Approachable luxury, authenticity and local flavours inspire new hotel and spa brand Appellation

by Megan Whitby | 09 Dec 2022
Credit: Curry Spa Consulting
Our hotels will be impressive yet unpretentious and have a connectivity to their setting
– Lynn Curry

A new collection of urban retreats focused on food, wellness, local produce and authenticity are set to launch across the west coast of the US in the next 10 years.

The group's hotels, restaurants and spas will all be owned, managed and operated by a new hospitality company called Appellation. Founded on a philosophy of approachable luxury, the business is set in Healdsburg, California.

The brand is the vision of Charlie Palmer – chef, restaurateur and hotelier – and Christopher Hunsberger, a hospitality specialist whose 20-year career at Four Seasons culminated in a role as president of the Americas and global head of human resources.

Four years ago, the duo decided to start their own luxury hotel company that blends the best of the culinary and hospitality worlds and spotlights and celebrates the unique settings of each of its locations.

Soon after, Palmer and Hunsberger – along with a small group of private investors – started the company and invested in the first several hotel projects. They’re currently raising additional funds for future developments.

The first Appellation property is due to launch in 2023 in Healdsburg, in Northern California’s famed wine country. The hotel will feature 108 keys and is anticipated to cost more than US$120m (£97.8m, €113.6m) to create.

With over 40 designers and consultants on board, key names helping to realise the project include Hart Howerton Architects, EDG Interior Design, John Hill, Niteo Lighting and spa consultant Lynn Curry of Curry Spa Consulting.

Wellness forms an important branch of the concept and Palmer and Hunsberger have enlisted the help of Curry to develop a nature-centric spa concept for the company.

Wellness at Appellation

“Guests love to be connected to nature and the Appellation properties will allow that both in the spa and outside its walls,” Curry said, speaking exclusively to Spa Business.

Built using natural materials, the group’s vision is to create nature-centric spas which blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces and respect Appellation’s focus on approachable luxury. Curry said that F&B is also being incorporated as an integral pillar of the spa experience.

Wellness offerings will range from outdoor treatments and walks through the vineyards to yoga along the water, hillside meditation and hikes in the mountains and vineyards. Indoor and outdoor areas are also being designated for guests to enjoy the F&B offerings during their relaxation time.

Despite the synergy between Appellation’s future spas, Curry says each one will be delicately crafted to authentically reflect its surroundings.

“Each spa will have a sense of place thanks to locally-sourced treatment and retail products, locally-inspired F&B options and a design palette dictated by the property’s location.”

As part of this, the properties’ landscaping will feature edible and scented flowers and herbs that can be used in treatments and for take-home products – either created by the spa team or guests at an apothecary bar in the spa’s reception area.

“From light-filled gyms and treatment rooms to a host of outdoor activities and adventures to be found on and off property, the inclusion of the local environment is sure to create a great repeat guest market,” Curry added.

“Chef Charlie and his local culinary brigades will work with me to create spa menus that focus on fresh local healthy ingredients that complement and elevate the overall spa experience.

“Charlie’s influence and expertise will be woven into the spas to create an opportunity for all spa team members to think like and learn from a world-renowned chef in bringing local flair and flavours to the spa.

"Adding native local plant products into treatments – many of which may be culinary-inspired, sourced from the property’s on-site gardens or local farmers – will be crucial in creating that connectivity to a place."

In addition, spa snacks and beverages are being created for Apellation with the intent for guests to recreate them at home to remind them of their spa experience.

Growth aspirationsAlongside the flagship Healdsburg destination, three extra Appellation projects are currently underway. This includes one in Sun Valley, Idaho, and two further properties in California – another in Healdsburg and one in Pacific Grove.

The team is also working on new developments in San Diego, Santa Barbara and other locations in California, as well as Oregon and Washington wine country.

“The Appellation properties planned will be located within a few hours of major metropolitan areas, and yet will always carry the experience of a true escape, even for those arriving from a short drive away,” said Curry.

It’s expected all hotels will be four-and-a-half-star luxury destinations.

“Our positioning as an approachable luxury brand means guests who stay will likely have experienced staying in other luxury hotels but will feel very welcome here. We’re going to be less formal – our hotels will be impressive yet unpretentious.”

All Appellation destinations will be built with the local community and the environment in mind and the team will source most of what is used in the hotels locally – be that building materials, ingredients for menus and products used in the spas.

All properties will also be built with energy and water conservation features.

The team expects the typical guest demographic to draw from both local and international pools and particularly interest those with a curiosity for food, wine, wellness and adventure.

Curry sees the concept’s approachable luxury focus as its USP as well as the owners’ devotion to sustainability and creating a cooperative environment for the entire design team to push past the conventional ideas of hotels and spas.

Appellation  Lynn Curry  Four Seasons  Hart Howerton Architects  EDG Interior Design  John Hill  Niteo Lighting  Curry Spa Consulting  
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A new collection of urban retreats focused on food, wellness, local produce and authenticity are set to launch across the west coast of the US in the next 10 years. The group's hotels, restaurants and spas will all be owned, managed and operated by a new hospitality company called Appellation. Founded on a philosophy of approachable luxury, the business is set in Healdsburg, California. The brand is the vision of
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The first Appellation property will launch in Healdsburg, California, in 2023 / Appellation
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