You are currently viewing TPG Exclusive: Sneak peek inside The Global Ambassador Hotel – opening Dec. 6

TPG Exclusive: Sneak peek inside The Global Ambassador Hotel – opening Dec. 6

  • Post author:
  • Post category:Travel

If you’ve visited Phoenix or Scottsdale, Arizona, you already know that the area is flush with luxury hotels and resorts. Big names like Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt operate many of the resort properties, which, depending on your points or elite status in those chains, can help make the getaways more affordable or attainable.

So, when a new luxury property comes on the scene, often people ask who owns it and who manages it — which, in the hotel industry, is not always the same company. Enter Author & Edit Hospitality owned by Sam Fox — 12-time James Beard Award nominee, New York Times best-selling cookbook author and CEO of Fox Restaurant Concepts. Fox’s company is expanding further into the hospitality industry with the brand-new hotel, The Global Ambassador.

TPG got an exclusive sneak peek inside the hotel. You can book reservations now for arrivals beginning Wednesday, Dec. 6, when the property opens its doors to the public. Rates start at $650 per night.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Points Guy (@thepointsguy)

How to book

While bookings are currently open on the hotel’s website, there will be several additional ways to book the Global Ambassador Hotel in the future. TPG readers rejoice — the hotel has plans to partner with all major luxury consortia groups, which includes some of the most popular credit card programs.

The hotel is partnering with Preferred Hotels & Resorts in its Legend Collection. It will also be part of Chase’s Luxury Resort & Hotel Collection and Mr & Mrs Smith, beginning Jan. 1, 2024. It’s also actively pursuing other programs, such as Virtuoso and Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts, and anticipates being included in those programs a few months after opening. This will open up additional ways to save money and enjoy perks on the stay.

How to get there

The Global Ambassador sits just 6 miles north of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) at the intersection of 44th Street and Camelback Road and 12 miles south of Scottsdale Airport (SDL). If you’re not renting a car, Uber, Lyft, taxis and Waymo autonomous vehicles all operate from PHX. The hotel can also arrange for a car service.

Fox’s vision

Set at the crossroads of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley, The Global Ambassador occupies one of the priciest real estate corners in the Valley of the Sun — 44th Street and Camelback Road, complete with amazing views of Camelback Mountain.


TPG visited the property and received a personal tour from Fox. He explained his vision for the property, which has taken seven years from concept to completion. He shared that from personal experience, he’s seen how the hotel industry can be out of touch with today’s modern traveler.

From a business perspective, he has also experienced how disjointed it can be when there are different hotel owners, hotel management companies and real estate developers. Still, another company can be outsourced to manage food and beverage operations or the spa.

Not here, not this hotel. Fox set out to do it differently.

Fox said his team makes the vision of The Global Ambassador come to life. He appointed Geoff Gray, a seasoned hotelier, as managing director and general manager. Gray has more than 12 years of experience at Hyatt — most recently as the general manager of the five-star, AAA Five Diamond-rated Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in California. Before that, he was general manager of the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix.

Unrivaled attention to detail

Outside view of The Global Ambassador

To say the hotel’s opening will shake up the town would be an understatement. No hotel in the area that I’m aware of has undergone this exacting amount of detail. It features globally curated products inspired by Fox’s travels to help create a gathering place for locals and a welcoming retreat for guests from around the world.

Fox collaborated with Judith Testani from Testani Design Troupe, whose design talents have shaped many of his restaurants, office, and even his family home.

If you’ve ever dined in one of Fox Restaurant Concepts 150-or-so restaurants around the country, you’ll know what I’m referring to.

Fox personally incubates every restaurant concept in the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix, choosing everything from the floor tiles and dining room chairs to the espresso machine and other elements. Every concept is unique, evoking a design aesthetic that may make even the most creative envious.

The same is true in this hotel: Every detail and every decision captures Fox’s vision, and it is stunning.

While parts of the hotel are in the final construction phases, you can already see things coming together — starting with the name. It was inspired by his own world travels — “global” — and his feeling that everyone in his hospitality company is an “ambassador.”

The exterior of the building looks straight out of Europe with its white limestone brick, gray and white striped awnings and black wrought iron step-out balconies. Still, it blends seamlessly into the neighborhood.

