Critically Acclaimed Restaurateur Charlie Palmer and Four Seasons Veteran Christopher Hunsberger Launch Appellation Hotel Brand

Celebrated American chef Charlie Palmer and hotel industry veteran Christopher Hunsberger announce the co-founded launch of Appellation, the first hotel brand born from the elegant merger of culinary and hospitality. Appellation, meaning “to give a name to a place,” will cultivate community around food and the role it plays in bringing people together, while exuding ‘approachable luxury’ in accommodations and service. The brand’s initial new-build hotels will debut in iconic leisure destinations in Idaho with Appellation Sun Valley (2023) and two distinct regions in California with Appellation Healdsburg (2023) and Appellation Pacific Grove (2024).

Charlie Palmer and Christopher Hunsberger Launch Appellation Hotel Brand

True to its name and unique to the current hotel landscape, food and beverage are purposely built into the core of Appellation, from lobbies with interactive prep stations to pantries on each guest floor filled with local artisan products and curated cookbook libraries. “Appellations were created as a promise of authenticity – an earned designation that could exist nowhere else but here.  The first appellations centered on food, just as we do today. That name felt appropriate as we create what we saw lacking for today’s luxury traveler – hotels specifically built around a destination’s distinct culinary experiences,” said Chief Executive Officer Charlie Palmer, who arguably created the successful hotel restaurant model and has received more than 20 Michelin stars and numerous James Beard Foundation accolades. He currently licenses and consults on 15 highly profitable hotel F&B outlets averaging 1.25 million covers per year through Charlie Palmer Collective, along with investing in a handful of hotels.


“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,” added Chief Operating Officer Christopher Hunsberger. The duo met more than twenty years ago when Palmer became the first celebrity chef to enter a licensing agreement with Four Seasons Resorts and Hotels, a program that was led by Hunsberger as global head of product. Hunsberger, who spent more than thirty years in strategic leadership roles with Four Seasons, left after holding positions as President of the Americas and Global Chief Human Resources Officer.


Appellation destinations are deliberately chosen to be gathering grounds for today’s makers, growers and artisans while simultaneously meeting market demand for accommodations. Initial locations in Sun Valley (ID), Healdsburg (CA) and Pacific Grove (CA) were selected as much for iconic landscapes as for undiscovered attributes. Appellation hotels will range in size with the initial planned properties ranging from 72 to 225 rooms. All will feature a signature Charlie Palmer restaurant and bar, interactive culinary demonstrations, robust experiential programming, meetings and event space, pool, spa and fitness centers. Select hotels, such as Appellation Sun Valley, will also offer residences.


Comfort will be found in Appellation’s take on luxury without formality, brought to life by immersive culinary experiences, thoughtful design touchpoints and unique service interactions. “Appellation is about an experience that is impressive, but unpretentious. When people are comfortable at every level the food tastes better, the laughter is louder and the memories are stronger,” Palmer notes. Hyperlocal food and beverage and dozens of local characteristics are woven into each guest experience, from architecture and furnishings to immersive, educational programming, entrées and cocktails. Hunsberger explains, “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.’”

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Hunsberger and Palmer’s vision for Appellation extends beyond the guest experience, as a company that builds hotels that truly connect, engage and serve their local communities. Equally important to the founders, Appellation will become a company that develops the next generation of great chefs, hoteliers, artists and hospitality professionals. Palmer and Hunsberger are committed to tapping local talent and even building employee housing at each Appellation property where possible. “Each Appellation is the culmination of regional character, the personality of people who call them home and the food that brings them together,” Palmer explains.


Appellation is designed to be both owner-operator and third-party manager with uniquely streamlined management solutions. The brand operates in high barrier to entry markets with unaccommodated luxury hotel demand.


In addition to the first three hotels currently under development, plans are already underway for hotels in several other distinctive locations. For more information about Appellation and investment opportunities, please visit


About Appellation

Appellation, meaning “to give a name to a place,” crafts unparalleled culinary-centered places of hospitality that immerse guests in the uniquely local aspects of exceptional destinations. The first hotel brand born from the merger of culinary and hospitality, Appellation is about comfort and connection over formality and extravagance – perfectly blending luxury amenities with real world experiences born of this place. The company is the vision of co-founders Charlie Palmer, one of America’s best-known chefs who arguably created the successful hotel restaurant model, and Christopher Hunsberger, who spent over 30 years in strategic leadership roles with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. When the first Appellation hotels open in Sun Valley (ID), Healdsburg (CA) and Pacific Grove (CA), they will set a new standard for immersion in culinary, culture and community that can only be found “here.” To learn more, visit