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Appellation appoints new Vice President of Hotel Operations

Jennifer Clay
Jennifer Clay

Jennifer Clay now oversees the guest experience across the culinary-first hotel brand’s portfolio.

HEALDSBURG, CALIF. – Appellation, the culinary-first hotel brand co-founded by Christopher Hunsberger (former Four Seasons President, the Americas) and celebrated American chef Charlie Palmer – welcomes Jennifer Clay as Vice President of Hotel Operations. In this new role for the brand, Clay oversees the guest experience design and execution across Appellation properties to delight guests, create long-term loyalty, expand content creation and solidify premier market positioning. As Appellation prepares to open multiple hotels over the next five years, she will work closely with Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer Christopher Hunsberger to define guest experience standards and touchpoints, forge brand partnerships and manage the Crafted at Appellation immersive learning program, among other responsibilities.

“Jennifer shares Appellation’s vision for offering authentically local and culinary-infused experiences through the lens of approachable luxury,” said Hunsberger. “As Vice President of Hotel Operations, she is eager to create memories and connections for our guests and surrounding communities, keeping our three hallmarks – ‘Place Defines Us,’ ‘People Power Us’ and ‘Food Connects Us’ – at the forefront of everything we do at Appellation.” 

Clay previously held multiple roles at Pineapple Hospitality Company – most recently as the Vice President of Brand Assurance. Her previous experience includes working with luxury global hotel brands, such as Mandarin Oriental Hotels, The Peninsula Hotels and Six Senses, to define their quality and brand compliance, as well as leadership roles at several resorts in Napa Valley.

“As a long-time fan of Charlie and Christopher’s, I have been following the Appellation brand and admire their readiness to innovate hospitality traditions, rather than adhering to previous practices,” said Clay. “For example, through Appellation Insights’ use of artificial intelligence, the brand is investing in the infrastructure and tools for our team to truly anticipate guest needs, while allowing guests to engage with technology as much or as little as they would like. These kinds of resources set our team up for success in achieving a thoughtful and unique guest experience.” 

Clay has hit the ground running in her new position, leading efforts with Appellation’s interior design teams to ensure quality materials for the brand’s first hotel, Appellation Healdsburg – slated for a late 2024 opening. She has also taken an active role in forging relationships with the local community on behalf of Appellation and works hand-in-hand with the brand’s development teams to evaluate new destination prospects for additional hotel locations.

Following the opening of Appellation Healdsburg, Appellation will launch hotels in Sun Valley, Idaho (early 2026), Petaluma, California (2026) and Pacific Grove, California (2026).

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