The wide driveway and porte-cochere can accommodate multiple arrivals without feeling cramped. In fact, the building was positioned on its 3 acres to take advantage of the afternoon sun for the pool and views of Camelback Mountain.

From the front of the hotel, the ground-level entrances and landscaping make it look like a picturesque street in Paris, but not in a fake Las Vegas way. It’s welcoming and refined but comfortable enough to be your new local hangout.

“One of the most important things to me was that it didn’t feel like a hotel when you arrived,” Fox said. His restaurants have multiple entrances, and he likes to surprise guests when they walk inside by encouraging them to explore the area.

He’s created the same idea here with multiple “storefront” entrances similar to a European street. There are four different entrances to the building. On the left, you can enter Le Market to grab a quick coffee and pastry in the morning. The second door leads you to the lobby bar and seating area, while the third door takes you to the retail shop, pool and Pink Dolphin restaurant. The fourth entrance on the right is for the membership club.

Yes, private membership is also an option here. However, the initial invites were snatched up so quickly that they now have a waiting list of 500 deep.

Stepping onto the white and gray marble-floored lobby of The Global Ambassador feels like you’ve stepped into one of the most luxurious hotel lobbies in Paris. There are deep olive green accent walls (British racing green), custom wood pillars with brass handrails, a black marble-topped reception counter and bar, and even Parisian tin ceiling tiles with a floral design.

The lobby is not just a lobby where you check into the hotel or ask the concierge for recommendations. It’s an open gathering space complete with a lobby bar, floor-to-ceiling windows and doors that open to outdoor event spaces. The area is filled with comfortable velvet sofas and chairs perfectly positioned around marble coffee tables. You can almost feel the energy and hear the live music and conversations on a bustling Saturday night.

5 new dining concepts

restaurant at The Global Ambassador

With so many award-winning restaurants already developed, Fox could have easily slotted in another location of The Henry or Olive and Ivy. Instead, he’s created five totally new dining concepts for this hotel.

All restaurants, except for the dining at the private members club, will be open to both the public and hotel guests.

Le Market, a French-inspired patisserie, will serve coffee and espressos from the custom-painted La Marzocco espresso machine to be enjoyed either indoors or on the patio cafe tables.

Le Ame is the Parisian steakhouse just off the back of the lobby, which has leather booths, marble-topped tables, and wicker-backed dining chairs that are so comfortable you’ll want to linger for hours. (I might also want a set of those chairs for my own dining room.) There’s even a private dining space that seats up to 10 with views of the outdoor patio space on three sides.

The hotel’s sixth-floor rooftop houses Thea, a Mediterranean restaurant that offers 360-degree views of the valley. To the west, you’ll see downtown Phoenix; look to the east, and it’s Camelback Mountain.

The restaurant offers indoor seating for up to 200 guests and two private dining rooms. An outdoor fireplace on the rooftop patio creates a gathering space perfect for cocktail parties and celebrations (with up to 550 of your closest friends). It even houses one of the country’s most expansive collections of rose wine.

Outside, a raised floor with a grid-like metal framework below will capture any rain to help avoid wet patios (it will also hide all of the wiring and pipes).

On the first floor, Pink Dolphin is home to the retail space and the lunch concept serving Mexican and Peruvian-inspired fare on the pool deck. The climate-controlled pool maintains a perfect year-round temperature. It’s not just heated like many resort pools; it can also be cooled in the summertime when temperatures in the valley spike.

Culinary powerhouse

Fox has appointed chef Eric Kim Haugen as head of culinary creative. Haugen’s training includes the Michelin-starred restaurants The French Laundry, Cortez and One Market. He also had stints at Ocean House in Rhode Island, a three-time Forbes Five-Star property; was executive chef at The Lambs Club in New York City; and culinary director of Zakarian Hospitality, where he oversaw notable projects at The Plaza Hotel in New York City and the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

Well-known local culinary stars from the Scottsdale area round out the team. Sean Currid, formally of Maple & Ash, serves as the executive chef of the hotel; Jason Hua, most recently the executive chef at The Dutch in New York City, has joined as executive restaurant chef; and Dushyant Singh, formally the executive chef at Weft & Warp at the Andaz Scottsdale, is the director of food and beverage.

