Screen On The Green At The National Mall

Screen On The Green

Summer has finally arrived and there’s no better place to be than the Nation’s Capital!  Every year I count down the days until summer along with all of the activities it brings.  One of the most popular summer happenings among the locals and visitors alike is Screen on the Green, a chance to watch classic films hosted by HBO and Comcast on a gigantic movie screen on the National Mall overlooking the United State Capitol Building.

Screen On The Green

This complimentary outdoor event goes a little something like this: Gather a few of your friends on Monday night and head to the Mall around 5 or 6 pm to get a good seat.  Bring a blanket (no chairs) and a picnic basket for dinner and some dessert. Next, watch the sunset over the Capitol Building as you anxiously wait for the movie to begin.  My favorite moments are gazing up at the stars while the movie is rolling and seeing all the happy faces surrounding me.  This event makes for a fantastic summer evening and perfect way to enjoy this beautiful landmark, attracting over 15,000 people to each showing since 1999.

The schedule is out for this summer; take a look at the lineup:

July 21 – The Karate Kid (1984)

July 28 – Lover Come Back (1961)

August 4 – Key Largo (1948)

August 11 – A Soldier’s Story (1984)

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The best way to get to the National Mall is by Metro.  The closest stations are Archives/Navy Memorial, Smithsonian and L’Enfant Plaza.  Public parking is very limited in this part of the city.  On-street parking in Washington, DC is restricted during the evening rush hour.

Of course, if you are a guest at Capella Washington, D.C. you Personal Assistant can arrange both the picnic supplies and the ride.  For more information contact your Personal Assistant at 202-617-2400 or e-mail pa.dc@capellahotels.com.

I will be sure to share my visits to Screen On The Green on Twitter, but you can also follow the hashtag #SOTG2014 for updates.

 

A Look Back: The Capella Ixtapa Sabor + Vino Festival 2014

Bittersweet chocolate, bed of peanuts and cocoa, Cotija cheese meringue, xoconostle (a fruit of prickly pear cactus) foam, coconut cotton and a reduction of jamaica and passion fruit.

They say the way to a person’s heart is through the stomach.  And if you haven’t fallen in love with Mexico yet, our Capella Ixtapa Sabor + Vino Festival, would have you in head over heels, guaranteed!

Sabor + Vino 2014, which we held this past May, was Capella Ixtapa’s first culinary festival, and with the amazing feedback we received from our guests and visitors, I can promise you it won’t be the last!

Sommelier Lucian Mocanu and Chef Miguel Baltazar from Capella Ixtapa, with Guest Chef Carmen Valencia and Chef Ramiro Ortega.

Sommelier Lucian Mocanu and Chef Miguel Baltazar from Capella Ixtapa, with Guest Chef Carmen Valencia and Chef Ramiro Ortega.

“This region of Mexico has so much to offer gastronomically, offering an authentic Mexican cuisine experience.  We gathered well known chefs from different towns within the region to participate in festival Capella Ixtapa Sabor + Vino 2014, which established a sense of pride and honor, as we presented diverse traditional Mexican dishes, combined with exquisite Mexican wine and spirits for all attendees, complemented with a wonderful culinary event.  The feedback we received was fantastic, and I hope to see you all again at Capella Ixtapa’s Sabor + Vino 2015!” said Eliezer Quinones, General Manager of Capella Ixtapa.

The Capella Ixtapa Sabor + Vino Festival ran over two weekends in May, and featured Guest Chefs,  Carmen Valencia, Ramiro Ortega, Karla Chápero, Jesús Ordoñez.  Hosted by Capella Ixtapa’s Chef Miguel Baltazar, guests were delighted by appetizers based on regional cuisines, cocktail events, cooking classes, two exquisite 7 course wine pairing dinners and a special breakfast where each of the chefs prepared their own signature breakfast dish.

Bittersweet chocolate, bed of peanuts and cocoa, Cotija cheese meringue, xoconostle (a fruit of prickly pear cactus) foam, coconut cotton and a reduction of jamaica and passion fruit.

Bittersweet chocolate, bed of peanuts and cocoa, Cotija cheese meringue, xoconostle (a fruit of prickly pear cactus) foam, coconut cotton and a reduction of jamaica and passion fruit.

