A Visit To Pigeon Island National Landmark

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With the rainy season almost over, I find myself eager to explore the beaches of Saint Lucia.  The Pigeon Island National Landmark located in Gros Islet, is one of the island’s most important attractions and is as beautiful as it is historically significant.  On my recent visit I had a chance to get to know the park a bit better.

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The Pigeon Island National Landmark or National Park as it is sometimes called, portrays vivid representations of historical and cultural monuments, depicting the battle for control of the island between the English and the French.  This breathtaking, 44 acre park was originally an island in its own right, but was joined to the mainland in 1972 by a man-made causeway.

I did not know that this landmark held so much history and was even more amazed as I walked through this living museum.  I discovered some of the ruins from the war and immediately thought that this would be an excellent location for colonial-style weddings.

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There is an Interpretation Centre that tells you all about the war and how The French in 1778 declared war on the British but then lost.  The battle for The Helen of the West which is sometimes used interchangeably for Saint Lucia continued for fourteen years.  The British built a Naval Base at Gros-Islet Bay, which protected Pigeon Island from being captured.   At that lookout point, they were able to observe the French fleet in Martinique which lead to the defeat of the French at the Battle of the Saints in 1782.  Further into the park, you will find a secluded restaurant at the water’s edge serving locally caught seafood, a hidden pub amongst the ruins and a look out point called The Fort with the best views of the northern part of the island.

I love the white sands of the beaches nearby and the way the grounds are so well maintained.  Many major cultural festivals are held in the opening space including the well known Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival.  I was so happy to have discovered that this relaxing location is only a twenty minute drive from Marigot Bay as I knew I wanted to come back here very soon.

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Would you like to visit the Pigeon Island National Landmark?  Be sure to ask your Capella Marigot Bay Personal Assistant to arrange your special tour to the live museum.   And be sure to stay tuned as I continue to share insider experiences with you about the lovely island of Saint Lucia.  

A Visit to Singapore’s Little India

Inside the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple

I had the chance to visit Singapore’s Little India this weekend. I love how Little India is just bustling with excitement and activity. The vibrantly coloured temples, together with the unmistakeable scent of exotic spices stimulate the senses, are truly an incredible experience.

In order to make the most out of my time in Little India, I set out to accomplish two main things: firstly, to take in the sights, sounds and scents of the district by walking through the famous historical five-foot walkways and secondly, to visit and appreciate one of the local Hindu temples.

I started my journey at Serangoon Road, the main thoroughfare of Little India, taking my time to wander through the little streets.  There are so many meandering walkways and streets that one could venture off into. Along the streets there are many little stalls selling floral garlands. These garlands,  which are used as a form of offering and adornment for the Hindu deities, are truly beautiful – handmade and created with fresh brightly coloured flowers.

Colourful garland stalls can be found all over Little India

Colourful garland stalls can be found all over Little India

I also enjoyed admiring the colourful animated altars that sat prominently on street corners and outside of Hindu-owned shops.

The Hindu god Ganesha is one of the more popular gods that can be seen in little altars around Little India

The Hindu god Ganesha is one of the more popular gods that can be seen in little altars around Little India

After taking my time exploring the effervescent streets of Little India, I decided to spend the next part of my afternoon in one of Singapore’s most famous Hindu temples, the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. Located along Serangoon Road, Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple is one of the oldest temples in Singapore, built by Indian immigrants who came to work and live here in Singapore in the 1800s. The choice of deity, Sri Veeramakaliamman as the chief deity is also significant.  In the pioneer days, Indian immigrants experienced many hardships and obstacles.  Sri Veeramakaliamman is seen as a goddess who destroys evil and therefore worshiped for her power to help them overcome their struggles and challenges.

Inside the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple

Inside the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple

Visiting the temple was really an eye-opener. Life-like deities filled the temple with dedicated devotees paying homage to them. There was a distinct smell of incense in the air as the priests lit bowls of fire and incense to honour the gods and goddesses.

Little India has since become one of my favourite places to recommend to visitors. Its distinct character so far removed from the skyscrapers that fill the Marina Bay skyline and the air-conditioned malls of Orchard Road. It is a place where time has learnt to stay still, and, hopefully, for many years to come.

Little India is an easy 25-minute drive from Capella Singapore. Our Personal Assistants will be able to assist to organise tours and transport for you. They can be reached at +65 6591 5034/35 / pa.singapore@capellahotels.com.

