St. Martin’s Day in Dusseldorf

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I love when the weather shifts in Germany.  It is a sure sign that the holidays are upon us.  The first seasonal holiday is St. Martin’s Day.  The holiday is November 11th, but really festivities begin the night of the 10th.  This holiday is a wonderful reminder to be kind to those around us and is also lots of fun for children to participate in!

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Do you know the story of St. Martin? His actual name was Martin de Tours and he was born in 316 in Hungary. His colleagues and friends appreciated him because of his big heart: St. Martin reached out to people who were ill, gave help to the needy and shared his belongings where he could.  One day, when it was very cold, St. Martin came across a beggar freezing in the streets.  A snow storm was about to erupt and the beggar, who had little clothing, was sure to freeze.  St. Martin, who was on horseback dismounted to check on the beggar.  Realizing that the man was near freezing, St. Martin removed his own cape and drew his sword, slicing the cape in two.  He then gave the beggar half of the cape, ensuring the man’s survival.  It is this event that we celebrate each year.  I still remember my first St. Martin’s celebration and continue to take part every year.

The ceremony starts early in the evening when the sun goes down. In Dusseldorf we meet in the Old Town and everyone brings colorful lanterns which create a romantic and picturesque atmosphere. You can’t imagine what kind of feeling it is to be part of this crowd, watching actors who reenact the life of St. Martin and sing songs about him.

When the ceremony is over, my favorite part of the celebration starts: All of the kids and their parents walk from house to house, sing songs with their lanterns and get candy in return.  Although I’ve become too old to collect candy myself, I still enjoy being part of the tradition, handing out treats to the children.

What do you think? Will you be part of the St. Martin’s Day this year? Come out and watch the performance in the Old Town with me!  We will get you a pretty lantern and I’d love to teach you the songs so we can experience this unforgettable evening together.  For more information, please contact your Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel  Personal Assistant at pa.bbh@capellahotels.com.

 

St. Martinsfest in Düsseldorf

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Ich liebe es, wenn die Tage in Düsseldorf kürzer werden und die Temperatur langsam sinkt, denn dies ist ein sicheres Zeichen dafür, dass die Feiertage unmittelbar bevor stehen. Der erste Feiertag in Deutschland ist das St.Martinsfest, welches traditionell erst am 11. November stattfindet, jedoch schon am Abend des 10.Novembers gefeiert wird. Dieser Feiertag ist besonders für Kinder mit viel Spaß verbunden und ein wunderbares Beispiel dafür, dass man respektvoll mit seinen Mitmenschen umgehen sollte.  610fbea0791

Kennt ihr die Geschichte von St. Martin? Sein richtiger Name war Martin von Toulouse und er wurde 316 in Ungarn geboren. Seine Freunde und Bekannten schätzten ihn vor allem aufgrund seines großen Herzens und seiner Selbstlosigkeit: St. Martin unterstützte Kranke, half Bedürftigen und verteilte seine Habseligkeiten wann immer er konnte. An einem sehr kalten Tag, begegnete St.Martin am Stadttor von Amiens einem frierenden Bettler. Ein Schneesturm zog auf und der Bettler, welcher nur wenig Kleidung trug, drohte zu erfrieren. Ohne zu zögern teilte St.Martin seinen eigenen Mantel mit seinem Schwert und gab dem Bettler die Hälfte dieses Mantels, wodurch er sein Überleben sicherte. Dies ist genau die Szene, welche jedes Jahr im November nachgestellt und gefeiert wird. Ich erinnere mich immer noch an mein erstes St.Martinsfest und nehme seitdem jedes Jahr daran teil.

Die Feierlichkeiten starten am frühen Abend, wenn die Sonne gerade untergeht. In Düsseldorf treffen wir uns zu Beginn in der Altstadt und jeder bringt bunte Laternen mit, welche eine romantische und gemütliche Atmosphäre erzeugen. Ihr könnt Euch nicht vorstellen, was für ein einzigartiges Gefühl es ist, Teil dieser Menge zu sein, die Schauspieler bei ihrer Vorstellung zu beobachten und die Lieder mitzusingen.

Wenn die Feierlichkeit vorbei ist, dann beginnt mein Lieblingsmoment des Abends: Alle Kinder und ihre Eltern ziehen mit den bunten Laternen von Haus zu Haus und sammeln Süßigkeiten. Auch wenn ich leider schon zu alt dafür bin selber Süßigkeiten zu sammeln, freue ich mich immer wieder darauf, Teil des St.Martinsfestes zu sein. Nun darf ich Süßigkeiten verteilen während die Kinder singen.

