Capella Pedregal’s Signature Todos Santos Day Tour

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There are so many wonderful towns in and around Los Cabos and visiting them is something both locals and tourists love to do.  One of the most popular day tours is a trip to the idyllic town Todos Santos, which translates to All Saints.  According to legend, the city takes its name from the saints hung outside local’s homes.  Marina, Capella Pedregal‘s Lead Personal Assistant, invited me to try the Signature Todos Santos Day Tour. I gladly accepted so I could experience it myself and tell you everything you need to know about this unique experience.

rsz_323Fabrizio, certified guide and driver, picked me up at 9:00 am from the hotel in a beautiful Escalade (not a bad way to travel!), and we began our journey.  The town is located about 45 miles north of Cabo San Lucas and is a peaceful and relaxing town that shines for its art community, surfing and unique natural beauties. This small town is an oasis located where the desert meets the ocean and Sierra la Laguna Mountain. The Mexican Tourism Secretary named Todos Santos a “Pueblo Magico” (Magical Town) in recognition of their efforts in keeping the cultural and historical wealth of Mexico. The beauty of this special town has attracted a large number of Mexican and international artists who find inspiration in its surroundings. Todos Santos is now considered a destination for artists, musicians, poets, and surfers.

Our first stop on our way to Todos Santos was to a local blown glass factory, where the glassmakers showed me the process of making a glass heart.  This was especially interesting, because this glass heart is used as decor around Capella Pedregal!  We spent about 30 minutes at the factory, as  I wanted to try and blow glass myself. It was such an interesting process and admittedly, much more difficult than it looked.  Moving forward, I’ll leave it to the experts!

Artist Carlos Diaz Castro , Indigo Gallery

Artist Carlos Diaz Castro , Indigo Gallery

The drive to Todos Santos is complete with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean on one side and the desert and cactus on the other.  Once we got there, our first stop was Hotel California, founded in 1950.  For several years, it was the only bar and hotel and therefore the house for surfers and people looking for a special place to relax and unwind.  The hotel is famous for the Eagles song “Hotel California,” although there are no records or proof that the musicians were actually there.  There is a photo of one of the band members that was taken during his visit to Todos Santos.  If you listen to the song carefully, you find a lot of similarities that make fans believe the hotel is the one.  Each day, tourists go there looking for souvenirs and to listen to the famous song that plays in the gift shop throughout the day.

Steps away, you will find the Mission of Todos Santos, from which the town adopted its name. The mission contains the statue Virgin of Pilar, which is the focus of Todos Santos’ main festival in October each year. A must see!

Sculpture Benito Ortega Vargaz showing us a mold

Sculpture Benito Ortega Vargaz showing us a mold

We continued our tour visiting Indigo Gallery and Galeria Logan were we found artist Jill Logan painting. We also met local sculptor Benito Ortega Vargaz and pottery artist, Ruben Gutierrez.  Every corner of this town has something interesting!  After exploring and enjoying art, we stopped at a traditional Mexican restaurant for lunch.  Fabrizio gave me the option of having some free time for shopping or visiting Cerritos Beach.  I decided to finish the tour with a little of both.  I did not want to miss a thing!

If you are interested in experiencing the local culture of Todos Santos, please be sure to talk to your Personal Assistant at pa.pedregal@capellahotels.com. They would love to help you!

Capella Singapore’s Insider’s Guide To Singapore

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Singapore, often synonymous with its tall skyscrapers and giant shopping centres, also has a rich tapestry of culture and history that is sometimes overlooked.  However, to fully appreciate present day Singapore, it is essential that we look back to the past and appreciate the firm foundations on which our future has been laid.  It was an honour for me to help put together and attend a curated tour of Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam, called the Insider’s Guide to Singapore, especially designed for Capella Singapore’s guests.

The tour began with a visit to Singapore’s oldest temple, Thian Hock Keng temple. While at the temple, I learned how Taoists and Buddhists worship together, side-by-side.  Thian Hock Keng temple, built in 1841, is also significant because, prior to land reclamation, it sat right at the shoreline allowing Chinese sailors to pray to the gods the moment they came ashore.  As sea sojourns in the past were often perilous and fatal, sailors risked their lives to come to Singapore in search of a better life and were so overwhelmed with thanksgiving when they arrived that they donated money and goods to the temple, allowing it to continue operations until present day.

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The two gods of death, 黑白無常 (Heibai Wuchang) work together to bring people to the afterlife. Legend has it that they are easily distracted by cigarettes and alcohol which is why believers leave cigarettes by their altar!

After the temple visit, I had a personalised tour of Little India where I walked through the busy streets taking in the sights, sounds and scents.  The tour shares much about the importance of gold in Indian culture and includes a visit to several old family-run goldsmiths.  Gold, which signifies purity, prosperity and fortune, is still a form of dowry and savings among the Indian people.  But gold wasn’t the only thing that caught my eye in Little India!  I also had the opportunity to choose and wear our very own traditional Indian flower garland.

