Get To Know Sean Carney Of Capella Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

Capella Marigot Bay

I am so excited that the latest Capella Hotels and Resorts, Capella Marigot Bay, has arrived in St. Lucia.  Since acquiring the property less than two months ago, Capella has already begun to instill its own brand of elite service under the guidance of interim General Manager, Sean Carney.

Since arriving eight weeks ago, Mr. Carney has hit the ground running and I doubt he’s stopped for even a moment!  I always see him rushing around the property, encouraging and training staff, discussing renovation plans and much more.  Luckily I was able to get him to squeeze in a few minutes for this interview so that you could get to know a bit more about him, Capella Marigot Bay and St. Lucia.

 Capella Marigot Bay

 Mr. Carney, we are so excited to have you here in St. Lucia at the helm of Capella Marigot Bay!  Tell me (and the Capella Blog readers!) a bit about yourself.
Originally from Ireland, I am married to an amazing woman, who is the not so quiet support behind me and we have one boy who just actually turned four years old last month.  Having spent the last 15 years working abroad with some great professionals and organizations has allowed me to gather a wealth of experiences to adapt and change with the various markets that I have been privileged to work in.  Passionate about what I do allows me to do something I enjoy doing on a daily basis and not have to think of it as work.  Meeting our employees and guests from all over the world allows me to get to know different people and cultures that one would not normally be exposed to.  Personally I enjoy swimming and cycling when time permits. Diving is another passion of mine.  I spent a few years also in the volunteer fire departments in Portchester NY and Waikoloa in Hawaii believe it or not.

You’ve been in St. Lucia long enough to get a taste for our beautiful island.  What are your first impressions?
It is a wonderful island with an amazing sense of warmth that flows genuinely from all of the individuals I have encountered.  It is great to see people from all walks of life coming together in Anse La Raye for Fish Friday or Saturday nights in Gros Islet.
The island itself is an amazing place with dense foliage, jungles and mountain scenery.  The breathtaking landscape from the Pitons down to the sea or the gorgeous sunsets here in Marigot Bay make for a picturesque setting everywhere you turn!

I think those are pretty spot-on first impressions!  So, what do you think Capella can bring to the island?
For an island that relies as heavily on tourism as Saint Lucia any positive impact from any organization is well received.  However I believe, Capella will take things further than just another resort.  By bringing its unique service based approach to the hotel, through our Canon and philosophy, we are determined to instill a sense of service confidence that our wonderful Ladies and Gentlemen will be able to match with their own hard work and desire to be the best that they can be.
Additionally, as a company we are always looking to contribute the areas we live in.  We partake in a variety of outreach programs and always look to work with the local community to preserve culture and traditions.  It is important for us to become part of our communities.

I know you’ve been busy, but what are the ways you like to spend downtime in St. Lucia and what activities are you looking forward to trying out?
Marigot Bay is very centrally located, which means all of St. Lucia’s major attractions are at most an hour away.   I love the adventure activities offered — from zip lining, diving, jungle and waterfall hikes to fishing off Marigot Bay.  And yes, I have done the Sulpher springs and covered my self in the black mud as well as relaxing in the hot thermal water!
Another great attraction just five minutes from the hotel is the only distillery left on the island and they do an amazing tour with a few samples at the end.  I have had the privilege of touring the facility with their master blender and tasted some products that they are working on for the future!  Definitely a great experience worth asking your Capella Personal Assistant about.

Last but not least, can you let us in on any details from the upcoming renovation?
Details are still being determined, but I can tell you a few secrets!
The new restaurant will have an extended balcony seating giving a great vantage point for bay view dining and watching the yachts sailing in and out.  This restaurant will feature an open show kitchen and a private dining room with both indoor and outdoor seating as well as some garden seating.
Another new food and beverage outlet will be located near the docks and will include a rum cave for private tastings and chef dinners.  The venue will also serve light fare for lunch and an everyday dinner menu.
The spa will also be transformed. The current fitness center will be moving upstairs and the spa downstairs.  This allows for the creation of a spa village with treatment “huts” in the middle of the garden that will allow for guests to really relax into the surroundings.


You can learn more about the latest Capella Hotels and Resorts HERE.

