A Day In The Life Of A Capella Personal Assistant

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Capella Pedregal Personal Assistants team

I was reading all the reviews on Capella Pedregal and was inspired by how the guests remember the staff and the legacy that is left with each guest. I decided to spend a day shadowing Diana Elvira, one of the Personal Assistants at Capella Pedregal, to see how the team helps guests create such unforgettable experiences.

The Capella Personal Assistant program is a unique and special part of the Capella Hotels and Resorts experience.  Unlike a typical concierge, the Personal Assistants pride themselves on working with the guests in creating a truly individualized experience.  The Personal Assistants contact guests well in advance of their arrival to determine all needs and special requests, from there they can tailor recommend and arrange activities and experiences that uniquely fulfill the guest’s interests.  The Personal Assistant is there from the moment the guest arrives and assists them throughout the stay, looking for opportunities to help create an unforgettable experience.

Our day started with a team meeting where the Personal Assistants reviewed the arrivals for the day to make sure they were all aware of the guest celebrations and/or special requests (these included everything from allergies to extra pillows!). Shortly after the meeting Diana was busy greeting her first arrival of the day, one of six that she would have that day. I watched as she greeted each guest as the bellman handed them a fresh margarita (or hibiscus water). It was like greeting a friend,”hello, I am Diana your personal assistant; it is so great to finally meet you in person. Welcome to paradise, let me show you around!“

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

Diana met with her in-house guests and reviewed their reservations, appointments and made note of any additional requests. During our conversation with one of the guests, she mentioned that she loves chilies and salsas, so Diana suggested having a cooking class with the Chef to learn more about different chilies and how to make traditional Mexican salsas at home. The guest loved the idea!

Diana shared one of her favorite guest stories about a wedding proposal that took place at Capella Pedregal. The guest wanted to surprise his girlfriend, so Diana hid some metallic gifts on the beach with different surprises and romantic notes. The guest took his girlfriend on a “Treasure Hunt” with a metal detector. She was having the time of her life as she got closer to the final treasure note. The last one said “will you marry me?” and it brought tears to her eyes. Diana had arranged for a photographer to capture every moment while being hidden. When she said “YES!” the photographer brought a bottle of champagne and met them on the beach. I found the story so fantastic! I am sure the couple will remember that special moment forever!

As the day drew to a close, I was exhausted, but the Personal Assistants were still hard at work. As I left, Diana was running down to meet with the sommelier to review the details for a special wine tasting. Undoubtedly, another memory a guest would cherish for a lifetime. As I headed home for the day, I realized I truly had a greater understanding on why the guests write so many beautiful comments about the team at Capella Pedregal.

Valentine’s Day at Breidenbacher Hof

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I love our Personal Assistants here at Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel.  There is nothing they can’t do!  If you need help with shopping, they can be your shopping assistants,  if you are looking for some action,  they will be your event managers and create unforgettable exciting experiences.  And if you are in Düsseldorf for romance then our PA’s will be your Cupid!  Need proof?  Then allow me to share a real romantic story of a couple that has spent the last four Valentine’s with us.

The story begins four years ago.  As is customary, our Personal Assistant team contacted the guests before arrival to check if there was anything they could arrange for them.  The husband assured the Personal Assistant that there was nothing special needed as he and his wife “were just planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day.”  Well, there is no “just” in our Personal Assistants vocabulary and immediately they began planning how to create a memorable Valentine’s Day at Breidenbacher Hof.

Valentine's Day At Breidenbacher Hof

The plan was perfect:  The Personal Assistants decided to create the perfect romantic retreat in the couple’s room.  Rose petals were spread throughout the room—from the floor to the bathtub.  Champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and cake were set up for the couple. And romantic music played on the room’s sound system.  It was the perfect set up for a romantic Valentine’s Day.

Needless to say the couple was amazed upon arrival.  So much so that they now return every year to celebrate Valentine’s Day at Breidenbacher Hof.  And each year, the Personal Assistants look for a new way to surprise and delight them.

Get To Know Capella Pedregal Personal Assistant, Marina Masclef

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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.