Lunch was the next stop.  I could choose between a Muslim Malay lunch and a Singaporean Chinese lunch.  The Muslim Malay food option allowed me to dine in an authentic Minang-style house.   Minangkabau, an ethnic group indigenous to Minangkabau Highlands of West Sumatra, Indonesia, has people scattered throughout the Indonesian and Malay peninsular cities and towns, including Singapore.  The Chinese option gave me the chance to eat my favourite, Bak-kuh-teh, a rich herbal soup brewed with pork bones.  This soup is popular with Chinese in Singapore and Malaysia.  I decided to go with the Muslim Malay lunch and dug into a plate filled with rich flavourful curries.

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(Photo courtesy: Singapore Tourism Board)

After my belly was full, my walking tour through Kampong Glam and Arab Street began.   One of the most interesting experiences was being able to create my own perfume at Muslim perfumery Jamal Kazura AromaticsMinyak Attar is a natural oil based perfume derived from organic sources.  The owner, Jamal Kazura, gave me the opportunity blend scents, creating a one-of-a-kind perfume that is unique to me.   Jamal Kazura Aromatics traces its origins back to the early 1920s.

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(Photo courtesy: Singapore Tourism Board)

After a culturally rich day, it was time to head back to Capella Singapore.  It was truly a unique experience being able to walk through history with my very own personal guide and one I would recommend to others.  

This tailor made Insider’s Guide to Singapore can be enjoyed by booking the Capella Experience package or directly through your Capella Singapore Personal Assistant.

Easter Bonfires in Dusseldorf

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Easter is just around the corner and with it the great traditions I love.  When I was younger, Easter was one of the most exciting holidays to me.  I couldn’t wait for my dad saying “the Easter bunny was here, let’s see if he left some chocolate eggs!”  I would run out into the garden to gather as many eggs as I possibly could.  And while I no longer look for chocolate eggs, I still look forward to Easter celebrations!

rsz_easterToday, my favorite Easter activity are the bonfires.  Maybe you have already heard about the Easter bonfires  in Germany, a tradition where huge piles of wood are burned in the countryside?  There are different stories about this tradition but I’ll tell you the story I like most.  Usually, in Dusseldorf we celebrate the Easter bonfire the Saturday before Easter Sunday.  Large bonfires are erected and music is can be heard throughout the countryside.  I’ve heard that this tradition stems from the 16th century and is meant to dispel the winter.  In the past, the resulting ash was then used as fertilizer for the crops.  It feels very cozy and peaceful to watch the fire glomming with people you love, your family or friends.  Grabbing a cool drink, sitting next to the fire laughing, talking and listening to the music – this is the perfect way to usher in Easter.

It is hard to describe the amazing atmosphere while you are sitting next to an Easter bonfire, so I think you should come to Dusseldorf for Easter one day to experience it yourself.  Just ask the Breidenbacher Hof Personal Assistants to show you the best bonfire places during Easter to make sure that you will never forget these Easter holidays for the rest of your life!

Platicando Con El Estilista De Celebridades, Julien Farel

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Julien Farel, estilista de celebridades francés, abrió su primer salón internacional en Capella Pedregal en julio de 2009. Durante su última visita, se sentó conmigo para hablar de sus nuevos proyectos y compartir algunos consejos sobre el cuidado del cabello durante las vacaciones con nuestros lectores del blog de Capella.

Julien Farel at Capella Pedregal

Julien, estoy muy emocionada de tenerte de vuelta con nosotros en Capella Pedregal! ¿Qué sorpresas preparaste para nosotros esta vez?

Estoy tan feliz de estar de vuelta y haber escapado del invierno de Nueva York. Vine a entrenar al equipo sobre mi nueva línea de productos para asegurarme que estemos llevando la experiencia del cabello Capella al siguiente nivel. Por supuesto, tuve citas con algunos clientes Capella también. Siempre disfruto viendo a mis clientes de Capella Pedregal!

Y a nosotros nos encanta tenerte aquí. Por favor dinos más acerca de tu línea de cuidado del cabello y Productos Estilizadores. ¿Cuáles son sus beneficios?¿Cuáles fueron tus intenciones al crearla?

Estamos tomando la iniciativa en el ámbito del Cuidado Anti-Envejecimiento del cabello y trayendo la ciencia del cuidado de la piel para el cuidado del cabello. Nuestro producto estrella, Restore lleva un corte por encima del resto, ya que es una nueva forma de tratar el cabello, el cuero cabelludo y el folículo. Restore es multifuncional, como el cuidado de la piel avanzado, por lo que con un solo producto, se puede limpiar, tratar y acondicionar el cabello. Toda nuestra línea de cuidado del cabello Anti-Envejecimiento es impulsado por Anti-Envejecimiento Balance de Tecnología “A2B” para entregar Bioactivos de gran alcance para el cabello, el cuero cabelludo y el folículo. Esto resulta en el ambiente óptimo para el crecimiento del cabello.  