Was denkt ihr? Möchtet ihr dieses Jahr auch Teil des St.Martinstages sein? Kommt vorbei und schaut Euch den Umzug mit mir gemeinsam in der Altstadt an. Keine Angst, denn ich versorge Euch gerne mit einer schönen Laterne und bringe Euch auch die traditionellen Lieder bei, sodass wir einen unvergesslichen Abend erleben können. Für weitere Informationen, kontaktiert bitte unsere Persönlichen Assistenten im Breidenbacher Hof, a Capella Hotel, welche Ihr unter pa.bbh@capellahotels.com erreicht.

A 4th Of July History Lesson From Capella DC

Fourth of July Capella DC

Just imagine what Washingtonians of years past would have thought of our upcoming July 4th rooftop experience at Capella Washington, D.C.!  Georgetown is after all, one of the most historic of American towns and it is especially rich in 4th of July history.  Did you know for instance that on July 4, 1828, President John Quincy Adams officiated the groundbreaking ceremonies at the C&O Canal with the musical accompaniment of the US Marine band?  And back in 1850, Washingtonian William Gordon wrote this about his fourth of July experience at Parrott’s Woods in Georgetown, in his book, “Recollections of a Boyhood in Georgetown.”

Fourth of July Capella DC

“On arriving at the woods the day was celebrated. Patriotic songs were sung, the Star Spangled Banner never being omitted, and addresses made by young college graduates. Later in the day speeches were made by the elders. Townsmen of all classes participated, and barrels of lemonade and abundance of eatables of every kind were provided; everything was free and all were welcomed. After a somewhat strenuous day parents and children returned home tired out but patriotically happy.”

There is no better place to celebrate America’s independence than our nation’s capital.  The Fourth of July Parade is one of my favorites!

More interesting July 4th facts:

1801 – The first public Fourth of July reception at the White House occurs.

1848 – In Washington, D.C., the laying of the cornerstone of the Washington Monument takes place with the President James Madison, First Lady Dolly Madison and other VIPs in attendance.

1947 – In Washington, D.C., the July Fourth ceremony at the monument grounds is televised for the first time.

1964 – A recorded reading of the Declaration of Independence by slain President John F. Kennedy is broadcast over radio airwaves. In Prescott, AZ., Senator Barry Goldwater rides a horse in the annual Frontier Days Rodeo parade.

1966 – President Lyndon Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act into law.

Source: James R. Heintze. Librarian, American University, Washington, D.C. 

4th of July Capella DC

All I can say is that we’re aligning the stars and stripes once again for a most patriotic 4th of July weekend.  Our exclusive rooftop bar & lounge is the perfect location to view fireworks and enjoy a variety of handcrafted cocktails.

Our overnight package includes:

  • Overnight stay in one of our luxurious accommodations of your choice with views of the C&O Canal and historic Georgetown
  • VIP access to our private rooftop bar, lounge and infinity pool
  • Viewing of the National Firework Celebration
  • Live musical entertainment
  • Capella’s Culinary Team will have delicious barbecue action stations from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, for $49 per person and $29 for children. (All food and beverage orders are charged separately from the Fourth of July package)
  • Breakfast the next morning in The Grill Room.

To reserve this incredible experience at Capella Washington, D.C., please contact your Personal Assistant at 202-617-2400 or e-mail res.dc@capellahotels.com.

To book today, please click here.

www.capelladcjuly4.com

A Truly Unique Mother’s Day Gift

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May is one of my favourite months.  This is because the second Sunday of May is Mother’s Day.  As a new mother, it has become even more meaningful — signifying to me the true beauty of life.  I have learnt to appreciate my own mother a lot more as well. As such, I decided that instead of buying my mother a generic Mother’s Day gift this year, I would do a bit of my own research so that the flowers I buy her will have significance and meaning.

What better place to learn about flowers than the Singapore Botanic Gardens — which was where I headed to last weekend.

Opened in 1859, the Singapore Botanic Garden is home to the National Orchid Garden, which features the largest display of tropical orchids in the world.  As the Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid is the national flower of Singapore, I thought it fitting to give my mother a bouquet of orchids for Mother’s Day.  Covering more than 3 hectares of ground with more than 60,000 orchid plants representing 1,000 orchid species and 2,000 hybrids, I was sure to find the perfect orchid for my mother.

National Orchid Garden Singapore

When I was there, I found out that many famous people had orchids named after them, such as, Princess Diana, Lady Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela and even the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge!  Apparently, the National Orchid Garden has named more than 100 VIP orchids.

