Get To Know Ethan: A Capella Washington, D.C. Personal Assistant

Ethan Personal Assistant CWDC 2

Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down with Ethan, a fantastic Capella Washington, D.C. Personal Assistant.  Around here, Ethan is known for being both clever and genuine.  As Ethan will be leaving the team for college shortly, I thought this was the perfect time to hear a bit about his experience as a Personal Assistant.

D.C. Personal Assistant

Tell me about yourself. What are two experiences that have made you who you are today?

I am 19 years old and come from a family that has always been involved in public service. My aunt was Ted Kennedy’s foreign policy advisor for a large number of years and my parents own a gas station in Pennsylvania. I’ve grown up seeing guest interactions firsthand and have always had a passion for business, especially the dynamic industries where no two days are alike.  Guests come and go, but you want to make a memorable impression on them and that’s what draws me to hospitality.

Can you tell me about a time where you planned and executed a memorable and unique experience for our guests here at Capella Washington, D.C.?

We had an influential author and his family who expressed interest in taking a tour of Washington, D.C.  They originally were looking at the big bus and the old town trolley, but I told them that the best way to tour the city is by foot underneath the city lights.  I put together a walking guide that started out on the Potomac River Waterfront, to the National Mall and everything in-between. I made sure to include unique destinations that they would not find on the Internet, such as the Watergate complex, giving insight on the Nixon Scandal and many more destinations sharing Washington’s history.  The guest loved how we personalized all the information, with walking directions, maps and suggestions. The next day, the author signed a copy of his book to show his appreciation. I love having guests that stay with us for more than three days for instance. This is when you really have the opportunity to learn about them and establish a connection to give them that home away from home feeling.

Ethan Personal Assistant CWDC

How do you wow a guest?

I think you wow a guest by what you do when they are not around.  Often times it is the least verbally appreciated things we do, but it’s those little things over the course of the stay that establishes that wow factor.  Getting it right on the first try and picking up on small details is crucially important.

Being so young and hungry, what motivates you about working at Capella D.C.?

I believe in the product. I think it’s really easy to work hard when you love your job. You love your job when you really believe in it. When you have a property as amazing as this and a team as great as this it comes naturally. Each one of us goes above and beyond for every single guest and that’s what inspires me to keep striving for success.

What will you take away most with you from Capella D.C. experience when you move onto hotel school at Cornell?

I will always live, breathe and sleep by the Capella Canon (A card that each employee carries everyday that aligns each of us behind the philosophy and mission of Capella Hotels & Resorts). The knowledge of hotel objectives and taking the time to understand individuals and personalize their experiences is something I will never forget.

What advice can you give to future guests of Capella?

The happiest guests who stay with us are the ones who take the time to speak with their Personal Assistant prior to their arrival. In order to be certain that we have all our guests’ preferences and details, the guest conversation is very important. When your Personal Assistant calls you, these few minutes can make the difference between having transportation arrangements, personalized newspapers in your room, refreshment center stocked with your favorite food and drinks and even a family photo to welcome you. Our service will always be exceptional, but with the support of guest preferences, we can tailor your experience in a personalized way, just how you like it.  This is what we consider luxury.

For more information about Capella Personal Assistant services and how to get in touch with them, please e-mail pa.dc@capellahotels.com or call 202-617-2416.

Un día en la vida de un Asistente Personal de Capella

rsz_pa_1_de_1

Asistente Personal de Capella

Estaba leyendo los comentarios sobre Capella Pedregal y me inspiré cómo los huéspedes recuerdan al personal y el legado que dejan a cada huésped Decidí pasar un día “de sombra” de Diana Elvira, una de las Asistentes Personales en Capella Pedregal, para ver cómo el equipo ayuda a los huéspedes a crear este tipo de experiencias inolvidables.
El programa de Asistentes Personales de Capella, es una parte única y especial de la experiencia de Capella Hotels and Resorts. A diferencia de un conserje típico, los Asistentes Personales se enorgullecen de trabajar con los los huéspedes en la creación de una verdadera experiencia individualizada. Los Asistentes Personales contactan a los huéspedes mucho antes de su llegada para determinar todas las necesidades y peticiones especiales, a partir de ahí se puede adaptar recomendar y organizar actividades y experiencias que cumplen de forma única con los intereses de los huéspedes. El asistente personal está allí desde el momento en que el huésped llega y los asiste durante toda la estancia, en busca de oportunidades para ayudar a crear una experiencia inolvidable.

