It is unusual in the hotel industry for a food and beverage pro to lead the design and conception of an entire hotel, not just its F&B programs. But that’s just what prolific restaurateur Sam Fox is doing at The Global Ambassador, a 141-room hotel slated to open in Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood in November.
Fox, a nine-time James Beard Award nominee for Restaurateur of the Year, heads Fox Restaurant Concepts and has been a leader of culinary trends in the industry, such as the now ubiquitous kale salad. Eric Kim Haugen, who worked with Fox on The Twelve Thirty Club’s supper club menu in Nashville, is The Grand Ambassador’s head of culinary creative. The hotel’s investors include country music artist Dierks Bentley, Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns, and Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals.
“Sam’s venture into hotels is the culmination of his more than 20 years in the restaurant and hospitality industry after opening more than 150 restaurants, and still counting,” Geoff Gray, managing director at The Global Ambassador, said.
The hotel’s five restaurants cover several international cuisines, creating a dynamic described as “through a global lens and locally connected.”
“As Sam envisioned the entire hotel experience, from the guest stay to the wellness offerings, he kept a strong focus on culinary as the backbone of the overall guest experience at The Global Ambassador,” Gray said. “Within the building will be five original restaurants, each influenced by vibrant flavors found all over the world and influenced by Sam’s travels. Our guests will experience unique culinary offerings all with the same foundation of authentic hospitality.”
Cuisine spanning France, Mexico, Peru, and the Mediterranean
Though the team is still finalizing the menus as the hotel’s late 2023 opening approaches, much of the fare is squared away for the five restaurants.
At the soul of The Global Ambassador is Le Âme, a Parisian steakhouse that pays homage to traditional French fare through the lens of a steakhouse.
“At Le Âme, guests can expect classic French dishes such as steak frites au poivre and french onion soup, along with new takes on dishes,” Gray said. “The cocktail program is also designed to mirror the cuisine— beautiful ingredients, perfectly executed with drinks including Le Spritz Nouveau and French for Grapefruit.”
Drawing inspiration from Parisian streetside cafes, Le Market will have a bustling pedestrian energy with decadent pastries and espresso in the morning and exquisite cheese presentations curated by an in-house fromager, with wine in the evening.
Pink Dolphin is where Mexican and Peruvian-inspired dishes and drinks pair in a poolside setting.
“The bar will always buzz, and guests will enjoy a wide range of margaritas and authentic cocktails, each made with fresh ingredients and pressed juices,” Gray said. “Ideal to enjoy poolside is the Peruvian Ceviche, with various seafood options like shrimp, white fish and scallops; and the cancha: shallow-fried corn seasoned with lime and salt.”
The Lobby Bar is “comfortable, stylish and well-appointed, both with worldly spirits and great bartenders, plus dynamic musical stylings; think jazz trios and artist-in-residence nights,” said Gray.
The aim, he said, is “a place that delivers your favorite cocktail just the way you like it” and introduces you to a cocktail you’ve been missing your whole life, like the Basil & Ginger or the Caffe Du Jour. The all-day snack menu features lobster croquettes and house-made potato chips with French onion dip made even more decadent with the addition of Ossetra Caviar.
At the pinnacle of the hotel is destination venue Théa Mediterranean Rooftop, featuring a mix of indoor and outdoor spaces, with three bars, a view of Camelback Mountain, and DJ-curated music. This setting’s menu includes sharable mezze, seafood, flatbreads, pasta, vegetables, and marinated protein skewers, all designed to be shared. The rooftop cocktail program is equally rooted in fresh and house-made ingredients, alongside an extensive rosé collection curated by The Global Ambassador’s master sommelier.
Groups and events—including upscale business meetings, weddings and other social gatherings—will enjoy a banquet program with cuisine inspired by the restaurant menus, plus special dishes and menus.
“There is so much overlap between restaurants and hotels when it comes to creating memorable hospitality experiences,” Gray said. “This hotel is a convergence of significance found in hospitality, wellness and culture.”