Capella Hotel Group’s new Meaningful Escapism guest experiences have three cornerstones: community, spirituality and sustainability. As company CEO Nicholas Clayton says,
We want to meet the needs of mindful travellers who are looking for more conscious travel experiences that enrich their lives and positively impact members of the local community
Capella, which is part of Global Hotel Alliance GHA, is 100% owned by Pontiac Land, headquartered in Singapore. It currently has six hotels, one each in Düsseldorf, Germany, and Ubud, Bali, plus two in Singapore and two in China, on the Hawaii-like island of Sanya, and in Shanghai. The present total room count is 486, with a global hotel team of 1,800 plus 25 in head office. Next opening is Bangkok, scheduled for March 2020, and Clayton has a pipeline of seven others, as he admits,
My wish list includes Phuket, Thailand; Hong Kong; Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan, and Beijing, China
Every Capella property is unique. Sydney, Australia, will be a conversion of the city’s CBD (Central Business District) education offices. In Singapore, the Capella, a former UK officers’ club on Sentosa Island that was majestically extended with side arms by architect Norman Foster, is shortly to be refurbished by cult designer André Fu, while across town Capella manages the Pacific Land-owned Regent Singapore, with Regent owner IHG supporting its distribution strategy. In China, Sanya is a typical Jean-Michel Gathy resort with Bill Bensley grounds that look decidedly One&Only, which was what the property was originally going to be.
Clayton feels luxury travellers want to give back as much as they get out of travel. He sincerely believes part of the success of the Capella brand relies on finding a balance between luxury indulgences and meaningful discoveries.
Here are some examples:
A focus on Sustainability at Capella Bangkok, Thailand. The hotel, under GM John Blanco, has already initiated a zero-plastic policy for all hotel suppliers, and only indigenous flowers are used throughout the hotel. Recycling initiatives give back to charitable projects and foundations. A Chef’s Garden utilises over one hundred ingredients incorporated into the hotel’s menus. A collaboration with several NGO’s supports artisans in indigenous communities.
At one of its hotels in China, Capella Sanya, GM Yngvar Stray, offers off-road guided bicycle tours of local rice fields and farmlands. A dedicated ‘Capella Culturist’ shares insights into the typical daily life of the local people who live in the Blessed Bay area. There’s is also an opportunity to visit local market stalls, where the fruits of the farmers’ labour are sold. The generous hospitality of the people of Sanya means guests youlikely be invited to a home of one of the farmers and offered a snack made up of the fresh produce they have picked for the day. You also have the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy by planting a tree, particularly meaningful in China as the country prohibits their destruction.