Capella President Talks About New Hotels And Must-Visit Getaways

You will find Capella hotels — known for their authentic cultural guest experiences, thoughtful design and personalized service — throughout Asia, but the company plans to grow its collection both on the continent and beyond. Two noteworthy future additions include Capella Sydney, which will debut in 2023, and Capella Kyoto, its first property in Japan, which will open in mid-2025. Both will reside in landmark buildings.

“Our long-term vision is to expand our portfolio of hotels and resorts across the globe, which will help strengthen the prominence of our brand,” said Cristiano Rinaldi, president of Capella Hotel Group.

We spoke to Rinaldi to learn more about the forthcoming openings, how the brand defines luxury service and which Capellas should be on your bucket list.

Why did Capella choose Kyoto for its Japan debut?

Choosing Kyoto was a strategic decision for the group. The city is filled with culture and heritage, the perfect place for us to establish a presence in Japan — the historical capital of Japan, Kyoto is brimming with stories from yesteryears and traditions that complement our group’s vision of developing this hotel into one of Japan’s leading cultural destinations.

What are you excited about at the Kyoto hotel?

Guests will be amazed by the elegant four-story-high, 92-room hotel designed by internationally acclaimed Kengo Kuma and Associates. He has crafted a series of beautiful spaces that are in unexpected spots within the building — creating a sense of discovery.

The interiors weave a tale of intimate harmony between art, culture and composition where one complements the other, and reflect the city’s ethos to bridge the past and present. To achieve this, we will be collaborating with local artisans with the curated application of Japanese artworks and artifacts.

Guests can also look forward to our dining offerings. There is Capella Kyoto’s signature modern brasserie with an adjoining patisserie to infuse a little worldliness, and of course, there will be a Japanese specialty restaurant but with a special twist. We are also introducing an immersive omakase-style dining outlet, Carte Blanche, where the entire dining experience is choreographed in an intimate residential setting.

Last but not least, Capella Kyoto will be collaborating with the newly refurbished Miyagawa Maiko Performance School — a training school for young ladies to be elegant geikos [“geishas” in the Kyoto dialect] — and ochaya [tea house] to introduce an exclusive and authentic cultural experience for our guests.

What will make Capella Sydney special?

We have been entrusted to transform Sydney’s historical landmark — the Lands & Education Buildings — into Capella Sydney. As custodians of the heritage, we want to respect the traditions of the buildings while incorporating contemporary features. In this respect, I am extremely proud that Capella Sydney exemplifies our legacy of thoughtful design.

Guests can expect the interiors to reference the legacy of the Ministry of Education for the main hotel building. It is furnished in modern Neoclassical style with Australian art, artifacts and selected heritage pieces from the Education Building’s collection to infuse a sense of place and time. And that is what makes Capella Sydney extra special.

Creating authentic cultural experiences is a hallmark of the brand. What kind of experiences will the Sydney hotel offer?

As masters in our craft of hospitality, we strive to offer the highest level of personalized service and seek to stir hearts with extraordinary experiences. Our Capella culturists are ever-ready to inspire and curate unique Sydney experiences.

Imagine waking up to the aromas of freshly roasted coffee beans before going for a bushwalking trek or exploring Sydney’s heritage and culture through masterclasses and sessions with key figures from the indigenous community. Our guests will be presented with experiences to truly connect with the locals through meaningful discoveries at Capella Sydney.

What are some Capella hotels that should be on everyone’s bucket list?

Each property within the Capella Hotels and Resorts brand is unique in its own right. I’m proud of all our properties, from Capella Singapore to Capella Tufu Bay [in Hainan, China]but if you are a fan of both nature and cityscape, you must pay Capella Bangkok a visit.

Bangkok is a new-age urban resort. It celebrates the beauty of nature, nestled within the urban fabric as an oasis in the city. What is amazing is that every morning, guests will wake up to panoramic views of the majestic Chao Phraya. The location may be the centerpiece, but the accommodation is designed as a traveler’s pied-à-terre: somewhere familiar, sophisticated and built around relaxation and exploration.

Another property to visit is Capella Ubud. Designed by famous architect Bill Bensley, who is also the designer of our newly opened Capella Hanoi, he has woven in a theme of early Dutch settlers from the 1800s to create an interesting educational twist to your stay. A unique tented resort built in between the trees and hidden from view, Capella Ubud manages to preserve every large tree on the site during the construction. This allows guests to enjoy the essence of Ubud’s natural surroundings in a uniquely rustic experience with a touch of luxury.

Luxury service has changed through the years and continues to evolve. How do you define luxury service?

At the heart of it all, luxury is about being recognized as a valuable and highly personalized experiential customer service that is delivered with an extraordinary degree of reliability and a genuine level of emotional engagement. Even though luxury has evolved over the years, we believe that luxury experiences at Capella properties are bespoke, authentic and have the impact to create lifelong memories.

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