 

Baked and Wired – A Georgetown Must!

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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.

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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.

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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.

A Visit To The New Singapore Sports Hub

The new 55,000-seater National Stadium

Since it opened on 30 June 2014, the Singapore Sports Hub was on my must-visit radar.  So, when I found out that The Singapore Selection was playing Juventus Football Club in a friendly match on 16 August 2014, I made it a point to buy tickets so that I could enjoy the new National Stadium, which is part of the Hub, and support our Singapore team at the same time.

I must say that when I arrived at the 35-hectare Singapore Sports Hub, I was quickly swept away by the excitement and flurry that filled the air.  There were football fans getting ready to enter the National Stadium to support the Home team, there were diners, shoppers, families and the curious – like me.  All keen and eager to visit our new national sports icon.

The Singapore Sports Hub comprises a wide range of venues, namely, a 55,000-capacity National Stadium, 6,000-capacity Aquatics Centre, 3,000-capacity Sports Arenas, a Water Sports Centre, a Library and about 41,000 sqm of retail and dining space.  Before the big game, I decided to roam the shopping and dining area named the Kallang Wave.  A huge shopping centre featuring a wide range of international fashion brands, sports wear as well as a large variety of dining choices, I easily lost track of time in the mall!

Just before the match began, I quickly made my way to the National Stadium.  The best part about the new Sports Hub is how close the National Stadium is to the shopping mall.  It took just five minutes to get from the shopping mall to my seat!  How convenient!

The new 55,000-seater National Stadium

The new 55,000-seater National Stadium

When I entered the National Stadium, I was blown away.  The 55,000-seater stadium was unlike anything else in Singapore. Featuring the world’s largest free-standing dome, the National Stadium also boasts a retractable roof and customisable, mechanised and automated retractable seating configurations on the lowest tier making it suitable to host a wide range of sports, concerts and other events.

What I found the most breathtaking was the view of the city skyline and the water.  How magnificent!  How beautiful!

The view of the Central Business District from the new National Stadium

The view of the Central Business District from the new National Stadium

While the Singapore Selection lost to Juventus Football Club, I left content.  I felt happy that I had the opportunity to visit this amazing stadium and be part of history, watching the first ever football game played in the new National Stadium.

Upcoming concerts and events held at the National Stadium include:

Mariah Carey, “Me. I am Mariah”, Friday, 24 October 2014
Jay Chou, “Opus 2 Jay 2014 World Tour”, Saturday, 8 November 2014
Asia Pacific Dragons vs Maori All Blacks XV’s Match, Saturday, 15 November 2014
One Direction, “On the Road Again”, Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Click here for more details and listings

If you are staying at Capella Singapore during any one of these periods, I strongly recommend contacting our Personal Assistants who will be able to assist with ticket bookings and transport.  They can be reached at +65 6591 5034/35 / pa.singapore@capellahotels.com.

A Visit To The Longest Bar In The World

Altstadt - Bolkerstr.

As you surely know from our previous posts on the Capella Blog, Dusseldorf is home to what is known as the Longest Bar In The World. The Old Town was not given this name because of a single bar simply stretching several miles, but rather because of the numerous bars and restaurants, night clubs and breweries located there. That’s why our Personal Assistants here at Breidenbacher Hof, a Capella Hotel recommend spending at least one evening exploring Dusseldorf’s vibrant Old Town.

And, to help you make use of your time, here is how I would spend an evening in Dusseldorf’s Old Town and discovering the Longest Bar In The World:

First, I always make sure to start the evening with a delicious dinner. If you feel like having a traditional German dish, you should start at an Altbier brewery like Zum Schlüssel or Im Goldenen Kessel and enjoy the Rhenish pot roast. If you prefer something more Mediterranean, the Schneider-Wibbel-Gasse, which is located within walking distance of the hotel, offers multiple Spanish restaurants.

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As you can well imagine, an evening in Dusseldorf just wouldn’t be authentic without the region’s specialty – the dark, locally brewed Altbier.  Since every brewery has its own brewing method you should taste an Altbier at several different breweries to find your personal favorite.  Beer not your drink of choice? That’s not a problem, because there are bars like Sausalitos or Louisiana, which are known for their cocktail menus.  If you can manage to arrive before 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. you can even make use of happy hour prices.

