Get To Know D.C.’s DMV Area

With over 20 million visitors per year, Washington, D.C. is one of the most popular places to visit in the United States.  From historic monument tours, to museums, to outdoor festivals, there is always something to do and see.  But the fun doesn’t stop at the city’s borders!  With as many sights and tours as within the city, there is lots to discover in the surrounding area as well.

The nickname, DMV, which represents the District, Maryland and Virginia was created to describe the greater Washington Metropolitan area.  The best part about visiting DC is that both Maryland and Virginia are no more than a twenty-minute car ride from Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown.  And while many visitors stick to the “D” there is lots to do in the “M” and “V” as well.  Below are some of my favorite spots.

The “M” – Maryland

The National Harbor is the perfect destination for you and your whole family.  With over 150 different activities to choose from, there is truly something for every taste.  From Shopping and dining options to the thrilling Capital Wheel, to the over-sized plaza screen, carousel, and gorgeous view, it is easy to spend an entire day here.  After spending the day shopping, paddle-boarding, and exploring, this stunning viewpoint is a fantastic place to take in a sunset to punctuate the end of an eventful day.

The National Harbor

Annapolis, the state capital of Maryland, is also known as a world renowned sailing destination.  If your idea of a great getaway includes being on the waters, Annapolis is the perfect location.  Rich with maritime heritage, and with over hundreds of miles of shoreline, the Chesapeake Bay offers every visitor a sense of serenity as they watch the sailboats cruise on by.  But you aren’t limited to sailing!  Enjoy fishing, water tours, wind-surfing and kite-surfing and much more along these shores.  Another reasion to visit?  Some of the best crab cakes you will ever eat!

The “V” – Virginia

Fairview Lakes located in Reston, Virginia may only be a twenty minute drive from the city, feels like a world away.  An idyllic park, there are activities for all.  From picnic areas to a children’s waterpark to grown up water sports, it is easy to see how one could spend a day enjoying this getaway.  I definitely recommend it for those looking to escape the city for a bit!

Reston VA

 Wolf Trap National Park is currently the only national park dedicated to presenting the performing arts.  Something so special, you have to see it for yourself, Wolf Trap offers multiple amphitheaters that showcase a wide range of performances, including: musicals, dance, jazz, opera, and concerts.  Allow the park rangers to set up backstage guided tours or opt for a hike and explore the park’s natural areas as you can choose from kid-friendly hikes to a bit more advanced.  You’ll be sure to have a day filled with musical muses!

Of course, your Personal Assistant at Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown is on hand to set up any of these mini day-trips for you. Allow our team to make your stay an unforgettable vacation by personalizing your own unique activities and attractions that are set up around your preferences. Don’t forget to tag your DMV explorations with @CapellaDC so I can share your photos with our community!

Celebrate 50 Years: 6 Unique Singapore Experiences

If you’re in Singapore over the next few weeks, you’ve picked the best time to visit!  On the cusp of our golden jubilee, Singapore is one of the most exciting cities to be in.

We may be just a tiny red dot on the world map, but our small size simply makes us better at packing a lot of flavour into every experience.  And to celebrate our 50th birthday, our nation has gone the extra mile to orchestrate unique Singapore experiences in the month of August.  Here’s a peek at my personal calendar this month!

#1  Watch Fireworks Light An Iconic Skyline

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There’s something magical about watching firework light up the night – the dancing lights juxtaposed against a spectacular urban skyline is truly unforgettable.  Although catching the National Day Parade fireworks is a yearly ritual for me, I am particularly excited this year.  To celebrate 50 years of independence, the fireworks next month will be at an unprecedented scale, and specially designed to reflect the theme of ‘Majulah Singapura, or ‘Onwards Singapore’ in Malay.

This year, in additional to fireworks on National Day (9 August) and at the National Day Preview (1 August), you can also catch fireworks on 7 and 8 August at the Marina Basin.  The best part is, you won’t even need a ticket to the parade to witness these spectacular light displays.  Simply find a good spot along the Marina Bay Sands Waterfront, Esplanade, Marina Barrage or Helix Bridge for an unblocked view.

#2  Soak In Local Culture At Singapore’s First UNESCO Site

Singapore Symphony Orchestra  Palm Valley

I’m extremely proud to share that our garden city finally got its own UNESCO heritage site!  And fittingly, it is one of my favourite gardens in the world – the Singapore Botanic Gardens.  The minute you step into this green sanctuary, you will pick up a whiff of exotic herbs, flowers and lush foliage.  From the exquisite National Orchid Garden to the finely sculpted Bonsai Garden, our trees reflect our nation’s unique history, culture and personality.  I also love exploring the century-old heritage trees, which always inspire me to appreciate the fleeting beauty and transience of life.

After an afternoon of exploration, I particularly enjoy kicking back and enjoying an evening concert or outdoor movie screening accompanied by a cool evening breeze.  To celebrate Singapore’s birthday month, the Singapore Botanic Garden’s August line-up include local films such as It’s A Great Great World and Singapore Dreaming.  If you’re visiting Singapore for the first time, this will offer you an instant immersion in local culture and common expressions.