Nuestro día comenzó con una reunión de equipo, donde los Asistentes Personales revisan las llegadas del día para asegurarse de que todos estén al tanto de las celebraciones de los huéspedes y / o peticiones especiales (estos incluyen todo, desde alergias a almohadas!). Poco después de la reunión Diana estaba ocupada saludando a su primera llegada del día, una de las seis que tendría ese día. Vi como ella saludó a cada huésped mientras el botones les entregaba una margarita fresca (o agua de jamaica). Era como saludar a un amigo, “hola, soy Diana su asistente personal; es genial finalmente conocerlos en persona. Bienvenido al paraíso, déjenme mostrarles el hotel!”

Diana , Personal Assistant at Capella Pedregal showing us a special Anniversary Amenity for a guest

Diana , Personal Assistant at Capella Pedregal showing us a special Anniversary Amenity for a guest

Diana se reunió con sus huéspedes en casa y revisaron sus reservas, citas e hizo nota de las peticiones adicionales. Durante nuestra conversación con una de los huéspedes, ella mencionó que ama los chiles y las salsas, así que Diana le sugirió tener una clase de cocina con el chef para aprender más acerca de diferentes chiles y cómo hacer salsas mejicanas tradicionales en casa. A la huésped le encantó la idea!

Diana me compartió una de sus historias favoritas de huéspedes, sobre una propuesta de matrimonio que tuvo lugar en Capella Pedregal. El huésped quería sorprender a su novia, así que Diana escondió algunos regalos metálicos en la playa con diferentes sorpresas y notas románticas. El huésped llevó a su novia a una “búsqueda del tesoro” con un detector de metales. Ella estaba divirtiéndose mucho mientras se acercaba a la nota final del tesoro . La última nota decía : “¿quieres casarte conmigo?” Y trajo lágrimas a sus ojos. Diana había organizado un fotógrafo para capturar cada momento mientras estaba oculto. Cuando dijo “¡SÍ!” El fotógrafo trajo una botella de champagne y se reunió con ellos en la playa. Encontré la historia fantástica! Estoy segura que la pareja va a recordar ese momento especial para siempre!
A medida que el día llegaba a su fin, estaba agotada, pero los Asistentes Personales aún estaban trabajando duro. Al salir, Diana estaba corriendo a reunirse con el sommelier para revisar los detalles para una degustación especial de vinos. Sin lugar a dudas, otro recuerdo que un huésped disfrutara de por vida. Mientras me dirigía a casa día, me di cuenta de que realmente tenía una mejor comprensión de por qué los huéspedes escriben tantos hermosos comentarios sobre el equipo de Capella Pedregal.

Valentinstag Im Breidenbacher Hof

Valentinstag 2

Ich liebe unsere Persönlichen Assistenten hier im Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel.  Es gibt nichts, was sie nicht können!  Wenn ihr Hilfe beim Shoppen braucht,  können sie Eure Shopping Assistenten sein.  Wenn ihr nach Action sucht,  werden sie Eure Event Manager und für Euch unvergessliche aufregende Erlebnisse planen.  Und wenn ihr Romantik in Düsseldorf sucht,  spielen unsere Persönlichen Assistenten gerne Euren Amor!  Ihr braucht einen Beweis?  Dann last mich mit Euch eine wirklich romantische Geschichte von einem Pärchen erzählen,  das die letzten vier Valentinstage mit uns verbracht hat.

