This week Sam Fox, the Phoenix-based restaurateur who has been nominated 11 times for the James Beard Award as Outstanding Restaurateur, unveiled the much-anticipated plans for his first-ever hotel property, The Global Ambassador.
In 2019, Fox sold his wildly successful Fox Restaurant Concepts to the Cheesecake Factory for a tidy $353 million. His nose for on-trend culinary concepts (such as Flower Child and True Food) and his ability to execute them with great success has made him a bit of an industry oracle—and fueled many questions about his plans for the luxury hotel business.
The Global Ambassador is his official hospitality debut and, explains Fox “is heavily influenced by what we’ve most been lacking this year—socialization.” Fox and his team designed the property’s look and feel to lean into being social. “As we’re coming out of the pandemic, people are craving human interaction. We didn’t want to create to-go experiences or too many private areas that put up barriers and restrict gathering. This hotel is open and all encompassing. It’s like Grand Central Station on the main level where the energy from one space to the next plays off one another.”
Situated in the heart of Arcadia, where Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley converge, the 141-room property is a prime perch for enjoying sweeping views of Camelback Mountain. The sprawling 18,000 square-foot rooftop space will surely become Phoenix’s most coveted destination—able to accommodate up to 1,000 people, it will be the largest rooftop lounge and restaurant in the state of Arizona.
Throughout the hotel guests can expect a stylishly-appointed experience with every detail thoroughly vetted by Fox himself. But what most people are interested in hearing more about are his culinary plans for the property. The hotel will have five unique dining venues and while exact restaurant details and names have not yet been finalized, Fox and his team shared a few highlights of what we can expect:
The European Market & Café is designed as a bustling shop with causal seating, premium coffee, European pastries, and grab and go items. In the late afternoon, it will transition into a wine and cheese shop with a tapas menu, expansive wine list and specialties to-go. The planned Parisian Steakhouse will be the hotel’s signature restaurant with an eclectic menu with French influences. The Poolside Restaurant will be largely influenced by Mexican and Peruvian fare, featuring fresh, light and seasonal items such as ceviche and mariscos. Of course, the obligatory poolside margarita and Mexican staples such as chips and guacamole will be on offer as well. A Member’s Restaurant will be a members-only, supper-club style retreat. Expect a uniquely elevated space for those seeking exclusivity, a buzzy bar, daily live music, and a menu with updated versions of American classics. The pièce de résistance will be the Rooftop Restaurant. It will be the largest rooftop restaurant in the state and the focus will be on inventive cocktails and shareable plates inspired by our favorite places in the Mediterranean region including Greece, Italy, Spain and Morocco. This will be the destination for the ultimate dinner and a sunset.
Fox is also dialed into the rising demand from travelers for serious wellness and fitness offerings. Says Fox, “the importance of health and wellness is another big component that is present throughout all aspects of the hotel. From a culinary standpoint there will be plenty of fresh, healthy, and organic options. Guests are going to find a dynamic, purposefully curated set of wellness practices as well.” Plans for the hotel’s Wellness Center include an expansive fitness level and ultra-luxe spa where health, beauty, and fitness experts will be on hand to customize treatments.
Rather than create a hotel within traditional lines with a predictable set of experiences, Fox aimed to make The Global Ambassador something more expansive and all-encompassing. “We’re bringing a full set of experiences together with the restaurants, wellness offerings, a private member’s club and a luxury hotel. Long before we designed the 141 rooms, we honed in on the culinary offerings, the programming, the community engagement aspect and so much more. This hotel is solely built on enriching, dynamic experiences that are constantly evolving – you just won’t want to leave.”
Katie Kelly Bell