Es muy dificil proteger tu cabello durante las vacaciones, estar en el mar y bajo el sol puede dañar tu cabello. ¿Tienes algunos consejos y productos que puedas sugerirnos para disfrutar de la playa y las piscinas sin dañar el cabello?

SÍ. Restore de Cuidado del Cabello Anti-Envejecimiento de JF es imprescindible para después de nadar en la piscina o en agua salada. Repone y reequilibra los aceites naturales de tu cabello para obtener resultados inmediatos, debido a sus ingredientes como el Ácido Hialurónico. Se anula un largo día de mal comportamiento del cabello mediante la penetración profunda en el folículo, el cuero cabelludo y el cabello.

Y para una noche romántica (por ejemplo, en el restaurante El Farallón!), tienes un equipo entrenado en el Salón Julien Farel en Capella Pedregal que puede mimar a los huéspedes. ¿Me puede decir qué servicios se adaptarían para tal ocasión?           

Julien Farel Salón en Capella Pedregal puede ofrecer cortes de cabello con nuestros productos de vanguardia, la coloración del cabello, así como cualquier aplicación de maquillaje. Un corte atrevido que se base en la arquitectura de tu rostro y la silueta, y revela tu personalidad te puede dar la confianza necesaria para conquistar el mundo. Y, la confianza es la parte más sexy de una mujer.

Gracias Julien! No puedo esperar a reservar mi próxima cita en el Salón!

Experience The NRW Art Exhibit In Dusseldorf

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Last weekend I decided to visit the NRW Art Exhibit in the Museum Kunstpalast Dusseldorf which had been highly recommended to me by Barbara, our Personal Assistant at the Breidenbacher Hof.  The exhibit has been held every year for over 100 years now and is the biggest of its kind in Germany.  Opened on February 15th and taking place only until March 9th 2014, I told myself: „You’d rather be quick!“ and I was very impressed by the amount of art displayed.

Museum Kunst Palast / NRW Art Exhibit

This year, 140 regional artists have been chosen by the jury to show their artwork to other artists and visitors.  This exhibit provides a unique insight into the art scene of Dusseldorf.  It is comprised of  impressive sculptures, striking photographs, beautiful paintings and other kinds of graphic works.  What I liked most about this exhibit?  No exhibition piece is like the other because each artist has a different experience, comprised of different styles and perspectives across different generations.  I felt so excited because I never knew what to expect next, so everything was a surprise!

As a special experience you also have the chance to be guided through the exhibit by the artists themselves every day which gives you a closer insight into their artwork.  Additionally, various performances are offered every Thursday and Sunday.  So definitely make sure you stop by the NRW Art Exhibit during your stay at the Breidenbacher Hof, a Capella Hotel.  Our wonderful Personal Assistants will be excited to give you any information you desire and further amazing activities here in Dusseldorf.  I’m sure you will never forget these experiences!

 

 

Photo: “Nachtaufnahme Museum Kunstpalast” Stefan Arendt, Medienzentrum Rheinland

 

Tennis Tips From Capella Pedregal’s Pablo Martinez

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Tennis is one of my favorite sports.  I love that not only does it involve strength and technique, but elegance as well.  Unfortunately, loving it and always winning are not the same thing.  So, after a particularly tough loss, I approached Pablo Martinez, Personal Tennis Instructor at Capella Pedregal, to help me improve my overall game.  He explained that tennis, while a combination of exercise and technique, also requires great psychological and mental training.  This is because a large part of the game has to be decided in the head of each player.  Intrigued by his explanation, I asked Pablo to share technical, mental and tactical tennis tips, which I am excited to share with you as well.

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Technical Tips:

1. Bend the knees at the same time the ball is bouncing on your side.

2. When preparing to hit the ball the racquet should be in a position where the strings face the direction you want the ball to go in.

3. Use the toes of your feet to help support yourself and to create better balance.

Mental Tips:

1. During a game, never ask yourself “What am I doing wrong?”  Instead ask, “What can I do better?” 

2. Focus on playing “good tennis,” you don’t need to stress about playing “very good tennis.”  By this I mean play it safe – go for shots that are effective but not overly risky—not every shot need be a “winner.”

3. Mentally, focus on relaxation during your running and hitting, breathing is very important.  Try and time your breathing so that when you connect with the ball you are also exhaling.

Tactical Tips:

1. Body language is crucial in beating your opponent!  Pay attention to the way you behave on the court, it is really important to project confidence—this is a great way to throw your opponent off.

2. Play with a strategy.  Focus on your strengths and attacking your opponent’s weaknesses.

3. Use the time between points to reinforce the previous point.  Immediately after a point look at your strings and make a mental note of what you did right or wrong.

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These are great quick tennis tips that I plan to put into practice immediately.  If you like tennis, or would like to learn to play it, I recommend you visit Pablo Martinez at the Capella Pedregal Tennis Courts.  Not only is he a great instructor, but he is a lot of fun as well!  Your Personal Assistant will be happy to schedule your tennis class with Pablo.