Conoce a Marina Masclef, Asistente Personal en Jefe de Capella Pedregal

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Cualquier huésped de Capella Pedregal puede aseverar que nuestros Asistentes Personales tiene  la mejor oficina! Al aire libre, el sonido de cascadas e infinitas vistas al Océano Pacífico, son tan solo algunas de las características de su oficina. Tuve el placer de sentarme ahí mientras platicaba con nuestra nueva Asistente Personal en Jefe, Marina Masclef.

Capella Pedregal Personal AssistantMarina, estoy muy emocionada de sentarme a platicar contigo! Platícame que te trajo a Cabo San Lucas?
Originalmente soy de Argentina. Siempre me gustó viajar y he visitado muchos sitios alrededor del mundo. Supongo que es por esto que amo mi trabajo; Me encanta colaborar a crear las mejores experiencias de vacaciones para otros viajeros. La primera vez que llegué a Cabo, planeaba quedarme por un año solamente, pero ya voy para mi séptimo año aquí, y me sigue gustando tanto o más que cuando recién había llegado.

Cuáles son tus aspectos favoritos de la Baja?
Estoy enamorada de la Baja. Me encanta el clima, el paisaje, su comida y su gente. Incluso hoy, después de 7 años, continúo descubriendo nuevos lugares. La Baja me mantiene constantemente sorprendida, lo cual no es fácil! Hoy en la mañana, por ejemplo, disfruté de un viaje de la playa del Médano a El Arco en una tabla de SUP, y me siento llena de energía y lista para el día laboral! De hecho pude saludar a un par de leones marinos en El Arco, y conocer otro par de pelícanos, que debo decir, son mis favoritos. Esta es  mi manera favorita de iniciar el día en Cabo San Lucas!

Te uniste al equipo de Capella Pedregal hace apenas tres meses. Puedes explicarme que es un Asistente Personal, y cual es la diferencia de estos con un Concierge?
Claro que si! Un Concierge es una persona a la que normalmente contactas para que te ayude a realizar reservaciones cuando ya te encuentras en el destino de tus vacaciones, en cambio el rol de los Asistentes Personales va mucho más allá. Nuestro objetivo es crear experiencias personalizadas para cada uno de nuestros huéspedes, y ayudarles a crear memorias que duren toda la vida.
Contactamos a nuestros huéspedes un par de semanas antes de que lleguen al resort, para informarnos de cualquier detalle pertinente a su visita; ya sea que vienen a relajarse, alguna propuesta de matrimonio próxima, luna de miel, celebración de cumpleaños o aniversarios, o incluso saber si vienen en viaje de negocios. Basados en esta información, les sugerimos y ayudamos a organizar diferentes actividades; desde transportación, tratamientos de spa, clases de cocina, actividades al aire libre y catas de tequila o vinos, y mucho más. Durante su estadía, el equipo completo y yo estamos disponibles para nuestros huéspedes y nos aseguramos que reciban el mejor servicio así como las mejores experiencias.
Disfruto mucho encontrando nuevas formas de sorprender y encantar a nuestros huéspedes. En una ocasión recuerdo que creamos una “búsqueda del tesoro” romántica, la cual terminaba con el futuro novio arrodillado pidiendo matrimonio. En otra ocasión, para celebrar el cumpleaños de uno de nuestros jóvenes huéspedes, Patrick (uno de nuestros APs) mandó a hacer una piñata en la forma de ‘Lightning McQueen’ de la película “Cars”. Y otro huésped que recuerdo ahora mismo, despertó de manera especial con mariachi en la ventana el día de su cumpleaños. Estos son sólo algunos de las muchas memorias que guardo afectuosamente de nuestros huéspedes.

Capella Pedregal Personal Assistant 2Para terminar, cuéntame acerca del departamento de AP. Que planes tienen?
My objetivo es que se vuelva el mejor departamento del resort. Creo que tengo el mejor equipo, y muchos de ellos han estado aquí desde que Capella Pedregal abrió sus puertas. Tenemos ocho Asistentes Personales para atender tanto el hotel como las Residencias Capella Pedregal.
Estamos constantemente probando y buscando nuevas actividades, trabajando en conjunto con otros departamentos para crear recuerdos inolvidables y actividades basadas en la interacción que tenemos con nuestros huéspedes. También promuevo mucho la capacitación, así que cada miembro del equipo experimenta en carne propia las actividades que ofrecemos tanto en el resort como fuera de el.
Desde aquí el cielo es el límite, lo cual es bueno ya que los estándares de Capella son celestiales.

