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.

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!

Washington D.C. Restaurant Week 2013 & Yellow Corn Soup

Washington D.C. Restaurant Week 2013

We might be more than half way through August, but Washington D.C. Restaurant Week 2013 is just getting started!  Beginning today, over 240 Award Winning Washington D.C. restaurants will be serving up specialty three course menus during lunch and dinner.  Each lunch costs just $20.13 and dinner is $35.13.  Restaurant week is one of the best opportunity’s to try out new restaurants at affordable prices.  Of course I’m most excited to announce that The Grill Room at Capella Washington, D.C. will be one of the participating restaurants.  The Grill Room’s Executive Chef, Jakob Esko and the rest of the team are excited to share their Contemporary American inspired menu, featuring organic seasonal ingredients with attendees.

I had the gracious opportunity to step in the kitchen during the menu planning & preparation stages to see what was cooking.  One dish that had me intrigued was the making of the Yellow Corn Soup.  I couldn’t take my eyes off the colossal amount of fresh corn on the cob, fennel, leaks and garlic just simmering away- the aroma was magical!  The colors and combination of flavors was unforgettable and blended perfectly together.  I could not help but ask Chef Jakob for the recipe, and he was kind enough to share it.

 Washington D.C. Restaurant Week 2013

And here it is, for you as well–

Ingredients:
15 ears corn
4 bulb fennel
2 bunch leek
Chicken st0ck ¾ gallon
2 qt cream
1 oz. cumin
1 oz. curry
1.2 oz. smoked paprika
1.4 oz. cayenne
4 cloves garlic
½ lb. butter

Directions:
Dice and then sweat the garlic, leeks and fennel in a pot until translucent.  Add corn and season with paprika, cumin, curry, cayenne and salt.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Add enough chicken stock to almost cover the corn.  Bring to a boil.  Add 2 quarts cream and bring to a boil.  If soup is too liquidy, let it reduce until slightly thickened consistency.  Blend well and strain through a fine-meshed strainer.

For those of you who are not here with us in Washington, D.C. I highly suggest trying this recipe at home.  To all the locals, I encourage you to make your reservations and join us as we celebrate the kickoff of Summer Restaurant Week starting today through August, 30th!

For reservations, please click here or call The Grill Room at 202-617-2424.

Lunch Menu

Dinner Menu

Back-To-School With Capella DC

Capella DC's University Move-In Special

Working at Capella Washington, D.C. has opened my eyes to so many local activities, meet-ups, eateries, venues, historical monuments, unique people and much more.  This month I am most eager to welcome the next generation of university students as the approaching move-in weekends near.  Capella DC is conveniently located approximately ten minutes from native Georgetown Universities, and a short drive from other major colleges like American University. As a matter a fact, you can actually view the historic Georgetown University campus from the rooftop of Capella!  Each of these universities represents so much of the history of Georgetown, D.C. and our entire country.  I can’t imagine a more vibrant location to learn, experience and understand the world than right here in the nation’s capital!

Capella DC's University Move-In Special

I remember this time last year when our initial team began preparing for the grand opening of Capella DC.  News of the upcoming fall semester was spreading quickly and as the weeks went on I remember spotting local students walking the streets of Georgetown, back-to-school shopping and of course breaking for ice cream at one of the local shops on M Street and Wisconsin Avenue.

I know that moving to college can be slightly stressful and frantic, so here are my tips for you to think about as your semester approaches:

1.  Pack lightly and try not to move EVERYTHING you own until you have truly determined the level of space and storage you have available in your place.  There is always time to make purchases after the move is complete rather than buying everything ahead of time.

2.  Remember to have fun while moving and un-packing!  I remember the day of my college move-in my mother made a short video capturing all of our moments together.  This process might seem like a pain, but looking back I know we made great memories that I will forever cherish.

