Locals in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Paradise Valley are lining up for a chance to drink and dine at the Global Ambassador, the stylishly decadent new hotel bringing an international elegance to this sunbaked slice of the Southwest. But while guests and residents alike are eager for the chance to enjoy a cocktail in the 18,000-square-foot rooftop lounge (the largest in the state), dinner at one of the five restaurants, or a truly world-class spa treatment, a select few are ushered into the real inner sanctum: the hotel’s members-only Global Ambassador Club.
Both the Global Ambassador and the private Club within are the creations of prolific restaurateur Sam Fox, known for his obsessive attention to detail, whether it’s the density of the ice in the drinks or the way the lighting design in the lobby looks during dusk. Having opened 150 restaurants, Fox possesses an uncommonly rich trove of travel and hospitality experience, all of which he brought to bear in the new space. “I’ve had the fortune to be exposed to some amazing clubs in the U.S. and in my travels,” he says, adding that he incorporated the best of those experiences into his new retreat-within-a-retreat, which was built on the pillars of “food and beverage, socialization, wellness, and exclusivity.”
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The Club’s private restaurant, the Grill, is where he really flexes his hospitality chops. “I wanted a chef- driven menu and a superior dining experience with regularly rotating offerings that members could enjoy multiple times a week,” explains Fox, whose team includes a master sommelier and a former manager of Daniel Humm’s three-Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park, in New York City, as GM.
Hotel guests, meanwhile, can experience what are arguably the Club’s finest amenities: the 9,000-square-foot fitness center and state-of-the-art spa. According to Fox, this is where the Club and the hotel have a mutually beneficial relationship: “As a stand-alone private club, we probably couldn’t afford to build the spa and fitness that we have, but because we have the hotel guests who use the spa and gym, we were able to create something really spectacular.” Indeed, in addition to on-site trainers, two outdoor “wellness decks,” and dedicated spin, movement, and Forma Pilates studios, the fitness center occupies the Global Ambassador’s most covetable piece of real estate, with commanding views of Camelback Mountain. Fox is particularly excited about the swanky locker rooms (accessible to guests via a spa appointment). Both men’s and women’s lounges are equipped with Jacuzzi, cold plunge, steam room, and sauna. Dyson blow-dryers are on hand alongside wine and cocktails on tap, and attendants stand by on weekends for blowout requests.
Fox says that membership, which requires a one-time initiation fee of $90K followed by monthly dues of $1,000, skews young as far as these things go. “We’re not an old-money club, and it’s not all about wealth here—our members tend to be people with young families who enjoy wellness and, of course, are into wine and food.” And who also possess a global sensibility: “The irony is that when you walk into the Global Ambassador, we want you to feel like you’re not in Arizona,” Fox says with a laugh. “We were very intentional about creating an international ambiance, curated for today.”
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