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.

A Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown Wedding

Georgetown Wedding 2

With February being Romance Month at Capella Hotels & Resorts, love is in the air and I’m excited to share with you an insider look into the recent marriage of Michael & Kym at Capella Washington, DC!  I can’t think of a more romantic destination to exchange wedding vows than during a rooftop sunset in the heart of historic Georgetown.

Georgetown WeddingFor the full story, I arranged to sit down with our Wedding & Event Specialist, Elisabeth Thomas.  Her insight and storytelling captivated me and I couldn’t help but to share it with you all!  The bride to be arrived at Capella D.C. without any idea that her fiancé had planned an intimate wedding ceremony on the rooftop with their immediate family, followed by a catered reception in our luxurious Presidential Suite.  She thought the two of them were just exchanging vows with an officiant on the rooftop.   Instead, the groom surprised her with some of his and her favorite things; family, friends, Calla lilies, champagne and layered vanilla & chocolate cake!

Elisabeth worked exclusively with the groom to make sure every detail came together perfectly.   One of Elisabeth’s favorite moments was the mother-of-the-bride surprise arrival as Kym was getting ready.  Elisabeth mentioned that the best time to organize a surprise like this is always before the bride puts on her makeup – there will certainly be tears!  Another special moment were the Calla lily bouquets, Kym’s favorite flower, which were arranged around the Presidential Suite reception along with canapés and cocktails that made for a scrumptious celebration.  I get the chills just thinking about how special and loved Kym must have felt upon discovering these details.

Georgetown Wedding 2This story is dear to my heart because it marks the first rooftop wedding love story at Capella D.C since opening in March, 2013.  If you happen to be planning your anniversary, birthday celebration, Valentine’s Day, or your own Georgetown Wedding, I know you will love and appreciate the outstanding attention that Elisabeth and our service professionals will provide to you every step of the way.  In fact, for those of you considering a romantic getaway in the Nation’s Capital, I would like to invite you to review our specials and experiences available Valentine’s Day Weekend!   Might I also suggest a romantic dinner for two at The Grill Room on Valentine’s Day, featuring a secret love potion intermezzo to kick off the 4-course menu?

For more information about weddings and romantic celebrations in February and beyond, be sure to contact Elisabeth Thomas directly at elisabeth.thomas@capellahotels.com or by calling (202) 617-2429.

4 Tips to a Healthier 2014 From Your Capella DC Insider

Tips To a Healthier You

The New Year means new resolutions, and of course some of the most popular resolutions are wellness related.  Jumping on that bandwagon, I decided to take a look around Georgetown and Capella Washington, D.C. to find some fun ways to incorporate health into every day life in 2014.  There is so much to do here and coming up with some ideas was easy!  Here are my 4 tips to a healthier 2014:

Tips To a Healthier You

1.  Warm Water Therapy
Studies have shown that warm water treatment lowers blood pressure, relieves fatigue, repairs tissue faster, and relieves pain.  I couldn’t agree more and fortunately for me, the heated rooftop pool here at Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown is just a few steps away!  I can’t think of anything more relaxing than warmth, water movement and buoyancy of the infinity pool.  Sounds simple, but I can assure you that after this therapeutic activity your body will feel incredible.  Not to mention, you won’t need to worry about distractions since the rooftop is exclusive to guests only.

2.  Fruit & Vegetable Juicing
Juicing is a fun & easy way to shower your body with concentrated amounts of nutrient-packed vegetables and fruits, minerals, and antioxidants.  The Grill Room’s Juice Bar offers an assortment of fresh squeezed juices, which are my great when I am feeling rundown.  One of my absolute favorites is the green apple, lemon, and spinach.  Here’s the recipe for you to try at home:

Ingredients:
2 Green Apples
Half a Lemon
Handful of Spinach

Directions: Use your juicer to extract the juices from each ingredient.  Stir together and enjoy.  Try to make sure your ingredients are cold before juicing to ensure an extra delicious cold, crisp flavor.

3.  Pilates
Of course one of the keys to getting healthy is getting active.  Pilates is a great workout that can be tailored to most fitness levels and does a great job of addressing your whole body.  Here at Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown, we’ve joined forces with Fuse Pilates to redefine how travelers exercise while on the road.  Guests at the hotel can choose to workout with a dedicated instructor in the privacy of their room or they can head to the rooftop for morning sunrise Pilates classes.

4.  Get Outside
There is nothing better than combining fresh air with physical activity.  And here is Georgetown, the C&O Canal is the perfect backdrop.  Best part?  It is located just outside Capella’s doors!  There is so much to experience on the canal including hiking, biking, jogging, riding horses, and observing wildlife while building a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit.

I hope you enjoyed my insider tips for wellness as we ring in 2014!  For more information on any of these activities contact your Capella Personal Assistant at 202-617-2415 or e-mail pa.dc@capellahotels.com.

Happy New Year!

Christmas Shopping In Georgetown

Wink

Christmas season is one of my favorite times of the year!  Washington D.C. does holidays right and I love to explore and shop the streets of Georgetown- just outside Capella Washington D.C.’s door!  To make your gift shopping a bit easier, I have some ideas and style tips just for you from a few of my favorite shops in Georgetown!

Wink

Wink

This boutique carries some of the best local designer fashions.  From gold blazers to sequenced skirts and vintage necklaces, there are so many great gift options for the holidays.   Owner, Paige Speyer shared with me her tip for this season: “Spice it up in the city with a wintery hat and bright scarf.  Don’t be afraid to step outside the box just because you think you’re being over the top.”  Paige was wearing a gorgeous teal and lapis blouse, two colors that she says are in this season!

Karen Millen- England

This luxury women’s designer store is one of my favorites, especially after taking a look at their new collection of holiday dresses.  After speaking with the store stylist, she shared with me that Karen Millen’s holiday styling inspiration comes from their autumn and winter fantasy story, focusing on the maximalism trend.  “It is full bodied romance of a dark and tough nature with a penchant for extravagant decoration and embellishment, intricate baroque patterns, and laces that are heavily beaded in deep colors.” Their new fashion line is perfect for all holiday dressing and embodies the maximalist trend for your holiday wardrobe.

Jack Spade

Each year for the holidays, Jack Spade features a table in their store with unique gift ideas for men.  This year, they are featuring a vintage throwback game: a miniature ping pong table!   Jack Spade also carries a variety of great outerwear pieces that can be spiced up a notch with a Santa hat for Christmas.  When speaking with the store manager, he told me that they try to focus on classic sensibility with a quirky twist.  What also impressed me was the lifetime quality of their wax cotton jackets… great gift for the men this season!

April Yvonne

Don’t forget to ask your Personal Assistant about Capella D.C.’s resident stylist, April Yvonne.  April has exclusive relationships with some of the most upscale fashion labels like Burberry, Christian Dior, Elie Tahari and upscale retailers such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.  Particularly for the holidays, April can provide you and your guests with personal fashion and shopping advice and services, including private after-hour shopping excursions and bringing fashion selections based on your individual preferences right to the hotel!

Where do you like to go Christmas shopping in Georgetown?