Not for dieters, ‘restaurant-first’ hospitality brand Appellation will integrate food and drink into every touchpoint of its hotels. Rose Dykins reports
New hotel brand Appellation will centre its guest experience around food and drink, and the role culinary enjoyment plays in bringing people together.
Developed by restaurateur Charlie Palmer and Four Seasons veteran Christopher Hunsberger, the brand will merge culinary and hospitality experiences, offering its own type of “approachable luxury” in its accommodation and service.
“Appellation is about an experience that is impressive, but unpretentious,” says Palmer, the brand’s CEO. “When people are comfortable at every level the food tastes better, the laughter is louder and the memories are stronger.
“Each Appellation is the culmination of regional character, the personality of people who call [the destination] home and the food that brings them together.”Going beyond simply having great restaurants, signature features of Appellation will be lobbies complete with interactive food preparation stations, pantries on each guest floor filled with artisan products, and curated cookbook libraries.
Appellation’s take on luxury without formality will be brought to life by “immersive culinary experiences, design choices and meaningful service interactions”.Meanwhile, local food, drink and cultural characteristics will be woven into each guest experience, from each hotel’s architecture and furnishings to its educational programming and the entrées and cocktails it serves.
Leisure destinations in the US will be the first locations for Appellation hotels. Appellation Healdsburg will open in 2024, while Appellation Sun Valley in Idaho will debut in 2025, and Appellation Pacific Grove in California in 2026.
These destinations were also chosen for their local landscapes, their lesser-known attractions for visitors and their communities of local makers, growers and artisans.“Guests and locals can watch live-fire cooking as they sip wine with a renowned local winemaker in Healdsburg, enjoy a perfectly crafted cocktail adjacent to the observatory at the rooftop bar in Sun Valley, or learn the art of perfectly prepared artichoke in Pacific Grove, just a few miles from the ‘Artichoke Capitol of The World,’” says Christopher Hunsberger, Appellation’s chief operating officer.
Initial Appellation properties range in size from 72 and 225 rooms. Each will feature a signature Charlie Palmer restaurant and bar, interactive culinary demonstrations, programmes of guest experiences, meetings and event space, pool, spas and fitness centres. Some hotels such as the Appellation Sun Valley will also have private residences.Appellation will also seek to train the next generation of leading chefs, hoteliers, artists and hospitality professionals, with a commitment to tapping into local talent and building employee housing at properties where possible. The vision is for its hotels to connect, engage and serve local communities.
Hunsberger says: “We’re flipping the traditional ‘hotel first, restaurant second’ notion on its head and setting a new standard for immersion in local culture and community through food. With Appellation, the intersection of culinary and hospitality is seamless. It is the hotel experience both of us have always wanted.”Hunsberger spent more than 30 years in strategic leadership roles with Four Seasons, while Palmer has received more than 20 Michelin stars in his career as a chef, and currently licenses and consults on food and beverage outlets through his company Charlie Palmer Collective.
The duo met more than 20 years ago when Palmer became the first celebrity chef to enter a licensing agreement with Four Seasons Resorts and Hotels, a programme that was led by Hunsberger while he was global head of product for the brand.