Take A Hike With The Capella DC Insider

With the holiday season coming to an end the inevitable process of getting my mind and body rejuvenated and back into shape can be daunting.  Fortunately, I’ve found the perfect balance of adventure, scenic beauty, and getting into tip-top shape that isn’t too far from Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown.  I want to share with you my hiking excursion up Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, in hopes to inspire you to venture out and conquer health and wellness.

As much as I love the endurance and stamina challenge I get from hiking, the end result of standing at the top overlooking the mountain you’ve just conquered is the greatest feeling and reward.  Old Rag Mountain is a six-hour journey and is my personal favorite trail from the Shenandoah Valley region.  The strenuous level is just challenging enough to make it a great cardiovascular activity while still remaining enjoyable.

Shenendoah Valley

The beginning of the hike starts out as a 40-minute uphill battle, but I promise you that your surroundings are so beautiful you won’t mind the climb to the peak.  Mid-way you will be introduced to boulders, which makes for great fun rock scrambling and test your mental coordination.  At first the boulders might seem daunting, but the adrenaline that runs through your body is so strong, this ended up being my favorite part of the trek.

Old Rag Mountain

At last, the main attraction is the breathtaking view at the top of Old Rag Mountain!  There is nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment when you look out from the highest point.  I went on a day that was a bit foggy and I stood above the clouds gazing out to miles and miles of our awe-inspiring Mother Nature.  Be sure to take a few moments to yourself to capture your thoughts and soak in the feeling.  This is definitely an experience worth holding onto.  I would love to see your triumphing photos, so be sure to tag me at @CapellaDC on Twitter and Instagram.

Top of Old Rag

Discover this and other outdoor experiences during your visit to Washington, D.C.  Your Capella Washington, D.C. Personal Assistant has lots of recommendations!  Insider tip: After a day of hiking be sure to unwind with any of our signature in-room spa treatments or revitalize your body in a luxurious bubble bath and choose from one-of-a-kind bubble bath menu.  You definitely deserve it!

I look forward to hearing all about your hiking adventures, happy hiking!

Staying Healthy All Winter

As much as I love winter it does have a downside– it is accompanied by the dreaded flu season. To combat this, I have created my own ritual for staying healthy all winter long: A daily cup of hot ginger tea, regular visits to the sauna and (my favorite part) a visit to the Schnitzler Beauty Lounge under the roof of the Breidenbacher Hof, a Capella Hotel.

rsz_laprairie-blog

My personal slogan to survive the winter is “Do something good to your body and your body will be good to you!“.

I start with ginger tea, because it is really one of the best ways to strengthen your immune system and to feel revitalized.  Ginger tea is also said to reduce inflammation, improve circulation and relieve stress.  Not to mention, it warms me up from the inside and tastes perfectly seasonal!  Definitely a necessary boost to my winter routine.

The sauna also has great health benefits.  Like ginger tea, saunas are said to relieve stress, help with circulation and bolster immunity.  For me, visiting the sauna is the best way to shut off mentally as well.  The heat and humidity leave no space for busy thoughts and I leave feeling brand new.  While a trip to the sauna may seem like a luxury, building it into my winter routine is truly priceless.

Of course there is nothing like a visit to the spa to really keep me mentally and physically healthy through the winter months.    That’s why the changing winter treatments at the Schnitzler Beauty Lounge are a must. My current favorite?  The “La Prairie 24-carat gold luxury facial treatment.”  Just as Dusseldorf glows with Christmas cheer this time of year, so does this treatment!  Why? Well, it is a “Pure Gold Radiance“ facial treatment. It takes just 100 minutes to leave you fully relaxed and rejuvenated like a brand new person.  The experience leaves you feeling refreshed and ready to take on the holiday hustle!

Whether you would like to pamper yourself or somebody else, our Personal Assistants can arrange everything for you at the Schnitzler Beauty Lounge.  Discover this treatment and more, HERE.

Best-Kept Auriga Spa Beauty Secrets

Singapore really comes to life during the festive season – with dawn-to-dusk feasting, dusk-to-dawn parties, and lots of shopping and gatherings in between.  That said, the festive frenzy sometimes sends me (and my skin) into over-drive.

This past month, back-to-back late nights were starting to take their toll.  So, with the party season coming up, I really needed a beauty reboot.  Fortunately, Auriga Spa’s Regional Director of Spa Alsu Abdulina read my mind, and invited me for a restorative experience.

The Ultimate Healing Journey

I’m personally not a fan of the new breed of ‘in-and-out’ express spa treatments.  So Auriga Spa’s back-to-classics and back-to-nature approach was just my cup of tea.  Instead of newfangled ideas and short-term quick-fixes, I embarked on the ultimate healing journey.

Vitality Pool

Vitality Pool

The moment I stepped into Auriga Spa, I felt removed from the fluster of the world.  Shrugging off my worries and slipping into my spa robe, I relaxed in the cinnamon-infused steam room, cooled myself down with the ice fountain, and then stilled my mind and body with the warm massaging jets of the vitality pool.  I was teleported to a secret universe where time stood still.

