Birth Of A Hotel: A Purely ‘Presidential’ Bathtub

capella washington bath tub
It may be four more years for President Obama, but the presidential suite at Capella Washington has yet to be inaugurated. The latest on-property amenity, a 6-foot-wide bath stone tub, was installed earlier this week. We can even envision a Republican and Democratic bath-off … the hotel has two 1,300-square-foot presidential suites.

We wonder what high-rollers will be bathing in it on opening day.

“The Birth of a Hotel” is a Gadling-exclusive series that details what happens as a hotel prepares to open. Follow along with the articles and updates at “The Birth Of A Hotel” page, here. We’d also love to hear from you, our readers. If you have a topic about hotel development or trends that you’d love to see explored, email us or leave a comment below.

[Image Credit: Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown]

Birth Of A Hotel: It’s All In The Details


capella washington bathroom

One of the aspects of hotel builds we’re finding most interesting is the level of attention to detail paid to even the smallest elements of a hotel build. The photos above and below are from Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown’s model room. They may look like just a half-finished bathroom wall, but several weeks ago, it was a fully functional bathroom. The property team felt that the space as designed didn’t suit the needs of the potential guest – the shower area wasn’t large enough, the handles placed too high in the wall, and the tile too light. And so out it went, to be replaced by a more friendly design.

In the final product, all rooms will feature a large media wall (which will house the flat-screen television) as well as a touch pad display on the entry wall, which will allow guests to see the day’s weather as well as control all aspects of their in-room comfort, including temperature.




“The Birth of a Hotel” is a Gadling-exclusive series that details what happens as a hotel prepares to open. Follow along with the articles and updates at “The Birth Of A Hotel” page, here. We’d also love to hear from you, our readers. If you have a topic about hotel development or trends that you’d love to see explored, email us or leave a comment below.

[Photo credit: McLean Robbins]

Birth Of A Hotel: Building A Living Room


capella washington living room

We took our first site tour of Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown’s interior this past week and are very excited to show you what we’ve found. One of our favorite images is actually this great shot, above, of the unfinished “Living Room,” the heart of the hotel’s ground level. Instead of a formal check-in desk, the hotel will feature a cozy living room where guests can relax with a book or glass of wine. Above, you’ll see the space as it currently stands, and below, the rendering of the finished product.

You’ll note that the builders actually sacrificed a room in order to bring this space to two levels.


capella washington dc living room

“The Birth of a Hotel” is a Gadling-exclusive series that details what happens as a hotel prepares to open. Follow along with the articles and updates at “The Birth Of A Hotel” page, here. We’d also love to hear from you, our readers. If you have a topic about hotel development or trends that you’d love to see explored, email us or leave a comment below.

Birth Of A Hotel: And Then There Was One

setai new york a capella hotelCapella Hotels and Resorts will have only one United States property as of early 2013, we’ve learned. The Atlanta-based brand will lose their New York property, The Setai New York, after a sale to Great Eagle Holdings earlier this week. The $229 million purchase means that the 60-floor hotel and condo development will be rebranded under the Langham Hospitality Group in January, Hotels Magazine reports.

This isn’t an entirely shocking development. Capella’s hotels are typically much smaller than the 214-room New York property, and hotel rebrandings are a relatively common occurrence.

“Our entire team worked diligently to establish The Setai as one of the premier luxury hotels in New York City in a location that was not considered part of the traditional luxury hotel corridor,” says Horst Schulze, chairman and CEO of Capella, in a statement printed on GlobeSt.com. “Additionally, we were able to create an atmosphere and reputation that led to residential real estate sales for the owners.”

The New York property was the second Capella hotel in the United States. The $200 million Capella Telluride, which opened at the very beginning of the economic downturn in 2008, closed in 2011 and was later re-opened as Hotel Madeline Telluride.

Never fear, however. Capella is rumored to be scouting other United States locations following the opening of Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown in early 2013, as well as an additional location in a major European city.

As for NYC, Schulze says, “New York City remains a prime location for the Capella Hotel Brand” and looks forward to “announcing our return in the near future.”

Capella Washington D.C. managing partner Bruce Bradley says that he is optimistic about the growth of the brand, stating, “We’re big relationship investors … the concept [Capella has] is one that has the potential to be the leading hotel brand in the world.”

