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.

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!

Der Gerahmte Kölner Dom

Malte

Ein unvergleichliches Gästebeispiel hat einer unserer persönlichen Assistenten, Malte, mit mir geteilt. Und zwar hatte eben dieser Gast zum ersten Mal einen Aufenthalt bei uns im Breidenbacher Hof gebucht, zudem sein erstes Mal in Düsseldorf und der größeren Umgebung sein. Da er besonders an kulturellen und historischen Sehenswürdigkeiten interessiert war – vornehmlich Kirchen – fragte er, ob er von seinem Zimmer aus den Kölner Dom sehen könne. Daraufhin informierte ihn Malte,  dass gut 40 Kilometer zwischen den beiden Metropolen lägen und dies leider nicht möglich sie.

Stattdessen bot ihm Malte an, eine geführte Tour für ihn arrangieren – dieses Angebot nahm der Gast dankend an. Dennoch ließ Malte die spürbare Enttäuschung des Gastes keine Ruhe, so dass er überlegte, wie er ihm eine Überraschung während seines Aufenthalts bereiten könnte.

Er suchte nach einem Bild des Kölner Doms, druckte es aus und rahmte es. Am Anreisetag des Gastes platzierte er das Bild zusammen mit einer Notiz auf dem Nachttisch: „Jetzt können Sie den Kölner Dom jederzeit sehen“.

Als der Gast das Bild in seinem Zimmer vorfand, machte er sich sofort auf den Weg zu Malte. Völlig überwältigt von so viel Aufmerksamkeit bedankte er sich: „Vielen Dank, dass sie einen Aufenthalt in einem Luxushotel in ein wahres persönliches Erlebnis verwandelt haben!“.