A Very Special Zeitgeist Award Nomination


As I shared in the past, every three months we present our Zeitgeist Award to an employee who embodies the tenants of our Zeitgeist: exclusivity, loyalty, experience and legacy.  This time, we had an extraordinary nomination from one of our apprentices, Helge Unterweg, who wanted to thank the entire kitchen team here at Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel.  Everybody was so overwhelmed by this nomination that I simply had to share this with you:

Helge Unterweg In The Kitchen“The clock strikes 4:45 in the morning, this is the time the early shift reports to start breakfast service.  Time flies: the buffet is set up and then joyfully serving, serving, serving: Eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs, a battalion of fried eggs, gluten-free pancakes – with enthusiasm the kitchen makes everything our guests desire.  Handling everything with perfect execution.  It is now 9:30am and the next shift arrives.  They support the breakfast service, while starting to arrange the kitchen for lunch, prepping the dish of the day…and then get again joyfully serving, serving, serving – steadily in great mood, because they love what they do.

After lunch (as we all know after service is before service): cleaning the kitchen, and again arranging- now for dinnertime. And all are looking forward to serving, serving, serving!  The night shift arrives punctually to complete the 24 hours cycle.

Along the way and throughout the services much more is happening.  From encouraging the staff with food, signing reports, mentoring an apprentice, writing the service schedule for the next week, making the order for the next day, tasting new dishes, preparing a food show, preparing events, taking part in many meetings…the team completes everything with an impressive passion and affectionate addiction.

Herewith, I nominate the whole kitchen team: the apprentices, the Demi Chefs, the Chefs de Partie, the Junior Sous Chef and the Executive Chef.

Whether we will win the award or not: It is an honor for me to work with you! Thank you.”

Isn’t this beautiful?!  It really paints a beautiful picture of the behind-the-scenes of our kitchen team.

Meet Breidenbacher Hof’s Tobias Schall

Tobias Schall 2

Tobias Schall is Director of Rooms here at Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel.  I was always curious what the position encompasses, so I thought I would take this opportunity to learn a bit more.  I found out that he has a very exciting and vital position—full of responsibilities.  Undoubtedly you will be as impressed as I was.

Breidenbacher Hof's Tobias Schall

In your role as Director of Rooms what are your duties?

I am responsible for everything that deals directly with the hotel rooms: the front desk, the bell boys, our call center and housekeeping.  I also oversee things like the public domains, including ordering flowers and the like.

What do you like most and how do you motivate yourself?

The contact with our guests is very exciting and dynamic.  Every day there are new wishes and desires to be met. Every morning, I set my own goal: To give our guests a second home and to enthuse them.  This is my motivation.

Have you always dreamed of working in the hotel business?

During 11th grade we had a career day.  The intention was, to find out your own strengths and weaknesses to discover the perfect job.  I found out that I perfectly fit into the service industry, so I decided to take on an apprenticeship and I loved it!  The hotel business connects a lot of different tasks I like, for example to care about guests, to organize the flow of work and the possibility to work in different countries.

What do you like most about Dusseldorf and the Breidenbacher Hof?

Dusseldorf is my hometown!  My family still lives here and I first heard of the Breidenbacher Hof when I was very young and this huge magnificent building has always fascinated me.  I was working at another Capella Hotels and Resorts property when I heard they would be taking over the Breidenbacher Hof.  I jumped at the chance to work in a hotel with such rich history.

So you have not always lived in Düsseldorf?

No!  After school I moved to Berlin for my apprenticeship in the hotel trade at the hotel Adlon.  From there I worked all over the world.  I’ve also lived in London, Rome, St. Moritz, Washington D.C. and Velden.  Working in this industry has allowed me to see the world!  But it is nice to now be at The Breidenbacher Hof.  I am very happy to be back in my hometown Dusseldorf and near family and friends.  However if a new opportunity arises, I am ready for the adventure.

What is your advice to someone moving to a new country?

Trust the people, who are local. I always got the best advice from the hotel that I went to work for and the people who have already been there for a while. It just makes it much easier than to start from scratch.

What should every visitor to Dusseldorf experience?

The city is full of culture and places to see. Obviously we have the famous “Königsalle”, one of the most known shopping streets in Germany.  And I always send our guests to my favorite local breweries to grab something to eat and to try our legendary Altbier.

Interview mit Tobias Schall – Breidenbacher Hof

Tobias Schall 2

Tobias Schall ist unser Rooms and Devision Manager hier im Breidenbacher Hof, a Capella Hotel. Ich habe mich schon immer gefragt, was genau seine Aufgaben und sein Verantwortungsbereich sind, also habe ich die Chance genutzt, und habe ihn interviewt. Dabei hat sich herausgestellt, dass er eine spannende und zentrale Position hat – mit hoher Verantwortung. Ich bin sicher ihr werdet genau so beeindruckt sein wie ich.