Sabor + Vino 2014 was an incredible experience,” said Chef Miguel Baltazar.  “Four different culinary minds came to Capella Ixtapa with the same objective; to satisfy the palate of our guests, surprise them with the magnificent flavors and show them the best of their cuisine.  It was a great pleasure having them with us and creating the first edition of Capella Ixtapa’s culinary festival together.  For me personally it was also a magnificent opportunity to create, innovate and practice with these amazing Chefs for the Chef of the Year in Mexico contest, at which I will be participating in June, and representing the colors of Capella Ixtapa and our region.  Some of the unforgettable dishes from the festival for me were jack fish with black radish, scallops tiradito, jicama fruit infused with beet and mezcal, cocoa with meringue of salt from Zihuatanejo, and crystallized nopal.”

You can see more photos from the festival here, and mark your calendars for May 2015, for the next Capella Ixtapa Sabor + Vino festival.  Our team is already hard at work planning next year’s festivities!

Düsseldorf Entdecken

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Sobald das Wetter sommerliche Temperaturen verspricht, möchte ich immer so viel Zeit wie möglich im Freien verbringen.  Es gibt so viele unterhaltsame Aktivitäten in Düsseldorf – manchmal kann ich mich selbst überhaupt nicht entscheiden, was ich zuerst unternehmen möchte.  Meine allerliebste Beschäftigung im Freien ist das Inline skaten!  Ich war schon an vielen Orten in Deutschland Inline skaten, aber ehrlich gesagt bietet Düsseldorf die schönste Kulisse:  die Rheinufer Promenade!

exploring dusseldorfMeiner Meinung nach, ist das Inline skaten die beste Möglichkeit, sich selbst in Bewegung zu bringen Egal ob Ihr Düsseldorf lieber auf Inlineskates oder auf dem Rad erkundet:  Ich verspreche euch, dass euer Ausflug ein Erlebnis sein wird!  Und natürlich kann ich euch meine Lieblingsstrecke nicht vorenthalten:  Die schönste Tour startet in der Altstadt in Richtung Kaiserswerth und wieder zurück. Ich beginne meinen Ausflug immer in der Altstadt, um mich in die richtige Stimmung zu bringen.  Die beste Möglichkeit dafür hat man bei einem leckeren Essen mit einem Glas Altbier im Uerige!  In dieser traditionellen Düsseldorfer Brauerei könnt Ihr euer Altbier auch im Freien genießen!

Die Tour, die ich bevorzuge ist ungefähr 20 Kilometer lang und ich bin mir sicher, dass Ihr jeden Meter davon genauso genießen werdet wie ich es immer tue!  Warum?  Weil man auf dieser Strecke zahlreiche Sehenswürdigkeiten bewundern kann!  Die Tonhalle zum Beispiel:  Die Tonhalle ist ein Veranstaltungsort, in dem viele Konzerte – üblicherweise klassische Konzerte – stattfinden und sie liegt direkt neben der Rheinufer Promenade.  Der zweite Grund ist, dass die gesamte Route direkt entlang des Rheins verläuft, was sehr idyllisch ist – ich fühle mich immer so frei, wenn ich die vorbeifahrenden Boote beobachte und spüre, wie der Wind durch mein Haar weht.

In Kaiserswerth genehmige ich mir dann eine kleine Pause im Biergarten „Galerie Burghof“, da ich ein großer Fan der frisch gebackenen Waffeln bin.  Dazu genieße ich ein erfrischendes Radler, das mir die nötige Power für den Rückweg gibt.

Wenn Ihr während Eurem nächsten Aufenthalt im Breidenbacher Hof nach verschiedenen Routen für eure eigene Düsseldorfer Inline skating- oder Radtour sucht, können unsere Personal Assistant’s euch mit allen benötigten Informationen und Tipps versorgen.  Ich bin mir sicher, dass sie die außergewöhnlichsten Unternehmungen für Euch vorbereiten werden…

Auriga Spa Designer Sylvia Sepielli Visits Capella Pedregal

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Last week the team at Capella Pedregal had the honor of welcoming renowned spa designer and planner, Sylvia Sepielli.  This was her first visit back since Auriga spa opened and I was excited to catch up with her.

 Sylvia, we are so happy to have you back with us! What brings you to Capella Pedregal?

I am so excited to be back! During these past years, Auriga has evolved and grown, so I came to add some new training and re-energize the team. I wanted to see with my own eyes how the concept has changed.

What do you think about the evolution of Auriga spa in Cabo?