“The Birth of a Hotel” is a Gadling-exclusive series that details what happens as a hotel prepares to open. Follow along with the articles and updates at “The Birth Of A Hotel” page, here. We’d also love to hear from you, our readers. If you have a topic about hotel development or trends that you’d love to see explored, email us or leave a comment below.

Birth Of A Hotel: Setting The ‘Mood’ … An Interview With The Scent & Sound Masters Of Mood Media




When it comes to setting a mood, sensory experiences are key. Sights, sounds and smells can all contribute to a guest’s perception of a hotel’s ambiance, and thus, their overall experience. To better understand the nuances of scent-scaping and dayparting (the art of crafting a mood through music), we spoke with Ben Teplitsky, senior director of business development at Mood Media, whose company has worked to craft guest experiences for major hotels and retail brands worldwide.What exactly does “setting the mood” of a hotel entail?
Really anything that involves the sensory experience. We work with music, scent, visuals, technology and sound systems, digital signage, even some in-room music technologies. We work with hotels before they even break ground, through engineering, speaker distribution, cable technology … We work to find a blend of mood and music and scent that makes sense not only for [the hotel’s] guests but for their location. After that we sample different music samples and set samples.

That’s an extensive list. What trends are you seeing in the industry?
A lot of the trends we focus on are “dayparting” [setting the mood through music]. Sometimes we even coordinate lights and music as well.

We’re also seeing hi-def footage on large video walls. Instead of necessarily seeing a billboard or TV channel like ESPN or Fox News, guests are seeing landscapes, passport channels, images from around the world, things that capture people’s attention whether they’re having a drink in the bar or waiting to check in.

A big trend in hospitality has been going global and going green – we of course accommodate that.

I’ve heard a lot about hotels having signature scents. Is that true?
Yes. It’s a similar strategy [to dayparting]. There are some very popular “hospitality scents.” In categories that means a clean and fresh scent, an odor neutralizer. In others, [hotels favor] scents that are a little more rich, a little more “frangrancy” as well as scents that really want to spark that memory. We also have ON scents – odor neutralizing scents. We use those frequently in places like fitness centers.

Are scents unique to hotels?
These are some popular broad scent choices. A white tea and fig scent is very popular, clean and fresh and distributes very well, is not intrusive. It covers the area very well for that lobby and welcoming scent. We have different types of scent distribution units – most are localized, some go through the HVAC units.

There’s another one that’s very popular in mid-scale hotels, green clover and aloe. A scent called Asia Garden is popular in casinos in Las Vegas.

Many clients do their own branded scent – when you walk into any one of their properties throughout the globe, [guests will] recognize it immediately. Some even change their scent seasonally.

So this is something that’s done just at the build or opening stage?
We can enhance the space with branded sound and branded fragrance, but we can also be a solution. We can fix an old property that was once a smoking hotel, or use a neutralizing scent on an old building that you’re going into.

Is a full-scale experience just a trend in higher end hotels?
Luxury and full-service hotels are doing more of a full sensory experience with music, scent and visuals, but some of the lower and mid-scale brands are offering smaller units or partial solutions.

Brands like Westin, Sheraton, Hilton, Doubletree like a full sensory experience. Select service hotels like Aloft, Elements and Four Points are really trending to use a lot more with branding and music. In “transitional” properties, which are traditionally less engaged, hotels are thinking that this is something they should do. It’s almost a subconscious requirement by travelers that a hotel doesn’t smell bad.


What’s cool about our role in this is we do a really good job of differentiating – it’s very possible to differentiate brand by sound and scent and visuals. We not only design but implement globally from a a consistency and branding experience.

When done correctly, these experience become part of the brand; part of the property. We also take our music and can feature it on social media, put it on Facebook pages, have it be kind of a fan experience.

[Image: Hotel Indigo in Atlanta, a Mood Media client]

The Birth of a Hotel” is a Gadling-exclusive series that details what happens as a hotel prepares to open. Follow along with the articles and updates at “The Birth Of A Hotel” page, here. We’d also love to hear from you, our readers. If you have a topic about hotel development or trends that you’d love to see explored, or leave a comment below.