Rejuvenating Lunar Rituals

Since city life causes us to feel estranged from nature and our bodies, Auriga Spa’s treatments are designed to put us in tune with nature again.  The spa’s signature moon phase treatments are uniquely synced with the lunar cycle, and tap into its restorative energies.  My spa day happened to correspond with the new moon, so I was offered the New Moon Treatment for festive detoxification and renewal.

Unhurriedly, my therapist began by anointing and massaging my foot with a clarifying blend of juniper, rosemary and fennel oil.  Then, she treated me to an aromatic seaweed and eucalyptus salt scrub.  After I rinsed off the salt, dead skin cells and impurities, she slathered on a purifying seaweed mud wrap to purge out toxins.

Auriga Spa (Clay Back)-2

While being cocooned in this warm soporific wrap, my face was thoroughly cleansed and massaged with an organic honey jasmine mask that smelled good enough to eat.  And to end the treatment on a high note, I enjoyed a soothing body and scalp massage.  My therapist had an uncanny knack for finding and easing every ache in my body so that I emerged from this treatment feeling as good as new.

Best-Kept Spa Secrets

Alsu Abdulina, Regional Director of Spa

Alsu Abdulina, Regional Director of Spa

To retain my post-spa glow for as long as possible, I quickly caught up with Regional Spa Director Alsu for her wellness tips.  Here are her four secrets to youth and beauty:

#1 Eat Your Way To Glowing Skin

True beauty comes from within, so the first step to inner radiance is eating right.  Cut down on sugar, which cause glycation and damages the collagen and elastin in your skin.  Also, consume carbohydrates moderately, especially refined carbohydrates which are depleted of nutrients.

Instead, trade these for superfoods such as antioxidant-packed goji berries and acai berries, nutrient-dense avocado and omega-3 rich chia seed.

#2 Nature Is The Best Healing Balm

Don’t overwhelm your skin – many modern skincare products contain harsh and strong ingredients that may deliver flash results, but also tend to over-stimulate your skin.  This causes inflammation and premature ageing over time.

Organic and natural products on the other hand may take longer to deliver results, but they nourish your skin from within, and won’t strip or irritate your skin.  Some wonderful natural skin-savers to try are aloe vera, seaweed and marine collagen.

#3 Exercise Is The Key To Youth

Exercise not only helps your body flush out toxins through sweat; it also boosts microcirculation, and delivers oxygen and nutrients to each of your skin cells for speedy cellular rejuvenation.

Regular exercise also shapes your body up, and keeps your muscles toned.  Alsu personally enjoys a mix of cardiovascular workouts such as cycling, high-impact exercises such as gym classes, and relaxing and toning exercises such as yoga.

#4 Stress Ages Your Skin At Record Speed

It’s no secret that stress damages skin cells and accelerates ageing.  So in today’s fast-paced urban environment, spa-time is no longer a luxury but a necessity.  Scheduling spa-time regularly has immense stress-relieving and anti-ageing benefits!

The best way to benefit from a spa treatment is not to zip in and out of the spa in a great hurry.  Make it a point to arrive early, take your time to enjoy the spa facilities such as the steam room and vitality pool, and prepare your body well for the treatment ahead.  Don’t forget that our skin repairs itself best when we are completely relaxed.

Embark on your own wellness journey at Auriga Spa.  For more details, call 6591 5023 or email spa.singapore@capellahotels.com.

Eating Well: Healthy Tips For Summer Travel

Longer days, children buzzing about outdoors, and warmer weather can only mean one thing – summer has finally arrived!  My family summer vacations always included fun road-trips, action-packed plans, and a ton of laughter while creating memories that I continue to cherish until today.

Often a key component of our traveling was the dining.  My parents always attempted to find a balance between summer indulgence and making sure we stayed healthy and well nourished.  Today, this is still a priority for me, as I love to take part in local flavors, but not at the expense of taking care of my body.  Taking this into consideration, I thought it the perfect opportunity to sit down with the Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown culinary team to find out what they recommend for maintaining a healthy, but enjoyable, lifestyle during summer travel.

Healthy Tips For Summer Travel:

Chef Frank Ruta - DC

“Always ask the locals and those around you, even your waiters while dining out what the healthiest options are on the menu or local spots to try.  Insider tips are always helpful and they know what they’re talking about!”   ~Executive Chef, Frank Ruta

Chef Aggie - Pastry Chef DC

“Remember it’s a vacation!  It’s a time to enjoy everything that’s going on with the activities and with your family and friends surrounding you. Enjoy the food and desserts and have a great time.” ~Pastry Chef, Aggie Chin

Steven Fowler - Director of Food & Beverage DC

 “Sitting in a cramped position for long periods, whether in an airplane, car, or bus, can lead to an increased risk of potentially health related issues.  To minimize risk, drink plenty of water and stay active to allow the blood to flow.  Always carry around with you bottles of water and try to drink plenty of fluids to prevent from becoming dehydrated.” ~Food & Beverage Director, Steve Fowler

Kelly S - Catering Sales Manager DC

“The first thing I do when I travel is to search for the local markets and grocery stores to stock up on fresh veggies, fruits, and snacks.  Sourcing our breakfast meals from fresh local markets was a great way to save some extra cash and getting in touch with how the community in that particular destination lived.  You can ask for a complimentary mini-fridge to be sent to your hotel room to store these items as well.” ~Catering Sales Manager, Kelly Schneider

I hope these tips will come in handy for healthy and delicious summer of traveling!  Please tag @CapellaDC on social media and share your own healthy/delicious summer traveling tips so that I can share them with our community.  Have a great summer!