Taking wellness to a whole new level

The Spa is helmed by Shazz Narduzzi, director of spa and well-being, who was with Silverleaf Club in Scottsdale for 15 years. With 10 treatment rooms, the spa features the latest in treatments and therapies (think: beyond facials and massages — although it offers those, too — to IV treatments, cryotherapy and a cold plunge). Additionally, this is the first spa in Arizona to carry upscale Augustinus Bader products.

The fitness center will be home to Arizona’s first and only Forma. Forma Pilates classes will only be available to members and hotel guests. More than 9,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor workout space hold Technogym equipment and classrooms for yoga and spin.

Light and bright rooms

From the moment you step into one of the hotel rooms, you notice the wide-plank oak hardwood flooring, luxurious fabric wall coverings, and custom walnut millwork in the closet and media center. Your eyes are drawn to the expansive windows and walk-out balcony. All east-facing rooms boast stunning views of Camelback Mountain.

I toured the king model room and a few of the suites. The king rooms are a generous 460 square feet and feature full bathrooms with marble floors and showers, Waterworks fixtures and black marble-topped vanities. The vanities offer ample counter space for personal items like makeup bags and drawers for extra storage.

The clever placement of the shower controls inside to the left of the door means you won’t get soaked trying to start the shower. Fox told me he’s a product guy and wanted a shelf large enough to hold shower products.

Lighting controls throughout the room are labeled, so there’s no guessing which switch controls which light. There’s even a motion sensor light in the water closet to help save energy.

Guest room walls feature the work of Arizona-based artist Michael Carson, a friend of Fox. He has collected Carson’s art for 15 years and commissioned him to create original pieces for the property.

Kelly Croteau of Maison Plage also styled an exclusive collection of distinctive books throughout the property, including the guest rooms. Known for curating libraries for private residences, these carefully selected volumes encompass realms of style, design, photography, art and fashion.

hotel room at The Global Ambassador

Additional room details include handmade leather accents by the brothers at Billykirk and an impressive minibar setup that includes various curated snacks and small-batch liquors. Each room will have a clothes steamer with irons available upon request.

Minibar area at Global Ambassador

Spacious suites

The hotel has a total of 141 rooms. This breaks down into 92 rooms with king beds starting at 460 square feet; 19 rooms with two queen beds at 460 square feet; nine petite suites at 650 square feet; three studio studies at 750 square feet; eight terrace suites at 800 square feet; nine one-bedroom suites of 900 square feet (and two bathrooms); and one presidential suite of 2,000 square feet. There will be nine Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant rooms as well.

Perched atop the presidential suite is a surprise space that Fox and staff call the “jewel box.” It’s an all-glass event space for 80 guests that opens on three sides — creating an outdoor terrace overlooking Camelback Mountain and north to the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.

Fox also has celebrity investors from Arizona who will each design a suite around their personal style. Award-winning country music star Dierks Bentley (whom Fox is partnered with in The Twelve Thirty Club at 5th and Broadway in Nashville), Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker and former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald are involved in the project. A percentage of proceeds from stays in the suites will be donated to their respective charities.

Flexible meeting space

Don’t expect any dark, windowless conference rooms in the Pavilion. True to the rest of the property, the meeting space is bright and airy, with floor-to-ceiling doors that open to an outdoor event space featuring four 100-year-old olive trees and lush landscaping.

If meeting planners want to darken the space for presentations, there will be shades in the flexible meeting space, which can be configured into four separate meeting rooms if necessary. The outdoor event area will hold up to 250 for a reception, and the Pavillion will accommodate more than 300 for a seated dinner.

Final details

Fox said this project for him is “creative and stimulating, something new.” He says he enjoys constantly learning and building teams.

I asked Fox if his hotel, like his restaurants, would be the first of more to come. He said he always tells the team, “If we’re successful with one, the story writes itself. I don’t get to decide if there’s going to be more; the public decides.”

If the raging success of Fox Restaurant Concepts is any indication, I think we can likely expect more hotels from Fox and his team in the future.

Related reading: