Capella DC Staycation Tips for the Fall Season

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Summer vacations may be behind us, but weekends in September and October are one of my favorite times to experience the DC Metro area.  So much, I have decided to plan a staycation here at Capella Washington, D.C. Georgetown!  To do so, I’ve turned to my colleagues and D.C. natives for some of their most favorite activities and inspirations.

DC Staycation Tips:

Michael Katigbak, Capella D.C.’s Director of Sales & Marketing and his wife Courtney have lived in the city for many years, so I could not wait to hear their recommendations:

  • Walk to the Key Bridge Boathouse in Georgetown to rent kayaks for a smooth drift down the Potomac River and down to Roosevelt Island, the best way to see how the river shapes its physical form and influences its wildlife.
  • Head to the Georgetown’s infamous West End Cinema to watch some of the best international films with a beer or a glass of crisp wine (also, the popcorn is a must! It’s rated the best in D.C.!)
  • Check out Union Market, located about 20 minutes from Capella on New York Avenue, but totally worth the trip!  While you’re there, grab a bite to eat, like the lobster rolls and Korean empanadas
  • Relax at Meridian Hill Park on a Sunday afternoon while enjoying a picnic by the well known drum circle, where DCists bring their favorite instrument to entertain passers by

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Potomac River

Jason, one of Capella D.C.’s wonderful Sales Managers and his seven-year-old son Isaac love family activities.  Some of their favorites include:

  • Saturday afternoons at the National Building Museum, where children and adults can both learn about architecture, design and engineering.  The museum also has specific programs for children with a staff member dedicated to curating these programs.  There are also special exhibits throughout the year.  See them by clicking here
  • The Discovery Theater (part of Smithsonian), for a variety of exhibitions, collections and cultural experiences contained on the National Mall.  This museum is great for children ages 2-16
  • Following a fun day at the museums, check out Chef Geoff’s, where you will find a delicious menu for adults as well as kids just a short walk from the mall’s museums
  • Last but not least, you must stop by Pinstripes in Georgetown for an afternoon of bowling and bocce ball over lunch or dinner right next door to Capella D.C.

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National Building Museum

The opportunities and experiences are endless and I am so grateful to my team for giving me these wonderful suggestions!  With my reservation on the books, I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend.  I also cannot forget to mention how excited I am to swim in the rooftop heated infinity pool and sip a cocktail from the lounge!  You can’t beat the feeling of exclusivity and outstanding views of our Nation’s Capital from the rooftop.

For more personalized recommendations and for information on planning your staycation experience be sure to contact one of our Personal Assistant’s at 202-617-2415 or e-mail pa.dc@capellahotels.com.

Baked and Wired – A Georgetown Must!

Baked & Wired Cakecups Resized

There is certainly no shortage of coffee and cupcake shops in Washington, but one of my absolute favorites is a local gem in Georgetown known as Baked and Wired.  Sometimes you need that extra boost and on those days, my colleagues and I know exactly where to go.  Most visitors never notice the shop; located on an off the beaten path on Thomas Jefferson St, just south of the canal in Georgetown.  But locals know, the variety of homemade baked goods, breakfast items, ice cream sandwiches, coffee and tea will have you hooked in no time!

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All of the baked goods are made in small batches with the finest ingredients so you can truly taste the quality.  They even offer gluten free and vegan friendly items for those following strict diets!  I love their signature Cakecups.  Described as “whimsical, rustic and delicious,” I highly suggest the Carrot Cake, Unicorns & Rainbows, Red Velvet and Texas Sheetcake.

Similar to The Grill Room at Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown, Baked and Wired uses locally sourced ingredients, like their fresh milk and cream from Kreider Farms of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  The fresh dairy products are seriously the secret behind the most delicious lattes, macchiatos and cappuccinos.

Baked & Wired Cakecups Resized

The breakfast quiche are dangerously good and another favorite of mine.  In fact, I’ve made it a tradition to treat myself to a “Manly” every other Friday.  This quiche has bacon, sausage and Gruyere cheese in a creamy egg custard and homemade crust.  There’s also a caramelized onion & goat cheese and mixed veggie quiches, which are both scrumptious.  You must taste one the next time you’re staying at Capella D.C.

Quiche Menu Baked & Wired Resized

With the fall season just around the corner, my friends at the shop gave me a sneak peek of what’s in store.  First, we can look forward to homemade “Chider,” a mix of chai and apple cider.  Next up, pumpkin doughnut muffins and pumpkin swirl brownies, I cannot wait!

Baked and Wired has become so popular at our hotel that we have even offered specialty cakecups as a sweet treat and welcome amenity for Capella guests.  Be sure to let your Personal Assistant know your preference so they can make sure you have it to enjoy each time you come back.  For more mouth watering updates, be sure to follow Baked and Wired on Instagram.

Like what you see? Stay tuned each month as I share insider experiences and recommendations.  As always, you can follow me, your Capella DC Insider, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Get To Know Ethan: A Capella Washington, D.C. Personal Assistant

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Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down with Ethan, a fantastic Capella Washington, D.C. Personal Assistant.  Around here, Ethan is known for being both clever and genuine.  As Ethan will be leaving the team for college shortly, I thought this was the perfect time to hear a bit about his experience as a Personal Assistant.

D.C. Personal Assistant

Tell me about yourself. What are two experiences that have made you who you are today?

I am 19 years old and come from a family that has always been involved in public service. My aunt was Ted Kennedy’s foreign policy advisor for a large number of years and my parents own a gas station in Pennsylvania. I’ve grown up seeing guest interactions firsthand and have always had a passion for business, especially the dynamic industries where no two days are alike.  Guests come and go, but you want to make a memorable impression on them and that’s what draws me to hospitality.

Can you tell me about a time where you planned and executed a memorable and unique experience for our guests here at Capella Washington, D.C.?

We had an influential author and his family who expressed interest in taking a tour of Washington, D.C.  They originally were looking at the big bus and the old town trolley, but I told them that the best way to tour the city is by foot underneath the city lights.  I put together a walking guide that started out on the Potomac River Waterfront, to the National Mall and everything in-between. I made sure to include unique destinations that they would not find on the Internet, such as the Watergate complex, giving insight on the Nixon Scandal and many more destinations sharing Washington’s history.  The guest loved how we personalized all the information, with walking directions, maps and suggestions. The next day, the author signed a copy of his book to show his appreciation. I love having guests that stay with us for more than three days for instance. This is when you really have the opportunity to learn about them and establish a connection to give them that home away from home feeling.

Ethan Personal Assistant CWDC

How do you wow a guest?

I think you wow a guest by what you do when they are not around.  Often times it is the least verbally appreciated things we do, but it’s those little things over the course of the stay that establishes that wow factor.  Getting it right on the first try and picking up on small details is crucially important.

Being so young and hungry, what motivates you about working at Capella D.C.?

I believe in the product. I think it’s really easy to work hard when you love your job. You love your job when you really believe in it. When you have a property as amazing as this and a team as great as this it comes naturally. Each one of us goes above and beyond for every single guest and that’s what inspires me to keep striving for success.

What will you take away most with you from Capella D.C. experience when you move onto hotel school at Cornell?

I will always live, breathe and sleep by the Capella Canon (A card that each employee carries everyday that aligns each of us behind the philosophy and mission of Capella Hotels & Resorts). The knowledge of hotel objectives and taking the time to understand individuals and personalize their experiences is something I will never forget.

What advice can you give to future guests of Capella?

The happiest guests who stay with us are the ones who take the time to speak with their Personal Assistant prior to their arrival. In order to be certain that we have all our guests’ preferences and details, the guest conversation is very important. When your Personal Assistant calls you, these few minutes can make the difference between having transportation arrangements, personalized newspapers in your room, refreshment center stocked with your favorite food and drinks and even a family photo to welcome you. Our service will always be exceptional, but with the support of guest preferences, we can tailor your experience in a personalized way, just how you like it.  This is what we consider luxury.

For more information about Capella Personal Assistant services and how to get in touch with them, please e-mail pa.dc@capellahotels.com or call 202-617-2416.

Behind the Scenes at the Rye Bar Cocktail Class

Rye Bar Limeade

This summer the Rye Bar at Capella D.C. introduced its’ signature Cocktail Series, led by head bartender Angel Cervantes.  Held monthly on Saturday’s, this social event is full of cocktail creations, experiments and tastings all while learning the tricks of the Rye Bar trade from Angel himself.  I finally had the chance to attend myself and can’t wait to share a few of my favorite moments:

Rye Bar Limeade

The class consisted of about 15 guests including Angel, spaciously seated in Capella’s luxurious Executive Boardroom.  The first cocktail Angel created to kick off the class was his signature shared “Rye Limeade,” using a fifth of Filibuster Rye and bittersweet red liqueur, Campari.  This concoction was a fan favorite and set the tone perfectly for the rest of the class (see full recipe below).

To be the best at home bartender you need a few simple tools to mix, strain, squeeze, and infuse your cocktail.  Angel supplied all these tools for us to use, which definitely made a difference in the overall flavor and consistency of the cocktail!

Rye Bar Cocktail Series

Without giving too much away, Angel shared with us the four elements of a handcrafted cocktail.  Each one adds depth and flavor that you can’t find on your average bar menu.  There are plenty of amazing places in D.C. to find a fantastic cocktail, but Angel really sets the Rye Bar apart using Rye Whiskey as the focal point, and three other signature elements to naturally balance flavors.  Simultaneously Angel is generating new awareness and likability with Rye cocktails with many cocktailians traveling to the Nation’s Capital.

