Capella Debuts Two Properties This Year

Under the leadership of Horst Schulze, Ritz-Carlton set a new standard in luxury for the hotel industry. Now Schulze is attempting to revolutionize the standard he set forth with Capella Hotels and Resorts, a company he founded in 2005, which launched its first property in Austria, Capella Schloss Velden, on May 28, and today unveils its second, Capella Castlemartyr in County Cork, Ireland.
Capella Castlemartyr guest room

Schloss Velden, in the lakeside village of Velden, Austria, opened to much acclaim in May. "It really has exceeded our expectations," says Kit Pappas, vice president of sales for Capella, who is also a Ritz-Carlton alum. "It's a fabulous hotel in a great location and people who come and experience it just love it. The inquiries are starting to build."

So far, about 70 percent of sales have come from travel agents, Pappas says. "When we look at the level of customers that we have, a lot of them have longstanding relationships with their agents—they trust what their agent says," he notes. "We realize how important the agent community is, so we've brought a number of them on FAM trips to Schloss Velden so that they can see it, touch it and learn about it." In the coming months, agents can also look for Capella to launch an agent incentive program, in addition to the 10 percent commission the hotelier already offers.

Capella Hotels and Resorts are a combination of new builds and historic elements. Schloss Velden and Castlemartyr both were existing structures that Capella enhanced by adding additional guest rooms and such, while properties in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and Telluride, CO, will be new builds. In 2008, Capella will also open hotels in Düsseldorf at Breidenbacher Hof, on SentosaIsland in Singapore and again in Ireland at DunboyCastle in Castletownbere. Pappas says the hotelier continues to look at a number of additional locations, but notes that, "It has to be an excellent facility in a great destination with a fantastic location and have all the amenities there."

Scloss Velden Hotel

To set itself apart from the increasingly crowded luxury hotel market, Pappas says each Capella hotel will offer tours unique to its region, a perk the company put in place based on customer demand. "Ten or 15 years ago it used to be that if someone was going to a luxury hotel, all they wanted was a guest room," Pappas says. "Now we're focused on activities guests want at the hotel that are indigenous to where they are staying." So at Schloss Velden—Austria being a region where Schnapps is popular—guests can meet with a local distiller and see how they utilize different fruits to make the liquor. "That's an activity that can only be found at the hotel," Pappas says.

Capella's Schloss Velden property is said to be a renowned landmark in Austria's Carinthian region, as it sits near LakeWoerth, the largest Alpine Lake in Europe. The property houses 66 rooms and 45 private residences and all offer views of the surrounding lake, gardens and mountains. Schloss Velden also has its own beach club and private marina.

Capella Castlemartyr, a restored manor house adjacent to ruins of a thousands-year-old castle, sits on 220 acres of land in the village of Castlemartyr. It offers 109 rooms, including 85 standard suites, 11 manor suites and one Presidential Suite. The hotel also features The Knight's Bar, which has a fireplace, baby grand piano and a restored Rococo ceiling. The BellTower, Castlemartyr's fine-dining restaurant, serves cuisine made with locally farmed ingredients.

For more information on either property, or on Capella Hotels and Resorts in general, agents can contact Pappas at kpappas@cappellahotels.com.