con Chocolate’ and ‘Tanga’, all fun places with great music and atmosphere to be enjoyed while making new friends. Madrid will simply amaze you.
What is your number-one travel tip to help make a long-haul flight more enjoyable?
After so many years traveling around, my tip is to try to sleep only at nighttime wherever you are. This just gives you the chance to get into the rhythm of the new time zone and allow you to make the most of your time in each city.
Just try to keep awake if you get to a destination early and try to do the same things you do at home during the day. Explore each place, even if you know it well. Each place has its charm, so go and look for it.