Orchids named after Princess DianaOrchids named after the late Princess Diana

Orchids named after Margaret ThatcherOrchids named after the late Lady Margaret Thatcher

It was at the National Orchid Garden that I realised that you did not have to be a VIP to name an orchid after someone.  An orchid can be named after your loved one for a fee of anywhere from S$5,000 to S$15,000.  The National Orchid Garden can put you in touch with a local orchid breeder who confer a unique hybrid after the name of your choice.  He will then send the details to the Royal Horticultural Society in London.  How amazing is that?  Who wouldn’t want an orchid named after them?  Don’t you think it is a truly unique Mother’s Day gift?  One that will live on forever.  I might just name one after my mother this Mother’s Day!

For those who are interested in finding out more about naming orchids, please contact your Capella Singapore Personal Assistants at pa.singapore@capellahotels.com / +65 6591 5034.  Alternatively, The Knolls is offering guests the opportunity to create a bouquet of flowers for their mothers during the Mother’s Day Sunday Brunch on 11 May 2014.  Please contact theknolls.singapore@capellahotels.com / +65 6591 5046 to find out more.

Christmas At Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel

Christmast at Breidenbacher Hof

Waiting for Christmas – I love it! My day starts with a walk to my Advent calendar to open the next window with great excitement.  The anticipation for Christmas grows every day.  But if you ask me, the best part of the day is, when I walk through the lobby of the Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel.  Our great pianist Ulli plays the most beautiful Christmas songs, the hotel gleams in its ceremonial brightness everywhere you look.  A wonderful Christmas tree with a mountain of presents under it welcomes every guest, client, deliveryman and employee entering the hotel lobby.

Christmast at Breidenbacher Hof

One of my favorite elements this year is our Christmas wonderland display featuring giant Steiff stuffed animals.  Provided by our neighbors Kaufhof an der Kö, this wintery display delights not only children, but adults as well!

I love to watch as the people enter the hotel.  At first, they may seem overwhelmed by their day or the bustling of the city outside.  But, then there is this moment: they look up, and suddenly are enveloped by the season’s good cheer.  Next thing you know, a smile stretches across their faces.  It doesn’t matter how exhausting the journey has been or how many people are rushing through the city – in this moment the Christmas season has overtaken them.  You can’t imagine what kind of privilege it is to welcome a guest at Christmas time!

Will you be visiting Breidenbacher Hof this holiday season?  Christmas at Breidenbacher Hof truly is a special experience.  If you are in Dusseldorf do come by for a cup of hot cocoa and some holiday cheer—you won’t be disappointed!

Weihnachten Im Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel

Christmast at Breidenbacher Hof

Auf Weihnachten warten – ich liebe es! Mein Tag beginnt mit einem Gang zum Adventskalender,  um mit großer Spannung das nächste Türchen zu öffnen.  Und die Vorfreude auf Weihnachten wächst mit jedem Tag.  Aber wenn ihr mich fragt,  ist meine tägliche Runde durch die Lobby Lounge unseres Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel der beste Part.  Unser wunderbarer Pianist Ulli spielt die schönsten Weihnachtslieder, die Dekorationen im Haus erstrahlen in feierlichem Glanz und ein prachtvoller Weihnachtsbaum mit vielen bunten Geschenken erfreut unsere Gäste, Kunden, Lieferanten und Mitarbeiter in der Hotellobby.

Christmast at Breidenbacher Hof

Eines meiner Lieblingselemente dieses Jahr ist allerdings die Winterlandschaft mit Steiff Plüschtieren in unserer Lobby Lounge.  Unser Nachbar Kaufhof an der Kö, hat uns diese als Weihnachtsüberraschung für unsere kleinen – und großen – Gäste freundlicherweise zur Verfügung gestellt!

Das Beste ist, wenn man beobachtet, wie unsere Gäste das Haus betreten.  Im ersten Moment könnte man meinen, dass sie vom Trubel auf den Straßen gestresst sind.  Aber in dem Augenblick, in dem sie das Hotel betreten und aufschauen, scheint all dies Dank der weihnachtlichen Stimmung vergessen.  Innerhalb von Sekunden blitzt ein Lächeln in ihrem Gesicht auf, egal wie anstrengend die Anreise oder wie groß das Gedränge in der Stadt war.  Genau in diesem Moment steht nur noch der weihnachtliche Gedanke im Mittelpunkt.  Ihr könnt Euch gar nicht vorstellen, wie schön das Gefühl ist, unsere Gäste zu dieser Jahreszeit zu empfangen!

Werdet ihr auch während der Feiertage im Breidenbacher Hof sein?  Wenn ihr in Düsseldorf seid, dann kommt auf eine heiße Schokolade vorbei—ihr werdet es nicht bereuen!