To celebrate and help you cherish this moment, I’m excited to share a very special offer, exclusively for parents and students coming to Washington D.C. this August!  Enjoy your last weekend of summer in style with Capella Washington D.C.’s University Move-In Special, which includes:

  • A welcome amenity bag that includes a Capella journal, pen, water bottle, laundry bag, first aid kit and a personalized Capella magnet with emergency numbers and direct line to your Capella DC Personal Assistant
  • Sport’s Sack
  • $50 gas card presented upon check-out
  • Daily Continental Breakfast for three in The Grill Room
  • Overnight parking
  • Upgrade upon check-in (based on availability)

Parents and family traveling to D.C. now have an amazing opportunity to stay in a hotel that is local, personalized and professionally staffed by your Personal Assistant to manage all the weekend arrangements.

For more information on this exclusive offer, click here or e-mail us at res.dc@capellahotels.com.

I look forward to hearing about your story! Share your experience and photos with me during your stay on Instagram @CapellaDC!

The Grill Room: A Transformation

The Grill Room

I will never forget the preopening phase of Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown and all the incredible work that was put in to creating this magnificent property.  Being a food and restaurant lover, I was also interested in the creation of The Grill Room and how exactly the designers would transform an empty space into an ultra-luxury restaurant.  I began to take short videos of the construction back in December. Each week I would take another video in the same place and throughout the different spaces so I would be able to create a time lapse when The Grill Room was complete.  Never could I have imagined that the space would turn out as spectacularly as it has!

The Grill Room

It is great to now see The Grill Room (and The Rye Bar) bustling with action from locals and visitors alike.  Executive Chef, Jakob Esko and his skilled culinary team are spinning out local contemporary American dishes and specializing in, bone-in meats and side table preparations that have to be experienced.  I can’t wait for you to have a taste for yourself!

But in the meantime take a look at what went into creating this signature space:

www.thegrillroomdc.com
Reservations: 202-617-2424

Capella DC’s Luis Colmenares

Luis Colemenares

Mr. Colmenares, how do I even begin?  Luis Colmenares is the most whimsical, funny, friendly and caring friends I’ve ever met.  His smile, contagious laughter and personality instantly brighten your day.  As the Lead Personal Assistant and Chief Concierge at Capella Washington D.C., Luis heads the hotel’s team of personal assistants and is charged with ensuring that guests’ individual tastes and expectations are fully satisfied.

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Anytime any of our team members or guests needs a suggestion for activities, hot new places to eat/drink, or a new happening event in town, Luis never hesitates and has the best suggestions!   I remember going out to dinner together at one of his favorite restaurants in D.C. and every single server, bartender and manager knew Luis and treated him like he was family.  Having served as concierge at the Capital Hilton Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the Mandarin Oriental and the Hotel Monaco, Colmenares’ knowledge of how Washington works in unparalleled.

I felt so honored to be able to sit down and interview Luis.  He is a legend in the industry and was recognized as “Concierge of the Year” in the 2012 Where Magazine Silver Plume Awards, one of the highest awards in the industry!  Working together the past seven months has been amazing and I wanted to share some insider details with you about our favorite D.C. Concierge!

Luis Colemenares

How long have you lived in D.C.?

I’ve been in D.C. for 26 years. I consider myself a native, and love the European flair of D.C. and how and easy and accessible it is to get around!

What is your favorite hobby?

I LOVE to cook everything and anything! I am not picky but when I do get homesick I like to eat black beans, rice, fried plantains, pulled beef and the lovely Arepas that my mom used to make me growing up in Venezuela.

What is one of the most unique experiences you’ve had with a guest in your career?

I will never forget when I had a guest request a live violinist playing when they walked into their room for the first time- taking “setting the mood” to the next level!

What are the top two requests you get most often from guests?

Touring the White House & The Bureau Of Printing and Engraving.

What is your favorite newspaper?

The Sunday New York Times- the arts, travel, and book review sections are fabulous! This is one of my ultimate favorite things to do, especially with a cup of tea!