Then you can choose to either take a nightly walk along the Rhine or dart for the nightlife in the Old Town. If you choose to experience the nightlife the traditional German way you can visit Oberbayern or Antons Bierkönig on Bolker Street – but don’t forget your Lederhosen!  Looking to dance?  There are several nightclubs and bars around that play good music later in the evening. I’m sure, no matter where you choose to go, you will have tons of fun exploring all the Longest Bar In The World has to offer.

Hopefully my vision of the perfect even in Old Town Dusseldorf experiencing the Longest Bar In The World has given you an impression of how vibrant Dusseldorf’s nightlife really is.  During your next visit to Dusseldorf, our Personal Assistants would be happy to assist you in planning your perfect evening out. Once you spend an evening in the Old Town, you will know why the Bolker Street really deserves its reputation as the Longest Bar In The World!

Ein Besuch der Längsten Theke der Welt

Altstadt - Bolkerstr.

Wie Ihr sicher von früheren Posts auf den Capella Blog wisst, beheimatet Düsseldorf die Längste Theke der Welt.  Der Altstadt wurde dieser Name nicht aufgrund einer einzigen zusammenhängenden Theke, die sich über mehrere Meter ausdehnt, gegeben.  Vielmehr erhielt sie ihren Namen aufgrund der vielen Bars, Restaurants, Diskotheken und Brauereien, die sich hier befinden.  Aus diesem Grund empfehlen unsere Persönlichen Assistenten hier im Breidenbacher Hof, a Capella Hotel jedem Gast mindestens einen Abend damit zu verbringen, die pulsierende Altstadt zu erkunden.

Um dafür zu sorgen, dass Eure Zeit bestmöglich genutzt wird, erzähle ich Euch nun, wie ich persönlich meinen Abend in der Düsseldorfer Altstadt gestalten würde, um die Längste Theke der Welt zu erleben:

Zuerst starte ich immer mit einem leckeren Abendessen in den Abend.  Wenn Ihr Lust auf traditionelle deutsche Gerichte habt, solltet Ihr in einer Altbierbrauerei wie Zum Schlüssel oder Im Goldenen Kessel starten und unbedingt den Rheinischen Sauerbraten probieren.  Falls Ihr etwas Mediterranes vorzieht, bietet die Schneider-Wibbel-Gasse, die nur einige Gehminuten vom Hotel entfernt ist, eine Auswahl an spanischen Restaurants.

Altstadt - Bolkerstr.

Aber wie Ihr Euch sicherlich vorstellen könnt, wäre ein Abend in Düsseldorf einfach nicht authentisch ohne die Spezialität unserer Region – das dunkle, lokal gebraute Altbier.  Und weil jede Brauerei ihr ganz eigenes Brauverfahren hat, solltet ihr auf jeden Fall ein Altbier in verschiedenen Brauereien testen, um so Euren persönlichen Favoriten zu finden.  Bier ist nicht Euer Getränk?  Das ist kein Problem, denn es gibt zahlreiche Bars wie Sausalitos oder Louisiana, die für ihre große Cocktailauswahl bekannt sind.  Falls Ihr es einrichten könnt vor 19 oder 20 Uhr dort zu sein, könnt Ihr sogar von den Happy Hour Preisen Gebrauch machen.

Danach könnt Ihr den Abend entweder entspannt bei einem nächtlichen Spaziergang am Rhein ausklingen lassen oder Euch in das Nachtleben Düsseldorfs stürzen.  Falls Ihr Schlager präferiert, könnt Ihr im Oberbayern oder Antons Bierkönig auf der Bolkerstraße zu Eurer Lieblingsmusik tanzen.  Doch es gibt auch zahlreiche Diskotheken und Bars in denen verschiedenste andere Musikrichtungen gespielt werden.  Ich bin mir sicher, egal wo Ihr Euch entschließt hinzugehen, Ihr werdet einen riesen Spaß dabei haben alles zu erkunden, was die Längste Theke der Welt zu bieten hat.

Hoffentlich hat Euch meine Darstellung des perfekten Abends in der Altstadt zum Erkunden der Längsten Theke der Welt einen Eindruck davon gegeben, wie lebhaft Düsseldorfs Nachtleben wirklich ist.  Während Eurem nächsten Aufenthalt in Düsseldorf helfen unsere Persönlichen Assistenten gerne dabei, Euren eigenen perfekten Abend zu planen.  Denn nur wenn Ihr einen Abend in Düsseldorfs Altstadt verbringt wisst Ihr, warum die Bolkerstraße ihren Ruf als Längste Theke der Welt wirklich verdient hat!