Breidenbacher Hof's Tobias Schall

Du bist im Breidenbacher Hof, a Capella Hotel der Rooms and Devision Manager. Was genau ist deine Funktion und dein Arbeitsbereich?

Ich bin für alles verantwortlich, was mit unseren Zimmern zu tun hat: Rezeption, Pagen, Telefonzentrale, Housekeeping, aber auch Dinge wie die Reinigung der öffentlichen Bereiche sowie die Koordination und Bestellung von Blumen.

Was gefällt dir an deiner Aufgabe am meisten und wie motivierst du dich?

Es ist der Gästekontakt, der unheimlich spannend und abwechslungsreich ist. Jeder Tag bringt neue Dinge, neue Herausforderungen und Wünsche die zu lösen und zu erfüllen sind. Jeden Tag setze ich mir mein Ziel, unseren Gästen ein zweites zu Hause zu bieten und sie zu begeistern. Das motiviert mich!

War es schon immer dein Traum im Hotel zu arbeiten?

In der 11. Klasse gab es bei uns in der Schule einen Berufsfindungstag. Dort wurden persönliche Stärken und Schwächen zusammengefasst und mit unterschiedlichen Berufsbildern abgeglichen. Für mich stellte sich dabei heraus, dass ich gut für die Dienstleistungsbranche geeignet bin. Bis heute hat sich das immer wieder bestätigt. Die Hotellerie bietet Aufgaben und Faktoren, die mir Spaß machen und mir auch gut liegen, wie z.B. sich um die Gäste zu kümmern, Arbeitsabläufe zu organisieren, aber auch die Möglichkeit in verschiedenen Ländern Erfahrungen zu sammeln.

Was gefällt dir an Düsseldorf  und dem Breidenbacher Hof, a Capella Hotel am meisten?

Düsseldorf ist meine Heimat! Meine Familie lebt hier und so hab ich schon sehr früh den Breidenbacher Hof kennengelernt. Er hat mich schon immer fasziniert. Ich habe in einem anderen Capella Hotel gearbeitet, als ich von der Chance hörte im Breidenbacher Hof zu arbeiten. Sofort habe ich diese wahrgenommen.

Das heißt, du hast nicht immer in Düsseldorf gelebt?

Nein. Nach der Schule bin ich nach Berlin gezogen um dort meine Hotelfachausbildung im Hotel Adlon zu beginnen. Danach habe ich überall in der Welt meine Erfahrungen gesammelt. Ich habe in  London gelebt, in Rom, St. Moritz, Washington D.C. und Velden. Die Hotellerie hat es mir ermöglicht, die Welt kennenzulernen. Heute bin ich glücklich im Breidenbacher Hof zu arbeiten und wieder in der Heimat bei Familie und Freunden zu sein. Sollte sich noch einmal die Möglichkeit ergeben, bin ich aber offen für ein neues Abenteuer.

Hast du einen Tipp für jemanden, den es in ein anderes Land zieht?

Vertraue den Einheimischen des Landes. Ich habe selber immer die besten Empfehlungen von den Kollegen in den Hotels bekommen, die schon länger dort wohnen und sich auskennen. Das macht einen Neustart leichter.

Was sollte jeder Besucher Düsseldorfs erleben?

Die Stadt bietet sehr viel Kultur und andere sehenswerte Dinge. Natürlich haben wir die „Königsallee“, Deutschlands berühmteste Einkaufsstraße. Unsere Gäste schicke ich aber auch gerne in die Altstadt, in eine der lokalen Brauereien, um dort etwas zu essen und das bekannte Düsseldorfer Altbier zu kosten.

The Capella Diaries: Diary Of A Housekeeper

Diary of A Housekeeper

One of the most magical things about working in a hotel is witnessing how the whole team works together to meet the personalized needs of all our guests.  This is especially true at Capella Singapore, where we take all our guest preferences to heart.

Diary of A Housekeeper

This episode of the Capella Diaries, I follow Maidin Rhazzamir Nicolas, affectionately known as Rhazz, as he goes about his daily duties as Housekeeping Assistant Manager.  What I discovered during my day with him was remarkable.  Rhazz’ passion, enthusiasm and love for his job was clearly evident, and so was the teamwork and camaraderie that he shared with his colleagues from other departments.  It made me proud to work here at Capella Singapore!

Diary Of A Housekeeper:

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.


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!