Die Geschichte beginnt vor vier Jahren.  Wie gewohnt kontaktieren unsere Persönlichen Assistenten die Gäste vor Anreise,  um zu fragen,  ob etwas für sie vorbereitet werden darf.  Der Mann erklärte,  dass sie für ihren Aufenthalt nichts Besonderes benötigen, sie seien nur da, „um den Valentinstag zu feiern“.  Naja, es gibt kein „nur“ im Vokabular unserer Persönlichen Assistenten und sofort ging die Planung los,  wie man dem Paar einen unvergesslichen Aufenthalt bescheren könnte.

Valentine's Day At Breidenbacher Hof

Der Plan war perfekt:  Die Persönlichen Assistenten entschieden sich dafür, das Zimmer des Paares in einen perfekten romantischen Rückzugsort zu verwandeln.  Sie verteilten Rosenblätter im ganzen Raum – vom Flur bis zur Badewanne.  Champagner,  Erdbeeren mit Schokoladenglasur und ein Kuchen erwartete das Paar. Für romantische Musik war natürlich auch gesorgt.  Es war wirklich das perfekte Arrangement für einen romantischen Valentinstag.

Wie zu erwarten,  war das Paar bei seiner Anreise verblüfft und zwar so sehr,  dass sie seit diesem Jahr immer wieder zurückkehren,  um den Valentinstag im Breidenbacher Hof zu feiern.  Jedes Jahr suchen die Persönlichen Assistenten nach neuen Möglichkeiten die beiden zu überraschen und zu begeistern.

Capella Singapore’s Peranakan Experience

Traditional Peranakan beading work.

Last week I had the opportunity to accompany one of the Capella Singapore Personal Assistants on a trip to the Peranakan museum as part of the new Peranakan Experience that we have created for guests who would like to explore the local Singapore culture.

Part of the tour took us to the Peranakan Museum, which showcased decades of age-old Peranakan culture and history.  For those unfamiliar, the Peranakan culture evolved from the early Chinese and Malay settlers in colonial Singapore and Malaysia who intermarried resulting in an exotic blend of cultures.

One thing I found particularly interesting was the strong matriarchal tendencies among the Peranakan.  While the men were the sole breadwinners for the family, the women, known as Nonyas, stayed home and ran the household.  As a result, one of the unique traits of Nonya women is that they are skilled in the culinary arts and crafts that distinguish the culture.  Luckily for me, I had the opportunity to experience both these luxuries.

Following our tour of the Peranakan Museum, we headed to a near by Peranakan restaurant.  The cuisine, while employing many traditional Chinese preparations, is extremely unique in its flavor profile.  We tried everything from a Fish Head Curry (not nearly as mad as the name suggests!) to Kueh Pie Tee, which featured shredded bamboo shoots and shrimp inside mini pie shells.  The flavors were exotic and bold and the dishes beautifully presented.

Traditional Peranakan beading work.

Traditional Peranakan beading work.

From there we headed to a shop run by a Peranakan woman, who still creates the traditional beaded shoes as well as selling beautiful kebayas.  Like the food the clothing was also brightly colored and rich in ornate detail.  We were told that some of the shoes could take several months to make as each bead was sewn on individually.  The same held true for the blouses and sarongs, as even the most “casual” kebaya was intricately decked out in skilled embroidery. Truly an art form!

The Peranakan culture is truly a significant part of the Singapore culture and something you really must experience for your self.  The next time you are at Capella Singapore be sure to ask your Personal Assistant for the Peranakan Experience.  I am sure you will love to learn about the history, culture and food just as much as I did!

Get To Know Capella Pedregal Personal Assistant, Marina Masclef

Marina 2

Every Capella Pedregal guest can confirm that our Personal Assistants have the best office!  Open air, waterfalls and the endless views of the Pacific Ocean are just some features of their office environment.  I had the pleasure of sitting in their office while talking with our new Lead Personal Assistant, Marina Masclef.

