Experienced developer EKN Development Group partners with culinary-first hotel brand Appellation – co-founded by luxury hospitality veteran Christopher Hunsberger and celebrated American chef Charlie Palmer – to launch Appellation Petaluma, California’s first experiential boutique hotel. Debuting in 2026, the 93-room property will set a new standard for hospitality in the destination, while embracing Petaluma’s local place, culture and rich history.
The Downtown Petaluma property will bring renowned local James Beard award-winning chef to the destination – Charlie Palmer – who has spent three decades immersed in the community and continues to play an integral part in elevating the region’s food scene.
“From the beginning, we intentionally designed this hotel to pay homage to the integral role that food and wine play in Petaluma,” said Ebbie Nakhjavani, CEO of EKN Development Group. “We chose Appellation to bring this project to life because they uniquely put the culinary experience at the forefront of the guest experience and can offer a local Sonoma County perspective. Under Charlie and Christopher’s leadership, we know they will deliver the best in the industry.”
As with all Appellation properties, the culinary experience will go well beyond the hotel’s food and beverage venues. Food-focused amenities and programming will be blended into every aspect of the hotel, many of which will embrace the destination’s bourgeoning culinary scene. The five-story Appellation Petaluma will also be crowned with the only rooftop bar in town, with spectacular views of Petaluma River.
“Chris and I are lucky to call Sonoma County our home, and over the years, we’ve had our eye on Petaluma as an emerging culinary destination in the region,” says Appellation co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Charlie Palmer. “With its bohemian, metropolitan setting, Petaluma will offer our future guests a different experience in Wine Country compared to other Sonoma County counterparts like Healdsburg, where we will be opening our first hotel next year.”
Beyond award-winning vintages coming out of the Petaluma Gap, the destination is often referenced as ‘Wine Country’s best kept secret,’ brimming with historic buildings, boutiques, art galleries and eateries.
“Petaluma is characterized by traditions that have been passed down for generations by local farmers, vintners, and artists. The town has an energy unlike any other in Wine Country with such an emphasis on history, art and culture,” said Nakhiavani. “Honoring Petaluma’s rich arts scene, we will invest over $500,000 in art including specifically commissioned signature pieces from local artists that will be accessible to everyone in the community.”
“We are committed to building hotels that connect, engage and serve our local communities, and a big part of that is spotlighting local makers and craftspeople,” says Appellation co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Christopher Hunsberger.
Appellation Petaluma will host a full calendar of activities for guests and locals via Crafted at Appellation, the brand’s experiential learning program in partnership with community makers and artisans. Ahead of Appellation Petaluma’s opening, Crafted at Appellation will begin hosting programming in 2023, which will be available to book by Petaluma residents and visitors.