I am truly amazed by how much the team really understands the concept and personally conveys it to the guests. Auriga spa is named after the constellation, of which Capella is the brightest star.  When Mr. Schulze and I were developing the concept, the moon came to our minds immediately.  It is so powerful and can help our guests re-connect with their origins.  The Capella Pedregal Auriga team completely understands the purpose of each element. They have created the perfect balance between the moon, the sea and “pure Baja” by incorporating local traditions.  It has become such a special place and I am really proud of them.

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Can you help us understand more about the Moon connection to life?

I always like to compare it to the seasons of the year:

  • New Moon = Winter or the beginning
    Similar to bears hibernating, it’s time to save energy and build strength.  You sow the seeds in your life`s ambitions, reflect and make a wish.
  • Waxing Moon = Spring or plant new life

It is time to refocus your energy and nourish yourself so you can reach your goals and a higher potential.

  • Full Moon = Summer or the height

Most cultures traditionally celebrate the full moon as a time when the mind and body is most fertile. Embrace creative impulses and say yes to what might come your way.

  • Waning Moon = Fall or cleansing

Just as trees lose their leaves, this is the time to release tensions and toxins.

If you were to recommend a treatment each guest should experience, which one would it be?

I would say a Moon Treatment to start your vacation with balance and also the Ancient Traditional Massage, it’s fantastic!

 

Mr. Horst Schulze, Chairman and CEO of Capella Hotel Group, and Sylvia visualized Auriga spa as a relaxing retreat during a vacation and a way to transcend our guest’s lives. Make sure you ask your Personal Assistant at pa.pedregal@capellahotels.com to help set up your own Auriga experience.

Capella Washington D.C.’s Mount Vernon Bike Tour

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I arrived to Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown on a gorgeous spring morning in April with my great friend as we prepared for a day’s journey to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Mansion, one of the iconic homes from 18th-century America.  Naturally, I crave adventure and outdoor exercise, so the moment I discovered this unique biking and historical tour offered for Capella guests, I was all about trying it out for myself!

Bike & Roll DC Resized

We met Luis Colmenares, Lead Personal Assistant in the main lobby as he greeted us with a surprise backpack lunch with our tickets to the Mount Vernon tour.  He explained that our rental bikes were ready and waiting for us outside, courtesy of Bike & Roll DC!  The Mount Vernon Trail is the main path located just around the corner from the hotel, and winds alongside the scenic Potomac River, offering uninterrupted views of Washington, D.C.’s skyline.  We made sure to take advantage of Luis’ excellent suggestions for pit-stops along the way including Gravelly Point Park, located just north of the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, where you can see planes take off and land, and also Old Town Alexandra, Virginia’s Eamonn’s Restaurant for the best afternoon fish & chips!  I’m always searching for an excuse to be outside and enjoy nature, and this was the perfect, unique experience!

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When we arrived at Mount Vernon, I was so thrilled to find out that not only could we tour the beautiful Mansion, but we could also explore their new exhibit, Gardens & Groves.  This exhibit was incredible and offered the opportunity to discover Washington’s design and see how he created the sweeping lawns, groves of trees, walled gardens, serpentine paths, and the views of Mount Vernon.  When visiting Mount Vernon you journey can go beyond the mansion to the George Washington’s Distillery, which was once the largest distillery in America and produced almost 11,000 gallons of whiskey in 1799, and to the George Washington’s Gristmill, established in 1771, the mill produced more than 275,000 pounds of the highest quality “superfine flour” and exported to both the West Indies and Europe.

George Washington Mount Vernon Re-Sized

More details on this experience:

  • Bike from Capella Washington, D.C. to George Washington’s Mount Vernon on the Mount Vernon Trail (approximately 18 miles).
  • Capella Washington, D.C will provide a delicious backpack lunch (Although you will have a backpack lunch, you are encouraged to try other restaurants, cafes, and shops along the way to Mount Vernon).
  • Park your bicycle and arrive at Mount Vernon (Be sure to ask your Personal Assistant about the variety of tours available on the Mount Vernon property).
  • At the completion of the tour, bicycle back to Capella Washington, D.C. If you wish to have a driver pick you up or take a scenic boat ride back on the Potomac River, please provide your Personal Assistant with 48 hour advance notice to plan accordingly.

I loved the Mount Vernon Bike Tour and definitely recommend it as the quintessential spring experience in Washington, D.C.  It is the perfect way to discover the most incredible views of the cities monuments, while simultaneously getting a bit of exercise.  If you’d like to know more about what to expect, please be sure to read my interview with Cat Pear of Bike and Roll DC.  For details, inquiries, and reservations, be sure to contact your Personal Assistant by calling 202-617-2416 or e-mail pa.dc@capellahotels.com.