Capella Pedregal Personal AssistantMarina, I am so excited to sit down with you! Tell me, what brought you to Cabo San Lucas?
Originally, I am from Argentina. I always loved traveling and have visited many places around the world. I guess that’s why I love my job so much; I love helping create wonderful holidays for fellow travelers. When I first arrived, I was planning to stay in Cabo for one year, but this is already my 7th year here and I love it as much as the day I arrived.

What are your favorite things about Baja?
I am in love with Baja.  I love the climate, landscape, food and people.  Even today, after 7 years, I continue discovering new places.  I am constantly surprised by Baja, which is not easy!  This morning I enjoyed a stand up paddle boarding trip at Land’s End, and I feel invigorated and ready for the day!  I said hi to a couple of sea lions at the arch, and met some pelicans, which are my favorite.  This is my favorite way to start a day in Cabo San Lucas!

You joined Capella Pedregal three months ago.  Can you explain what is a Personal Assistant, and what is the difference between a PA and a Concierge?
Absolutely!  While a Concierge is a person you usually contact to book an activity or a dinner reservation when you are already at a vacation spot, the role of a Capella Pedregal Personal Assistant is much larger.  Our goal is to create a personalized experience for our guests, and help them create memories of a lifetime.
We contact our guests two weeks prior to their arrival, and find out any details about their stay; be it a relaxing vacation, upcoming marriage proposal, honeymoon, anniversary, birthday celebration or even business trip.  Based on this information, we suggest and help organize different activities; from spa treatments, cooking classes, tequila or wine tastings, outdoor activities, transportation and more.  Throughout their stay, my team and I are constantly available to our guests making sure to provide them with superior services and experiences.
I love finding new ways to surprise and charm our guests.  Once we created a romantic treasure hunt that ended with the future groom on bended knee.  Another time, in celebration of a young guest’s birthday, Patrick (one of our PAs) had a piñata specially made in the shape of a Lightning McQueen.  And a third guest received a special wake up call in the form of a mariachi band on his birthday.  These are just some of the many memories we cherish with our guests.

Capella Pedregal Personal Assistant 2And finally, tell me a bit about the Capella Pedregal Personal Assistant department.  What are your plans?
My goal is to become the best department at the resort.  I believe I have the best team and many of them have been here since Capella Pedregal opened.  We have eight Personal Assistants who cover both the hotel and our Capella Pedregal Residences.
We are constantly exploring new activities, working with other departments to create special memories and activities based on the interactions we have with our guests.  I encourage training as well, so each team member participates in the activities that we offer both at the resort as well as outside adventures.
From here the sky is the limit, which is good because as a brand Capella’s standards are celestial.

Surfing Southern Baja

Surfing in Southern Baja 1

Surfing Southern Baja is a favorite pastime of visitors and locals alike.  Especially in spring, when the wind combines with the currents to create the prefect conditions to take (or rent) your surfboard and head into the water.

There are several surfing spots in Baja, but some of the favorites are Acapulquito and Cerritos beach.  Both beaches offer waves for beginners as well as for experienced surfers.  After work you can often find some of my colleagues at the Acapulquito Beach in San Jose del Cabo, just 20 minutes from Capella Pedregal.  This is a perfect beach for beginners.  The waves break here from mid-March through September, although with proper weather conditions you can surf all year long.

Surfing in Southern Baja 1

My personal favorite is Cerritos Beach. While it is slightly further from Capella Pedregal at a 45 minutes drive, it is just a couple of minutes from the village Todos Santos.  Cerritos is a world famous beach not just for fantastic surf all year long (experienced surfers will like the break best from October to March), but also for miles of sandy beach and a beautiful location for swimming and spending the day with family and friends.

If you like surfing, or have always wanted to learn to surf, but never dared to try, a visit to Los Cabos makes for the perfect opportunity!  Surfing trainers in Baja will have you standing on your board in less than a day (I promise!).  When planning your stay at Capella Pedregal, contact your Personal Assistant, who will be happy to organize a surfing day for you.

Surfing in Southern Baja 2

Photo credits:
1.  Costa Azul Surf Shop: http://www.costa-azul.com.mx
2.  Your Capella Pedregal Insider