Shopping In Dusseldorf

Shopping In Dusseldorf

Dusseldorf has a lot to offer: It is famous for its beer and breweries, for being the traditional stronghold of Japan in Germany, for its beautiful Rhine promenade, some great traditional meals – and of course, shopping!  I am always impressed with how many different kinds of shops and boutiques can be found in Dusseldorf.  I am always excited to find a new haunt for my shopping adventures.

What I like most about shopping in Dusseldorf, is the variety of different shopping places and possibilities: You find shopping malls like the Schadow Arcades, the Sevens and the Kö-Gallery.  There is also the Old Town (a great source for trendy stores), the Wehrhahn (a long street with shops and department stores) and of course the famous Königsallee, which I would like to present to you in a bit more detail.

Shopping In Dusseldorf

The Königsallee is not just the most luxurious but also the most beautiful street in Dusseldorf. Imagine not rushing from shop to shop but rather doing a wonderful idyllic walk between the nicest shops and cafés.  It is not just shopping, it is more, it is a must have experience you will never forget. The boutiques of the world’s most famous brands can be found here and offer both individualized and private service.  Although most people walk the Königsallee to go shopping, it is not just about shopping.  This street is the place to see and be seen in Düsseldorf.  Honestly, I really like having a coffee in one of the pretty cafés at the Königsallee, relaxing and watching the bustling activity.  It is great for people watching—especially if you are fond of fashion!

Because the shops are very exclusive and selective, the Personal Assistant at Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel, have developed special relationships with the Königsallee community.  They can organize special shopping experiences for you with the stores.  Private late night shopping? An in-room fashion show or a tour with your personal shopping consultant? Whatever your heart desires, our Personal Assistants and their cooperative neighbors at the Königsalle would love to fulfill your shopping dreams.

So the next time you are in Dusseldorf be sure to do some window-shopping along Königsallee.  And if you are ready for the real thing, allow our Personal Assistants to create a memorable experience for you!

Capella DC’s Luis Colmenares

Luis Colemenares

Mr. Colmenares, how do I even begin?  Luis Colmenares is the most whimsical, funny, friendly and caring friends I’ve ever met.  His smile, contagious laughter and personality instantly brighten your day.  As the Lead Personal Assistant and Chief Concierge at Capella Washington D.C., Luis heads the hotel’s team of personal assistants and is charged with ensuring that guests’ individual tastes and expectations are fully satisfied.

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Anytime any of our team members or guests needs a suggestion for activities, hot new places to eat/drink, or a new happening event in town, Luis never hesitates and has the best suggestions!   I remember going out to dinner together at one of his favorite restaurants in D.C. and every single server, bartender and manager knew Luis and treated him like he was family.  Having served as concierge at the Capital Hilton Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the Mandarin Oriental and the Hotel Monaco, Colmenares’ knowledge of how Washington works in unparalleled.

I felt so honored to be able to sit down and interview Luis.  He is a legend in the industry and was recognized as “Concierge of the Year” in the 2012 Where Magazine Silver Plume Awards, one of the highest awards in the industry!  Working together the past seven months has been amazing and I wanted to share some insider details with you about our favorite D.C. Concierge!

Luis Colemenares

How long have you lived in D.C.?

I’ve been in D.C. for 26 years. I consider myself a native, and love the European flair of D.C. and how and easy and accessible it is to get around!

What is your favorite hobby?

I LOVE to cook everything and anything! I am not picky but when I do get homesick I like to eat black beans, rice, fried plantains, pulled beef and the lovely Arepas that my mom used to make me growing up in Venezuela.

What is one of the most unique experiences you’ve had with a guest in your career?

I will never forget when I had a guest request a live violinist playing when they walked into their room for the first time- taking “setting the mood” to the next level!

What are the top two requests you get most often from guests?

Touring the White House & The Bureau Of Printing and Engraving.

What is your favorite newspaper?

The Sunday New York Times- the arts, travel, and book review sections are fabulous! This is one of my ultimate favorite things to do, especially with a cup of tea!