CHLA California Lodging News March/April 2022

6 CALIFORNIA LODGING NEWS By Ranee Ruble-Dotts When longtime B&B owner Celeste Carducci-Ahnfeldt sold the venerable McClelland-Priest Bed & Breakfast Inn in 2019, the new owners took advantage of the pandemic’s auspicious timing to embark on renovations. Innkeeper Choolwe Kalulu had initially planned to just “spruce it up” and reopen it in September 2021 as the grand dame of luxury inns in downtown Napa. But “sprucing up” soon shifted into an extraordinary “bottom-to-top” renovation that involved lifting the house to pour a new foundation, earthquake retrofitting, installing all new electrical and plumbing, adding an elevator, and completely redesigning the interiors. Now reopened and rechristened The McClelland House, the renovation’s exquisite detail recreates the old-world grandeur of the landmark Victorian mansion, while appealing to modern sensibilities and luxury tastes. The rooms sparkle with stunning chandeliers, gilded accents, intricate tile work, and opulent furnishings selected with the discerning eye of a world traveler. Kalulu was once a commercial pilot, not the typical launch to a career in innkeeping. But watching the Zambian national entertain guests, it’s clear that he has found his calling. He’s a warm, attentive host with a rare blend of sincerity and charisma imbued with joy. We recently talked with Kalulu about his background, his approach to hospitality, and the stunning renovation that has upped the ante on luxury lodging in downtown Napa. THE McCLELLAND HOUSE Choolwe Kalulu