Sam Fox’s first hotel was never supposed to be The Global Ambassador.
When the James Beard Award-nominated restaurateur decided to develop a hotel about a decade ago, inspired by a “terrible” experience operating a now-closed Culinary Dropout location in a Las Vegas hotel, his idea was to buy an old Motel 6 and convert it into “something kind of cool.”
If Fox followed that vision, maybe it would have looked like when an aging motel on Grand Avenue in Phoenix was transformed into the Egyptian Motor Hotel, which has gotten much hype since its opening in part for its widely acclaimed restaurant, Chilte.
Instead, the hotel Fox built conjures what it might look like if a Parisian apartment building was shipped from Europe and mounted at the base of Camelback Mountain, near where Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley converge.
After nearly 10 years in development, Fox will open The Global Ambassador on Dec. 6, 2023.
“We are not a franchise. We are not part of a chain. We are a one of one,” Fox told The Arizona Republic during a property tour. “So, we’re creating unique, one-of-a-kind experiences. And that guest’s journey that we’re doing is based on what we think is best for the guests.”
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The Global Ambassador’s European influences
The 141-room Global Ambassador is the first hotel for Fox, who owns and operates it under his company Author & Edit Hospitality. Influences from his world travels inspired him to craft a hotel a seasoned traveler like him would want to stay in.
The Global Ambassador was designed to resemble a European apartment building, with its exterior design resembling old bricks to give the appearance of a historic structure. The awnings at the front entrance — which he described as “the eyebrows” of the hotel — were based on the red awnings of the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, a luxury hotel in Paris’s Champs-Élysées neighborhood.
It’s a stark contrast from many metro Phoenix hotels and resorts, whose aesthetics are influenced by the surrounding desert landscape. Still, Fox said it was important to him that the building blend in well with its neighborhood.
“This hotel really opens out to the community that we’re in,” Fox said. “So we’re going to have probably more locals use the hotel than (out-of-state) travelers. It’s a little ironic that we wanted to build a hotel that felt like it wasn’t in Phoenix when we’re trying to attract people to come to Phoenix.”
Inside The Global Ambassador guest rooms
The 141 rooms, which include 30 suites, were designed to resemble Parisian apartments. Fox pointed out ample space surrounding the bed and the inclusion of sitting areas, walk-in closets, showers with luxurious fixtures and fabric wall coverings with a flannel texture, which he described as feeling like “the wall is giving you a hug.”
The rooms feature Matouk bed linens, Kassatex towels, Byredo Bal d’Afrique toiletries and Dyson Supersonic hair dryers.
Fox has described the rooms as “residential in nature,” to evoke the feeling of the comforts of home.
The way the walls were built and the placement of double-layer curtains are intended to keep the rooms as quiet as possible.
“All these things are just those little, little details people don’t notice, but they notice when it’s not right,” Fox said. “They don’t notice when it’s right.”
Fox was intimately involved with every aspect of planning the hotel
Part of Fox’s mission with The Global Ambassador — the first Arizona hotel classified under Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ Legend collection, its highest category for luxury experiences at independent hotels and resorts — was to focus on the small details in every aspect of the hotel.
Fox decided on the location of the pool area, which has a Peruvian and Mexican restaurant called the Pink Dolphin and a 1,400-square-foot wellness terrace inspired by a Saint-Tropez resort, based on a long-term sun study he conducted. The area where the pool was built receives the most sun between January and April, when Fox expects the most visitors seeking sun to visit the hotel.
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The gym was placed in a part of the hotel that gets abundant natural light in the morning, Fox said.
The Spa offers facials, massages, IV drips and cryotherapy. Many of The Spa’s products come from brands that are new to Arizona and personally curated by Fox.
The personal curation is also noticeable in the bathroom amenities, in-room minibar and book selections and the artwork above the beds, produced by Arizona artist Michael Carson, a friend of Fox.
“Most hotels would pick one brand and streamline it,” said Annabelle Javellana, The Global Ambassador’s director of marketing. “But Sam wanted the best sheets, the best robe and the best towels. We tried them all, used them all, and picked his favorites.”
How much it costs to stay at The Global Ambassador
It’s cheaper to stay at Fox’s hotel than the Plaza Athénée that partly inspired its aesthetic — recent starting rates at the swanky Paris hotel were just under $2,000 per night — but it still carries a hefty premium for luxury.
Starting rates from December to April at The Global Ambassador range from $520, found on select January and April dates, to $926 on April 8, coinciding with Phoenix hosting the NCAA Final Four. (Rates leveled off from previously advertised rates in the thousands for the days of the Final Four, which will be played April 6 and 8 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale.)
Fox said he thinks the hotel will “get used so many different ways by so many different people.”
“We celebrate and welcome everyone,” he said. “We’re not trying to (cater to) just the traveler. (We want) the local person, the single diner, the group business. We want everybody.”
Details: 4360 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix. 480-800-2211, globalambassadorhotel.com.
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