Capella Washington D.C.’s Mount Vernon Bike Tour

Bike & Roll DC Resized

I arrived to Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown on a gorgeous spring morning in April with my great friend as we prepared for a day’s journey to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Mansion, one of the iconic homes from 18th-century America.  Naturally, I crave adventure and outdoor exercise, so the moment I discovered this unique biking and historical tour offered for Capella guests, I was all about trying it out for myself!

Bike & Roll DC Resized

We met Luis Colmenares, Lead Personal Assistant in the main lobby as he greeted us with a surprise backpack lunch with our tickets to the Mount Vernon tour.  He explained that our rental bikes were ready and waiting for us outside, courtesy of Bike & Roll DC!  The Mount Vernon Trail is the main path located just around the corner from the hotel, and winds alongside the scenic Potomac River, offering uninterrupted views of Washington, D.C.’s skyline.  We made sure to take advantage of Luis’ excellent suggestions for pit-stops along the way including Gravelly Point Park, located just north of the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, where you can see planes take off and land, and also Old Town Alexandra, Virginia’s Eamonn’s Restaurant for the best afternoon fish & chips!  I’m always searching for an excuse to be outside and enjoy nature, and this was the perfect, unique experience!

George Washington Mount Vernon 2 Resized

When we arrived to Mount Vernon, I was so thrilled to find out that not only was our tour guide offering a tour of the beautiful Mansion, but also a new tour called Gardens & Groves.  This tour was incredible and offered the opportunity to explore Washington’s design and see how he created the sweeping lawns, groves of trees, walled gardens, serpentine paths, and the views of Mount Vernon.  When visiting Mount Vernon you journey can go beyond the mansion to the George Washington’s Distillery, which was once the largest distillery in America and produced almost 11,000 gallons of whiskey in 1799, and to the George Washington’s Gristmill, established in 1771, the mill produced more than 275,000 pounds of the highest quality “superfine flour” and exported to both the West Indies and Europe.

George Washington Mount Vernon Re-Sized

More details on this experience:

  • Bike from Capella Washington, D.C. to George Washington’s Mount Vernon on the Mount Vernon Trail (approximately 18 miles).
  • Capella Washington, D.C will provide a delicious backpack lunch (Although you will have a backpack lunch, you are encouraged to try other restaurants, cafes, and shops along the way to Mount Vernon).
  • Park your bicycle and arrive at Mount Vernon to greet your tour guide (Be sure to ask your Personal Assistant about the variety of tours available on the Mount Vernon property).
  • At the completion of the tour, bicycle back to Capella Washington, D.C. If you wish to have a driver pick you up or take a scenic boat ride back on the Potomac River, please provide your Personal Assistant with 48 hour advance notice to plan accordingly.

I loved the Mount Vernon Bike Tour and definitely recommend it as the quintessential spring experience in Washington, D.C.  It is the perfect way to discover the most incredible views of the cities monuments, while simultaneously getting a bit of exercise.  For more details, inquiries, and reservations, be sure to contact your Personal Assistant by calling 202-617-2416 or e-mail pa.dc@capellahotels.com.

Capella DC Easter Egg Hunt

Capella DC Easter Egg Hunt

Easter is a month away, and I am already looking forward to the festivities!  What is your favorite Easter tradition?  As a child and even now, I have always loved the Easter Egg Hunt and of course, the Easter Bunny.

The Easter Bunny legend began long ago in Germany with an egg-laying hare named Osterhase.  German children made nests and left them outside for the hare to lay her eggs in, which the children would collect as a prize.  Actual Easter Egg Hunting began in America when German immigrants brought their Osterhase tradition to Pennsylvania in the 1700s.  The festivity soon spread across the nation, and baskets replaced nests.  Eventually, the game evolved into a treasure hunt, and the prizes expanded from just hard-boiled eggs to include chocolate, candy, toys and coins.

After discovering the history behind this Easter tradition, my team at Capella Washington, D.C. felt it was only appropriate to establish our very own Easter Egg Hunt.  And not your average children’s hunt, but one especially for the adults.  Picture a city wide hunt with golden eggs, sensational prizes, Washington, D.C.’s most well-known landmarks, and of course, the unique Capella experience.

I am so thrilled to announce the launch our first annual Capella DC  Easter Egg Hunt!

Capella DC Easter Egg Hunt

The Capella DC Easter Egg Hunt Details:

  • One golden egg will be placed in a unique location in Washington, D.C. every weekend, the three weeks leading to Easter Sunday on April 20th, 2014.  Your mission is to keep a look out for the photo clue on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram the morning of, which will give you a hint to where the Easter egg will be.
  • Next, locate the golden Easter egg and take a photo at the location of you and the prize.  Share your photo with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and be sure to use the hashtag #CapellaEasterEggHunt and tag us @CapellaDC.
  • When you open the Golden Egg, you will find a contact phone number.  Once you call this number, one of our Capella service professionals will reveal your winning prize!  We are offering a wide variety of prizes – from Sunday Brunch at The Grill Room, to a luxury overnight stay at Capella Washington, D.C.

Capella DC Easter Egg Hunt Schedule:

Saturday, April 5th
Sunday, April 7th
Saturday, April 12th
Sunday, April 13th
Thursday, April 17th
Friday, April 18th
Saturday, April 19th
Sunday, April 20th

For more information on the Capella DC Easter Egg Hunt, be sure to contact our Easter events squad at 202-617-2429!  Keep a look out for the first photo hint on Saturday, April 5th at 9:00am!

One Year Anniversary Of Capella Washington, D.C.

Bruce Bradley, Horst Schulze, Alex Obertop

March 22nd marks the One Year Anniversary of Capella Washington, D.C. and I can’t help but think back nostalgically to all the incredible successes we’ve experienced thus far!  Each day leading to opening was a dense mix of excitement, fear, and amazement as we prepared to open the first Capella branded property in the United States.  I invite you to take a look at a few of my favorite memories from this last year that attribute to all of our achievements thus far!

Bruce Bradley, Horst Schulze, Alex Obertop

Prior to opening, the entire Capella Hotels And Resorts corporate office came to Washington, D.C. for employee orientation.  Over a ten day period known as “Countdown” we participated in a variety of activities, not only meant for team building, but also to help us better understand Capella culture, which truly sets us apart from all other hotel companies.  What fascinated me about orientation was that each employee had the opportunity to learn from Mr. Horst Schulze.  It’s not every day when you have the chance to have one-on-one conversations with your CEO!  It became clear that working at Capella Washington, D.C. meant that I was part of a great company that truly believed in creating excellence.

Steak Dinner The Grill Room

I’ll also never forget the days and weeks we all spent tasting and sampling dishes in the kitchen with Executive Chef of The Grill Room, Jakob Esko!  I was sitting in my office when I received a call from Chef saying, “come to the kitchen at noon, we are voting on the best steaks to select for the restaurant.”  It was amazing to be included in this fun and delicious process, selecting the beef with the best flavor, prime grade, aging, and tenderness.  Now, when I see how much guests love The Grill Room’s variety of unique, seasonally inspired dishes and steaks, I think back to those moments in pre-opening and I feel special knowing I was part of the conceptualizing and creation of the menu that our guests know and love today.

I’ve also loved the relationships we’ve built over the past year.  Establishing partnerships with The Washington Ballet, Resident Stylist, April Yvonne, Fuse Pilates, Luigi Parasmo Salon, and most recently, The University of Maryland for the Capella Constellation Series has been an incredible journey of creating unique and personalized guest experiences.  I am thrilled to be a part of a hotel that offers a wide span of activities in the world of theater, fashion, style, food & wine, astronomy, and much more!

I am so excited to welcome guests on Wednesday, March 26th as we celebrate our One Year Anniversary at the Rye Bar at Capella Washington, D.C. from 5:00-7:00pm.  As a sign of our gratitude, each guest will receive one Rye Bar spring themed cocktail upon arrival as well as passed canapés! Thank you for making the past year a fantastic one, and I look forward to seeing you at our celebration!

Capella Constellation Series At Capella Washington, D.C.

Capella Constellation & Dinner Series Rooftop

Earlier this month I had the incredible honor to present the Capella Constellation Series to our CEO & Chairman of Capella Hotels & Resorts, Mr. Horst Schulze & our Board of Directors!  It was a bitter cold evening in February, but the night sky was gorgeous and clear.  The gentlemen met me in the Capella Living Room, where Mr. Schulze asked our guide, University of Maryland Astronomer, Alex McCormick, to give us a brief introduction of “what we [were] about to see.”  Alex explained that the Capella Constellation Series is a brand new experience for hotel guests and the public that includes an interactive three-course meal and wine pairing in The Grill Room, followed by an extraordinary stargazing experience on the rooftop lounge during dessert and beverages, all along learning about the universe from the guides themselves.