Rye Bar Limeade

Filibuster Rye 1 ½ oz

Lime Juice ½ oz

Campari ½ oz

Lavender Infused Simply Syrup 1 oz

To reserve your seats at the next Rye Bar Cocktail Class, be sure to contact your Capella Events team at 202-617-2429 or e-mail elisabeth.thomas@capellahotels.com.  Get ready to experience how to create the wow factor in your cocktails and taste flavors that are exciting and unique to your palate.  Following the cocktail class is an excellent 3-course dinner with cocktail pairings in The Grill Room as well a signature Rye Bar takeaway gift!

Summer’s Freshest Food Finds at The Grill Room

The Grill Room Chesapeake Rockfish

When I dine at Capella Washington, D.C.’s The Grill Room, one thing is for certain.  The food put in front of me is always composed of the freshest ingredients available. This summer I’ve had the pleasure to be introduced to a variety of locally sourced dishes that have kept me feeling nutritious and fit!  In the spirit of bikini season and health awareness, I want to take a moment to share three fresh food finds being offered at The Grill Room this summer…

Starter: Roasted peach & burrata with hydroponic lettuce, sprouts and drizzled with lavender honey vinaigrette

This dish is full of sweet and savory flavors, and makes for the perfect summertime appetizer.  The Grill Room peaches are locally sourced from Crown Orchard in Charlottesville, Virginia as well as Fifer Orchards in Delaware.  The Maryland Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream from Kreider Farms in Lancaster, PA.

Roasted Peach & Burrata

Lunch Entrée: Jumbo lump crab cake sandwich with tomato, avocado and tarter sauce in between a brioche bun with cracked rye.

This sandwich is full of Chesapeake Bay jumbo lump blue crabmeat from The Crab Place in Crisfield, Maryland. Known for its sweet taste and hearty texture, the meat from the blue crab is a true taste sensation. This premium grade crabmeat consists of whole lumps of white meat from the body of the crab with absolutely no shell or cartilage.  This has to be one of my favorite summer dishes using one of Maryland’s finest treasures.  Enjoy this with a cold glass of La Crema Chardonnay.

The Grill Room Crabcake Sandwich

Dinner Entrée: Chesapeake Bay Rockfish with parsley & celery broth, artichoke & tomato ragout topped with bacon.

Rockfish is the official fish of the state of Maryland, one of Washington, D.C.’s close neighbors.  It is considered a delicacy to many natives due to its firm texture and mild, sweet flavor.  Anything with artichokes in my opinion is absolutely delicious, especially when topped with the tomato ragout, herb and vegetable broth, and a hint of bacon.

The Grill Room Chesapeake Rockfish

I hope you enjoy these wonderful dishes for a quick weekday lunch or weekend date night this summer.  Don’t forget to reserve your seat on the outdoor patio adjacent to the C&O Canal!  For the complete menu, be sure to visit www.thegrillroomdc.com.  For reservations, call 202-617-2424.

 

Screen On The Green At The National Mall

Screen On The Green

Summer has finally arrived and there’s no better place to be than the Nation’s Capital!  Every year I count down the days until summer along with all of the activities it brings.  One of the most popular summer happenings among the locals and visitors alike is Screen on the Green, a chance to watch classic films hosted by HBO and Comcast on a gigantic movie screen on the National Mall overlooking the United State Capitol Building.

Screen On The Green

This complimentary outdoor event goes a little something like this: Gather a few of your friends on Monday night and head to the Mall around 5 or 6 pm to get a good seat.  Bring a blanket (no chairs) and a picnic basket for dinner and some dessert. Next, watch the sunset over the Capitol Building as you anxiously wait for the movie to begin.  My favorite moments are gazing up at the stars while the movie is rolling and seeing all the happy faces surrounding me.  This event makes for a fantastic summer evening and perfect way to enjoy this beautiful landmark, attracting over 15,000 people to each showing since 1999.

The schedule is out for this summer; take a look at the lineup:

July 21 – The Karate Kid (1984)

July 28 – Lover Come Back (1961)

August 4 – Key Largo (1948)

August 11 – A Soldier’s Story (1984)

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The best way to get to the National Mall is by Metro.  The closest stations are Archives/Navy Memorial, Smithsonian and L’Enfant Plaza.  Public parking is very limited in this part of the city.  On-street parking in Washington, DC is restricted during the evening rush hour.

Of course, if you are a guest at Capella Washington, D.C. you Personal Assistant can arrange both the picnic supplies and the ride.  For more information contact your Personal Assistant at 202-617-2400 or e-mail pa.dc@capellahotels.com.

I will be sure to share my visits to Screen On The Green on Twitter, but you can also follow the hashtag #SOTG2014 for updates.