By Rebecca Tobin
Earlier this year, our hotels editor asked Capella Hotel Group Chairman Horst Schulze what differentiates Capella from its competitors.
“We call every customer beforehand if we can reach them and we ask, ‘What can we do for you?’” he responded. “We will do everything as long as it’s legal, moral or ethical.”
And the Capella Washington D.C., the group’s only U.S. property, stayed a step ahead of expectations.
At 49 guestrooms, the Capella is a jewel-box, a little brick building alongside the historical C&O Canal in the Georgetown neighborhood. On the inside it’s all elegance, from its perfectly paneled walls down to its sparkling marble and herringbone wood-patterned floors.
I considered a permanent move into the executive suite, a one-bedroom apartment of comfort and style that looked out over the canal and included an incredibly huge bathroom scented with Acqua di Parma products.
But the Capella isn’t just about the hardware.
As Schulze promised, I was contacted the week before my arrival by one of the hotel’s nine personal assistants, who asked what she could do for us: Could she handle our dinner reservations or make an appointment for a personal shopping tour? What kinds of soft drinks would we like in our in-room fridge?
Some of the things the personal assistants did do for me while on site: secured an emergency appointment with a local hairstylist on 45 minutes’ notice; agreed at night to press a dress shirt by the next morning; and helped with an impromptu family photo session in the Rye Bar.
On forays through the lobby and the Grill Room restaurant, the front-of-house staff soon became familiar faces. They achieved that elusive mix of politeness and genuine friendliness, and everything was done with an ease that is a hallmark of a true luxury property.