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!

The Tet Paul Hike

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November is Health & Wellness Month in St. Lucia and with good reason! The island’s mix of adventure and tranquility provides an unbeatable setting for physical, mental and spiritual health. Here at Capella Marigot Bay, a 24 hour fitness center, yoga classes, spa treatments and an array of nutritious meals ensure that achieving health and wellness is always easy and fun. Even after just a couple of days here, I always feel rejuvenated!

Outdoor activities in such a pristine setting are a cornerstone of health and wellness and in St. Lucia that exists in abundance.  One of my personal favorites is the Tet Paul Nature Trail. The difficulty level is just challenging enough to make it a great cardiovascular activity while still being pleasant!

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Tet Paul is an excellent nature hike as there are plenty of plants, fruits and flowers to observe and learn about. Our guide, Jarod, was quick to point out the amazing tropical plants we were seeing along the way.

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I saw my first ever pineapple plant in person on the Tet Paul hike! We were even able to try some of the fruits that grow in the area while we were there and they were incredibly flavorful as well as nutritious.

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But of course, the main attraction is the view at the top of Tet Paul! Once you reach the end you are rewarded for your hard work with the most glorious view of St. Lucia’s Piton mountains. That alone is worth the trip and while no photo can truly do it justice, I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed.  It also happens to be the perfect spot to “Touch the Top of the Pitons” a social media phenomenon where visitors take photos of themselves touching the top of these iconic Caribbean mountains and share it online!

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I would love to see your “Touch the Top of the Pitons” photos so be sure to tag me @CapellaStLucia on Twitter and Instagram. ‘Til then, Happy Hiking! Even if you aren’t in St. Lucia for Health and Wellness month, I highly recommend treating yourself to some outdoor activities and of course, a great massage. You deserve it!

 

Spend A Magical Day At Sapphire Falls

edit_MG_1285Soufriere, the volcanic region of St. Lucia, is well-known for its gorgeous waterfalls and naturally occurring hot springs.  If you’re anything like me, tropical island vacations go hand-in-hand with some up close and personal time with a waterfall, so I am extremely excited to share Sapphire Falls with you!

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Nestled in a stunning, private area of rich foliage, Sapphire Falls is exclusive to guests of Capella Marigot Bay. Instead of following the vans of tourists heading to nearby Sulphur Springs, our guide, Jahrod, led us off the beaten path. We walked through a nature trail lined with native St. Lucian flora.

edit_MG_1270The walk was idyllic, as we passed some smaller streams along the way with mini-waterfalls.  Jahrod informed us that the water is dark because it is laden with mineral rich volcanic ash! Since it’s coming from La Soufriere, St. Lucia’s volcano, the water is warm!

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Arriving at Sapphire Falls is like entering a tropical dream-come-true. Everything you’d ever wanted to experience on a Caribbean island is right before you.  I found myself just wanting to take it all in.  After plunging beneath the waterfall and slathering our skin in mud from volcanic ash, we spent some time relaxing in the sulphur spring pool and taking in our surroundings while eating fresh mangos.

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To actually have a place like this all to ourselves and experience it without interference is such a rarity. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity. When you visit St. Lucia, you must go to Sapphire Falls! It will become a cherished memory and a wonderful bonding experience to share with your favorite people.

edit_MG_1310Pictured above is our guide, Jahrod. He is incredibly knowledgeable about all things St. Lucia. You will love meeting him!edit_MG_1280Everyone deserves to experience nature on this scale and I hope you have the opportunity to visit Sapphire Falls soon! Your Capella Marigot Bay Personal Assistant will arrange all the details for visiting this stunning location.

In the meantime, I recommend pampering yourself with a mud mask either at home or at the spa! Your skin will feel rejuvenated and baby soft. Enjoy!

Exploring Dusseldorf On Wheels

As soon as the weather changes to summery temperatures, I feel like spending time outside.  There are so many fun activities available in Dusseldorf – sometimes I can’t decide what to do first!  My most favorite outdoor activity is inline skating.  I’ve skated at many places in Germany, but Dusseldorf honestly has the best scenery along The Rhine Promenade.

exploring dusseldorfIn my opinion, inline skating is the best form of exercise, but even if you prefer cycling, I promise you that exploring Dusseldorf on wheels is a great adventure.  Of course, this is especially true if you follow my favorite route: The prettiest round starts at the Old Town continuing to Kaiserswerth and back.  I always start in the Old Town to get myself into the right mood for my skating trip.  And if you want to start the adventure with a meal, the best place to have a delicious dish with an Altbier is the Uerige!  It’s one of Dusseldorf’s traditional Altbier breweries and you can enjoy your Altbier outside.

The tour I take is about 20 kilometers long and I am sure you will enjoy every meter of it just as I always do.  Why? Because during the tour you see several sights!  The Tonhalle for example: The Tonhalle is a place where a lot of concerts, usually classical concerts, take place and it is very close to the Promenade.  Secondly, the entire path is located next to the Rhine, which is very idyllic – it makes me feel so free as the wind blows through my hair and I watch the boats move down the river.

In Kaiserswerth, I take a break at the beer garden Galerie Burghof as I am a big fan of their freshly made waffles.  And have you ever heard of the drink Radler?  It is beer mixed with lemonade.  I know it sounds weird, but it is very refreshing and gives you the necessary push for the trek back to the Old Town.
If you are looking for different routes for your personal Dusseldorf skating or biking tour our Personal Assitant’s can provide you with all information and tips during your next stay at the Breidenbacher Hof.  I am sure that they will arrange for exceptional activities for you to explore!

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

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!

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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.

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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.