Father’s Day At The Grill Room

The Grill Room

Father’s Day is celebrated differently across the world.  In America, a woman named Sonora Louise Smart of Arkansas inspired the national observance of Father’s Day.  The story goes that Sonora lost her mom when she was a teenager and she helped her father, a farmer by the name of William Jackson Smart raise all her younger brothers.  Her family eventually moved to Spokane, Washington and after witnessing all the things that her Dad did for her and her siblings, Sonora decided to approach a local Church organization and ask them to help her recognize the fathers in their community.  June 19, 1910 was the first official Father’s Day celebration. (Read more here).

Yesterday, Capella Washington, D.C. hosted the first ever Father’s Day celebration at The Grill Room.  One guest I had the pleasure of speaking with was John Oliver Smith of Lima, Ohio.  He is the father and stepfather to eight children – seven boys and one girl.  As I sat with John on the outdoor terrace, enjoying a delicious Chesapeake Egg Benedict, I was reminded of how history repeats itself in many surprising ways.  John represents all the father figures, who are patriarchs that give so much of themselves to make others happy.  It was a pleasure to sit down with him and get to know his family and honor and appreciate the love our father’s bring to each and every family across the world.

The Grill Room

During our breakfast, John spoke happily to me about how the outdoor seating on the C&O canal felt very European, much like sitting along an Italian canal, or sipping coffee at a Paris café.  “The whole ambiance had a city vibe but was tucked away in such a quiet and luxurious location, with unbelievable architecture,” says John.  I couldn’t agree more and was so delighted that he was able to relax and enjoy this special day in such a peaceful and gorgeous setting.

If you were not able to be here to celebrate this past weekend, there are plenty of other opportunities.  I highly suggest looking into the Fourth of July special, with rooftop views of the firework show at the National Mall!  To see a description of this package and specials for this year, click here.

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!

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.

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.!

Behind The Scenes: Capella Washington D.C.

Walk in Refrigerators

The holidays are in full swing here in Washington D.C.  In between all of the decorating, baking, shopping and parties, construction at Capella Washington D.C. has continued.   It is so fascinating to walk through the hotel and see changes, like the recently installed walk-in refrigerators in the kitchen and the dry wall that has been mounted around the hotel!  Each room has its own unique flow and design, and I can begin to envision where the stone tub will be or where the gorgeous living room furniture will sit.  I am also in love with the brand new floor to ceiling windows that look over the historic Georgetown C&O Canal!

Walk in Refrigerators

One of the main focuses this month has been perfecting all the details and components for the deluxe king bedroom photo shoot!  After many hours and days of transforming, beautifying and patiently waiting on furniture arrivals from Europe, the look is nearly complete.  I can’t wait to share it with you… (but that is for a future post!)

Up next I would like to share my December insider video update with General Manager, Alex Obertop!  After watching you might ask, what is that beautiful building behind him?  Well, what else than the recently landscaped restaurant and bar view of Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown!  Be sure to follow me for all the up-to-date info Facebook and Twitter!