For years, renowned Arizona restaurateur Sam Fox said he has envisioned pivoting his passion for hospitality into the hotel industry. Now, the 11-time James Beard Award semifinalist is bringing that vision to life by starting construction on an internationally inspired luxury hotel concept in Phoenix.
Called the Global Ambassador, Fox said the hotel will be a dream eight years in the making when it opens in 2023.
“It’s been a long journey but I felt it was incredibly important that my first hotel project was somewhere here in Phoenix and I couldn’t be more lucky that, you know, I live four blocks away,” Fox said.
Why Sam Fox is building a hotel in Phoenix
With a lengthy portfolio of restaurants including Wildflower, Olive & Ivy, Zinburger, Blanco Tacos + Tequila, The Arrogant Butcher and Culinary Dropout, Fox said a hotel felt like a natural progression. He sold his Fox Restaurant Concepts to Cheesecake Factory in 2019.
Sam Fox plans to open a new internationally inspired hotel concept called The Global Ambassador in Phoenix.
He said he considered opportunities to build a hotel in other places across the country but that his first foray into a luxury hotel concept was deeply personal. He wanted his first hotel venture under his new company, Author and Edit Hospitality, to be in Phoenix.
“It’s a place that I needed to see. Be a part of every single day, curate and develop,” he said. “Having that out of town would have been a little more difficult than being able to do that in town.”
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The Global Ambassador, at 44th Street and Camelback Road, will be a 141-room luxury property with architecture, design and cuisine inspiration from all around the world. It’s designed by Nelson Partners Architects and its exterior will evoke the architecture of Paris.
“It just has a big international vibe to it,” Fox said.
Fox is teaming up with Brian Frakes of Common Bond Development Group to bring the concept to life. Built around the view of Camelback Mountain, guests will see globally inspired décor by Judi Testani of Testani Design Troupe, who has long been involved in designing Fox’s restaurants.
The Global Ambassador also will have a world-class gym and spa. And, as Fox pivots to a different part of hospitality, he aims to extend, not abandon, his culinary roots.
“You’re going to feel all these different cuisines, these different emotions, these different feelings when you come into the building,” Fox said.
The hotel will have five restaurants inspired by cuisine from around the world, from Mexican and Peruvian to a European market and Parisian bistro. Fox said an elite members club will be akin to a London supper club.
The focal point of the hotel will be its open rooftop, which will be the largest in the state, with sweeping views of Camelback Mountain and a Mediterranean restaurant featuring food inspired by Italy, Greece and Morocco.
“Everyone who has someone coming to visit. Everyone who wants to have a special occasion. Everyone who wants to celebrate, they’re going to want to go to that rooftop,” Fox said about his vision for the space.
As someone who lives in the neighborhood, Fox hopes the Global Ambassador will not just attract out-of-town guests but also be a place where people from the community feel welcome.
“This is something that has taken eight years to get to the opening and we’ve pored over every single detail of the project,” Fox said. “We’re excited to have a hotel that will be very global in nature but will be very local.”