Capella Constellation & Dinner Series Rooftop

The stargazing experience begins with Alex identifying and discussing familiar objects in the night sky, first with the naked eye and then using astronomical binoculars.  Then, using Capella Washington, D.C.’s  magnificent research grade telescope, we observe the stars, planets, and moons in greater (and informed!) detail.

We arrived to the rooftop and Alex explained to each of us that there are specific stars in the sky that we can use to help us locate different constellations.  I won’t to give too much away, but let’s just say this activity left the entire group very impressed!  We were all excited to discover that once we located the North Star in the Northern Hemisphere, we were able to find the Capella Star, directly above the hotel!

Capella Constellation & Dinner Series Lamb

Capella is the brightest star in the constellation Auriga and the sixth brightest star in the night sky.  Capella also occupies one vertex of the Winter Hexagon, a pattern of bright stars connecting six different constellations.

To our unaided eye, it looks like one bright star, but Capella is actually a system of four stars.  The two brightest stars are similar in color to our Sun, but each of them is about 10 times the diameter of the Sun, and approximately 2.5-2.7 times the mass of the Sun.  At approximately 42 light years from Earth, we have a hard time separating these two bright stars even with a very large telescope.  In order to get their separation, astronomers used a technique called interferometry, which employs two points of view separated by some distance in order to provide better resolution.  Capella was the first astronomical object outside of our Solar System successfully observed with interferometry!

Mr. Schulze and our Board of Directors had a wonderful evening and were fascinated by the stars and planets that we were able to see through the telescope from Capella’s rooftop.

For questions regarding upcoming Capella Constellation Series experience as well as to make reservations, please contact Elisabeth Thomas at (202) 617-2429 or e-mail elisabeth.thomas@capellahotels.com.

The Rye Bar’s Romantic Cocktail Tips

Valentines Day Cocktail

What are the secrets to creating a great cocktail?  This question came up during my chat with one of the Rye Bar’s signature & most well-known D.C. bartenders, Angel Cervantes.  “The liquor must stand out and the herbs and liqueurs must always come secondary.”   I wanted to get a deeper look into how our bartenders at Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown create these unique, flavor punched cocktails, and what the basics are to create my own at home.  With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I asked Angel for his best romantic cocktail tips:

Valentines Day Cocktail

One of my favorite words of recommendation from Angel is, “It doesn’t matter what you’re making, it matters who you’re making it with.”  Creating cocktails involves letting loose and being creative.  To make it romantic, try tasting new flavors with your significant other to experience what you both like.  “Play with flavors of liqueurs, juices, sweetness, and acidity and decide what you are in the mood for.”  First, you must choose your liquor that will be the main focus of the drink.  Then think about what to add to your cocktail- herbs like lavender, rosemary, basil (infused in simple syrup), and citruses like lemons, limes, and oranges.  Once you both develop your favorite ingredients, fixings, and liquors, you will have an easier and more pleasurable time crafting cocktails.

Some of Angel’s suggested staple bar ingredients are:

  1. Lime or Lemon
  2. Sugar infused with an assortment of herbs or fruits
  3. Bitters, a liquid, often an alcoholic liquor, in which bitter herbs or roots have steeped, used as a flavoring

Will this Valentine’s Day be bitter or sweet for you? Regardless, here’s a great cocktail recipe that you can try out for yourself at home in case you’re not able to be here with us this year!

My Bitter Valentine

1.5 oz. Boyd & Blair Vodka
Dash of Hum Herbal Liqueur
.75 oz. St-Germaine
1 oz. Luxardo
Top with 3 dashes Boston Bitters
.25 oz. Lime juice

Shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a dried rose petal.

For a more hands on learning experience, The Rye Bar is hosting a Couple’s Cocktail Class on Valentine’s Day weekend, which is all about enjoying quality time with your significant other while developing romantic craft cocktails and learning essential bar techniques.  Guests will also delight in canapés and small bites, followed by a 3-course meal with cocktail pairings.  At the end, each couple will receive a signature take home gift from The Rye Bar!  For reservations, contact Elisabeth Thomas at (202) 617-2429 or email elisabeth.thomas@capellahotels.com.