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!

The Older Fashioned Cocktail At The Rye Bar

The Rye Bar

Are you a fan of Rye Whiskey cocktails?  I have a confession:  I wasn’t always.  But that has all changed!  Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown’s The Rye Bar has helped to change my opinion by introducing me to a series of specialty rye cocktails, each prepared with one of their featured Rye Whiskey’s and each with its own flavor profile.

The Rye Bar

The Older Fashioned Cocktail recipe features a striking and smooth Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, which has a slightly spicy, yet lighter rye flavor and a long luxurious finish.  This sophisticated Rye combined with the dense and velvety Pedro Hidalgo is truly an explosion of flavor.   The Pedro has hints of raisins, figs and honey which work perfectly with the addition of muddled Luxardo Cherries and oranges.  I was surprised by the complexity of flavors and really enjoyed the sophistication of the drink.

I decided to let you in on the secret of this cocktail.  In fact, I joined forces with staff from The Rye Bar to create a video tutorial with all the steps needed to create the Older Fashioned Cocktail.  Let me know what you think on Twitter!  Tweet me @CapellaDC #TheRyeBar.

Recipe:
1 shot Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
½ ounce Lustau Pedro Ximenez
2 Luxardo Cherries
2 Oranges Slices

A Visit To Washington D.C.’s Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossom Festival

Earlier this month Washington D.C. began the spring celebration of the 101st National Cherry Blossom Festival!  Hundreds and thousands of visitors from all over the world attended this special two week event that began on March 20th and ended April 14th.  During this period I had the chance to watch each cherry bud grow into flowering pieces of art on my way to work.  It was during the days of the peek bloom when I had the opportunity to actually walk through the Tidal Basin, taking photos; admiring the beauty of the trees and interviewing a few Cherry Blossom visitors!

Over two thousand cherry trees arrived in Washington, D.C. as a gift from Tokyo on January 6, 1910.   I could see the remarkable difference between the stunning ancient tree trunks of the original trees versus the more recently planted saplings.  After speaking with one of the ladies at the help desk, she said this season was particularly wonderful because of the great weather during peak bloom.  The cherry blossom trees bloom when the weather reaches above 70 degrees.  But it is the evening time that can’t be missed, as that is when the flowers truly start to flourish.

Cherry Blossom Festival

Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown is located less than 3 miles from the Cherry Blossom Festival, making it the perfect destination for springtime.  I look forward to next years events!  If you join us during the Cherry Blossom Festival be sure to let your Personal Assistant help plan the experience for you.

 

Photo Credit, Sarah Corneal

Opening Capella Washington D.C. Georgetown

Capella Washington DC

I will never forget the memories created the morning of Friday, March 22nd, 2013 when Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown first opened doors to the public!  But before the doors opened the enthusiasm behind-the-scenes reached a fever pitch.  Excitement had been building days prior to opening, with events such as orientation with our corporate leaders, to daily training sessions with department heads from other Capella Hotels and Resorts locations, to our employee Pep Rally event the Thursday before opening!

Each happening made me feel closer and closer to my colleagues, managers and corporate leaders, and gave all of us here at Capella Washington D.C. inspiration and the required tools for success.  I have never been a part of a hotel opening before, but now that I have and as Peter Schoch, VP of Food & Beverage says, “no one will ever take that away from me.”

The morning of Pep Rally was my personal favorite.  I arrived at 8:00 am to ten boxes of Krispy Cream doughnuts and knew it was going to be a great day.  Alex Obertop, General Manager and CAO, Owen Dorsey, opened with some speeches.  They let us know today was a party- not only for the hotel, but also for all of us.

Opening Capella Washington DC

That’s when the marching band arrived!  The band from Dunbar High School in Washington D.C., positioned themselves in the middle of 31st street, outside of the hotel and began their march through the outdoor patio into the main lobby entrance.  From there it was one big celebration.  A fantastic DJ played music and plenty of delicious food from our neighboring restaurant was served.  Everyone was clapping, dancing and smiling.  There was even a great video montage of everything we had done to get to this point— opening a hotel is hard work!  And after all of it, this was just what we needed.  The celebration really was the ultimate kick off to the journey we are now on.  I am so proud of what we’ve created and I am excited for you to experience it for yourself.

To hear more, be sure to follow me, your Capella Washington D.C. Insider, on Facebook & Twitter and keep a look out for my next blog post, featuring an annual spring specialty in Washington D.C.!

Introducing Capella Washington D.C.’s Resident Stylist

April Yvonne Resident Stylist

We are now just a few days from opening!  The past few months I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the most creative people who have all been involved in the opening preparations of Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown.  More recently I had the opportunity to meet our new Resident Stylist April Yvonne.

April Yvonne Resident Stylist

April has been styling since she was a young girl in grade school, which over the years progressed into a part-time gig with her co-workers and friends.  Later, her styling passion and skills transformed into a full time career that has taken her to New York Fashion Week and throughout the world.  Traveling from Tokyo to Buenos Aires and even landing a styling job for Dior, April has developed a keen understanding of fashion and personal style.  In 2010 April brought this fashion knowledge to D.C. and established her blog MyDCStyle.

Recently I had the chance to ask her a couple questions about her role as Capella Washington, D.C.’s Resident Stylist.

What are you most looking forward to about being the Resident Stylist for Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown?

I’m truly looking forward to being a part of an amazing team – which in my opinion is comprised of the best-of-the-best.  There is absolutely nothing like the Capella Washington, D.C. and I’m eager for guests to see first-hand just how fabulous this hotel is.  As the Resident Stylist, I’m excited to work with the guests to bring them the finest fashions and introduce them to the fashion scene in DC.  I also can’t wait to partner with some of the hottest designers to deliver high-end fashion shows for the guests.  There is much more planned and I just can’t wait to get started!

What unique personal style services will you offer for guests?

I am here to fulfill all of their fashion styling needs!  I can arrange exclusive shopping excursions including private after-hours shopping at some of the area’s finest luxury stores or should they wish to remain in the comfort of their suite, I can curate a selection of amazing looks to bring to them to try on and choose from.  I also have a great relationship with many designers (even those based in New York or Paris!), making it a seamless process for me to obtain unique pieces.