Exclusivo Tour de Capella Pedregal a Todos Santos

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Hay tantos maravillosos pueblitos  alrededor de Los Cabos,  y visitarlos es algo que tanto a locales como turistas les encanta hacer. Una de las excursiones por el día más populares, es un viaje al idílico pueblo de Todos Santos. Según la leyenda, la ciudad toma su nombre de los santos colgado fuera de las casas locales. Marina, Líder de los  Asistentes Personales en Capella Pedregal, me invitó a probar Exclusivo Tour  de Capella Pedregal a Todos Santos. Acepté con gusto para poder experimentarlo en persona así contarles todo lo que se necesita saber acerca de esta experiencia única.

rsz_323Fabricio, guía y conductor certificado, me recogió a las 9:00 am desde el hotel en una hermosa Escalade (¡no es una mala manera de viajar!), e iniciamos nuestro viaje. El pueblo está situado a unos 45 kilómetros al norte de Cabo San Lucas y es un pueblo tranquilo y relajado que brilla por su comunidad artística, el surf y bellezas naturales únicas. Esta pequeña ciudad, es un oasis ubicado donde el desierto se une con el mar y la montaña de la Sierra de la Laguna. El Secretario de Turismo, nombró a Todos Santos un “Pueblo Mágico”, en reconocimiento a sus esfuerzos en mantener la riqueza cultural e histórica de México. La belleza de este pueblo tan especial ha atraído a un gran número de artistas mexicanos e internacionales que encuentran inspiración en su entorno. Todos Santos es ahora considerado un destino para artistas, músicos, poetas y surfistas.

Nuestra primera parada en nuestro camino a Todos Santos fue a una fábrica de vidrio soplado local, donde los fabricantes de vidrio me mostraron el proceso de hacer un corazón de cristal. Esto fue especialmente interesante, porque este corazón de cristal se utiliza como decoración en torno a Capella Pedregal! Pasamos unos 30 minutos en la fábrica, ya que quería tratar de soplar vidrio yo misma. Fue un proceso muy interesante y sin duda, mucho más difícil de lo que parecía. ¡En el futuro, simplemente se lo dejaré a los expertos!

Artist Carlos Diaz Castro , Indigo Gallery

Artist Carlos Diaz Castro , Indigo Gallery

El viaje hasta Todos Santos se completa con hermosas vistas del Océano Pacífico por un lado y del desierto y cactus en el otro. Una vez que llegamos allí, nuestra primera parada fue en el Hotel California, fundado en 1950. Durante varios años, fue el único bar y hotel, por lo tanto el hogar para los surfistas y gente que busca un lugar especial para relajarse y descansar. El hotel es famoso por la canción de los Eagles “Hotel California”, aunque no existen registros o pruebas de que los músicos estuvieron realmente allí. Hay una foto de uno de los miembros de la banda que fue tomada durante su visita a Todos Santos. Si escuchas la canción con cuidado, encontrarás una gran cantidad de similitudes que hacen que los aficionados crean que este es EL hotel. Cada día, los turistas van allí en busca de souvenirs y para escuchar la famosa canción que suena en la tienda de regalos.

A pocos pasos, se encuentra la Misión de Todos Santos, por la cual ciudad adoptó su nombre. La misión contiene la estatua de la Virgen del Pilar, que es el centro de fiesta principal de Todos Santos  en octubre de cada año. ¡Una visita obligada!

Sculpture Benito Ortega Vargaz showing us a mold

Sculpture Benito Ortega Vargaz showing us a mold

Continuamos nuestro recorrido visitando la  Galería Indigo  y Galería Logan, donde nos  encontramos con  la artista Jill Logan pintando en vivo. También conocimos al escultor local, Benito Ortega Vargaz, y artista de cerámica, Rubén Gutiérrez. ¡Cada rincón de esta ciudad tiene algo interesante! Después de explorar y disfrutar del arte, nos detuvimos en un tradicional restaurante mexicano para comer. Fabricio me dio la opción de tener algo de tiempo libre para ir de compras o visitar la playa de Cerritos. Decidí terminar el recorrido con un poco de ambos. ¡No me quería perderme nada!

Si estás interesado en experimentar la cultura local de Todos Santos, por favor, asegúrate de hablar con tu asistente personal, los puedes contactar por correo a pa.pedregal@ capellahotels.com . Les encantará ayudarte!