Discover The Wellness Retreat at Capella Singapore

I love exploring the furthest corners of the world.  However, very often, I find myself returning from a vacation feeling like I need another one to recover from the first.  So after all the excitement of New Year, Valentine’s Day and Lunar New Year, I finally decided that it was time to take a quieter sort of vacation.  I checked myself in for Capella Singapore’s new Wellness Retreat.

The retreat began with a private consultation with a dietician, and a wellness dinner at The Knolls.  I was fully expecting ‘rabbit food’, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that beyond a tasteless plate of greens, I was treated to a Thai Beef Salad, Baked Cod Fish with Olive Mozzarella Crust and Homemade Tiramisu – all nutritionist approved.  They tasted delicious, and left me feeling less lethargic than usual.

Baked Cod Fish with Olive Mozzarella Crust

Baked Cod Fish with Olive Mozzarella Crust

Day Two began bright and early at 7:30am with a personal training session with multiple Manhunt Singapore winner, Jovin Koh.  Jovin discussed my fitness abilities and goals with me before putting me through a series of weight resistance and intensive cardio exercises that gently tested my personal limits.

After ‘paying my dues’ at the gym, breakfast and lunch were rare treats. The highlight of the day however must have been the spa session at Auriga Spa.  The herbal steam room, ice foundation, vitality pool and 90-minute Shiatsu massage were uniquely revitalising.

By Day Three, I didn’t even need my alarm clock get up in time for sunrise yoga at 8am.  My body was so well rested that it didn’t scream for more snooze time.  Going through the gentle yoga postures also helped me discover a newfound sense of balance and well-being.

15. Sunrise Yoga

I emerged from the retreat feeling more than five years younger and absolutely radiant.  I also scored useful tips to embark on a lifelong journey towards healthier living. Here are five detox tips I learnt from senior therapists of Auriga Spa Amapola Nazareno and Chang Huang Mei.

GET REAL – Avoid processed food as they are packed with chemicals and preservatives. Pick real and whole food, whenever possible.

DECAF – Avoid drinking too much coffee and black tea – these stimulants dehydrate the body.

REHYDRATE – Drink up to 2 litres of water daily. Keep a bottle on your desk so you won’t forget.

BRUSH UP – Use a body brush in the morning to stimulate lymphatic circulation and drainage.

SUPPLEMENT – Natural supplements can help your body cope with a hectic and stressful lifestyle. Vitamins, antioxidants, probiotics and other superfood sweep away harmful free radicals and flush out toxins to keep your body in tip top condition.

To find out more about Capella Singapore’s Wellness Retreat or making reservations, please dial +65 6591 5000 or email reservations.singapore@capellahotels.com.

 

Auriga Detox Day At Capella Singapore

With the Christmas season behind us, here in Singapore, the festive feasting continues with the Lunar New Year just around the corner.  During this time, Detox is the buzz of the town.

I had the wonderful opportunity to try out the Auriga spa Detox Day treatment which was something specially designed by Auriga spa to compliment The Organic Pharmacy’s 10-Day Detox Programme, a special kit that comes complete with tailored menus, recipes and activities to guide you through a 10-Day Detox ritual.

Detox Tips

While I was looking through The Organic Pharmacy’s 10-Day Detox Programme, I was thrilled to find a series of simple Detox tips to an effective detoxification process.  Here are a few of my favourite:

  • On waking each morning, drink glass of hot water with half a lemon squeezed in it.  The lemon provides nutrients to your body, which is quickly absorbed because there is no food yet in the body.  This practice also helps to break down the mucus in the body and alkalises the tissue.  Not to mention, the tangy zest from the lemon is a sure wake-me-up.
  • Ten minutes of breathing exercises, followed by another ten minutes of stretching is great for clearing and calming the mind as well as to get the blood circulating.  If you do not have much time, reduce the time to five minutes for each.  I felt so refreshed and rejuvenated after taking time off from my busy schedule to do this.  Stress is one of the biggest causes of the buildup of toxins in the body so this is the perfect preventive measure.
  • Before taking a shower, gently dry brush the skin to improve blood circulation and remove impurities on the skin.  I particularly love the soothing feeling of the dry bristles exfoliating the skin.
  • Shower and massage the body with body oils containing rosemary and grapefruit essential oils.  Besides its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, Rosemary has been known to boost the immune and circulatory system.  Meanwhile, grapefruit oil is not only a lymphatic stimulant, but also has anti-depressant properties- sure to keep you feeling positive.

If your New Year’s resolutions are of the wellness variety, these Detox tips are something to consider.  In fact, you can also pamper yourself and get detoxed in style at Capella Singapore’s Auriga spa with the Auriga Detox Day treatment.