#3  Try The 50-Finger Massage At Capella Singapore’s Auriga Spa

7. Couple's Spa at Auriga

I’ll admit that I have a soft spot for spa treatments. Carving up me-time is my secret to staying young, and beating everyday stress.  Auriga Spa is one of my favourite places because it instantly transports me from the mundane demands of life and the ceaseless bustle of the city.

For the month of August, Auriga’s Spa director Shanti has designed the ultimate indulgence – the 50-Finger Massage.  As you can imagine, this 50-Finger Massage was inspired by SG50 and Singapore’s 50th birthday, so no expense is spared to ensure your utmost comfort and relaxation.  Performed by five therapists in synchronised motions, this massage soothes the legs, body, hands, neck and scalp, kneading away every tensed muscle in the body at once.  It takes one through Auriga’s four signature moon phase therapies – the New Moon to awaken the senses, Waxing Moon to loosen tight joints, Full Moon for balance and Waning Moon for detoxification and cleansing.  I felt utterly renewed after this treatment.

#4  Go Museum-Hopping Around Singapore


Museums are the best place to soak in culture, and Singapore offers some of the best museums in Southeast Asia.  From art to culture, history and science, museum-hopping is one of the best ways to indulge my inner geek.

One of my favourite museums is The National Museum – also the oldest museum in Singapore, and a haven of intricate artefacts.  Singapura: 700 Years is currently on display at this museum, and chronicles our nation’s transformation from a fishing village to modern Singapore.  Also worth a visit are the Asian Civilisation Museum, the Singapore Art Museum, and The ArtScience Museum.

#5   Shop For Quirky Souvenirs


Whenever international friends visit Singapore, I love presenting them with Singapore-inspired souvenirs.  However, one thing I do not love, is ‘Singapore Is A Fine City’ T-shirts.  If you’re looking for more design-driven and less clichéd options, two of my current raves are Naiise and Mandy T.

Naiise is a Singapore-based shopping portal that stocks curated designs by more than 250 brands from Singapore and around the world.  This includes homeware, art, T-shirts and fashion accessories that allude to local humour and expressions.  Many of these designs are modern, clean and intelligent.

Beautyphiles will also adore Mandy T, an artisan natural skincare atelier that will give many large brands a run for their money with tasteful and personal creations.  Mandy, founder of the eponymous label, is a former marketer and publicist who cooks up beauty remedies free from synthetic dyes, artificial fragrances, parabens and petrochemicals.  Many of her products feature fresh herbs from her very own garden.

#6  Toast To 50 Years Of Singapore At Bob’s Bar


If like me, you’ve had one too many Singapore Slings, it’s time to discover a new Singapore-inspired cocktail.  Exclusively for the month of August, Bob’s Bar unveils a new national cocktail crafted by bartender Vincent Zheng.

The Red Island is made with ingredients that represent the four main ethnicities of Singapore – Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian.  It is as complex and unforgettable as it sounds.  An ode to Singapore’s cultural diversity, this Shiraz wine concoction is an ideal way to round up my Singapore adventures.  Cheers to more amazing travels!

For more activities in Singapore, please visit the Capella Singapore’s website here, or contact your personal assistant for recommendations.



Emily Of Emerald Hill At The Peranakan Museum

Earlier this month, the Peranakan Museum was having a very special exhibition on Emily of Emerald Hill, an iconic Singaporean play written in 1982 by local playwright Stella Kon.  Emily of Emerald Hill has been performed numerous times in Singapore as well as other parts of the world such as Malaysia, Hawaii and even Edinburgh!  It is considered one of the regions greatest literary works.

peranakan museum

Paying tribute to the symbolic play, the Emily of Emerald Hill Exhibition at the Peranakan Museum showcased the different interpretations of the play through the costumes, props, scripts, photographs and videos.

Emily of Emerald Hill follows the life of a young Peranakan bride, Emily Gan who marries into a rich matriarchal family on Emerald Hill.  What is interesting about the play is that it is a one-woman play narrated by Emily as she recounts the challenges and experiences from her past.

Emily of Emerald Hill is touted as a symbol of Singaporean Identity and one of Singapore’s most iconic plays because of how closely it follows and preserves the Peranakan culture.  The Peranakans were born from the early Chinese immigrants to the British Malaya, now known as Singapore and Malaysia.  Many of them were traders, the middle people between the British and the Chinese and they grew to be among the wealthiest group in the early 20th century.

The Peranakan culture is interesting because of the integration of both Western and local culture.  As such, while they mostly spoke English, hints of Malay and dialect would be present as part of their speech.  The Peranakan also continued to practice many of the Chinese beliefs, which are depicted throughout the play.  True to the story of Emily, Peranakan Families are very matriarchal, because the women would run the household while the men were off to work to earn money to support the family.  Peranakan women were known to be extremely capable, not just in cooking but also in intricate handicrafts.

The next time you visit Singapore, I would definitely recommend a visit to the Peranakan Museum where you will be able to experience first hand the exotic Peranakan culture.  Please talk to your Capella Singapore Personal Assistant, who will be happy to help with planning your visit!

Here is a video excerpt of the play Emily of Emerald Hill:


Photo via The Peranakan Museum.