Twelve-time James Beard Award nominee Sam Fox teams up with country singer Dierks Bentley, basketball star Devin Booker, and former NFL player Larry Fitzgerald for an ambitious hotel project — and we talked to them all about it.
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The exterior of The Global Ambassador
Credit: Courtesy of The Global Ambassador

Sam Fox is a legend in the dining world, having opened more than 100 restaurants over the last 20 years, including Nashville's Twelve Thirty Club with Justin Timberlake last September. But now he's raising the bar on his ambitions, and recruiting an all-star team of the biggest names in sports and entertainment with ties to Arizona, to open Phoenix's The Global Ambassador hotel in 2023.

"The Global Ambassador is a personal, legacy project for me that furthers my pursuit of combining unmatched hospitality with culinary excellence," Fox, who is developing the project under his newly launched company Author & Edit Hospitality alongside real estate developer Brian Frakes' company Common Bond Development, told Travel + Leisure. "This isn't just a hotel — it's a luxury lifestyle brand that we hope will inspire and draw travelers from all over the world to explore Phoenix in a new way."

Rooftop Restaurant with views of Camelback at The Global Ambassador
Credit: Courtesy of The Global Ambassador

In order to to achieve that, he partnered up with Phoenix Suns basketball star Devin Booker, who he says has "a style and eye for design that's effortless," former Arizona Cardinals football star Larry Fitzgerald who he calls "one of the strongest ambassadors Arizona and Phoenix has to offer," and country star Dierks Bentley, who's been focused on the wellness offerings. "Dierks is fanatical about his health," Fox said. "His lifestyle has inspired the hotel to incorporate the world's best wellness offerings. I tease him constantly. Because of his commitment to the Wim Hof method, we included an incredible cold-plunge experience."

Though they're all investors, their contributions have come down to the tiniest of details for the 141-room property, which will sit at the convergence of Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Paradise Valley with Camelback Mountain as a backdrop.

The yoga deck at The Global Ambassador
Credit: Courtesy of The Global Ambassador

"The attention to detail is obsessive, just like how I approach the game," Booker told T+L. "The design is thoughtful, and the experiences will be exceptional. My career in sports has afforded me experience — traveling internationally both professionally and personally — so I'm exposed to all of the small details that impact the guest experience."

Designed around a plaza courtyard, the hotel will also have a wellness center with both a fitness center and luxe spa, staffed by experts in health, fitness, and beauty to customize the guest experience. A members-only club will provide elevated experiences with limited access. And of course, The Global Ambassador will feature Fox's specialty: five new restaurants.

The Courtyard at The Global Ambassador
Credit: Courtesy of The Global Ambassador

The European Market & Café will provide a casual eatery modeled after a Parisian cafe with coffee and pastries in the morning and wine, cheese, and tapas in the afternoon. Connected to the cafe will be the hotel's signature restaurant, Parisian Steakhouse. The Poolside Restaurant mixes Mexican and Peruvian fare, while the Members' Restaurant serves American classics in a supper-club style.

The most anticipated, however, is the 18,000-square-foot Rooftop Restaurant with a Mediterranean focus, serving Greek, Italian, Spanish, and Moroccan dishes. "Personally, I think the rooftop restaurant overlooking Camelback Mountain will be truly unique, and I'm excited to experience a sunset from that rooftop patio," Fitzgerald told T+L. "That view really captures the essence and beauty of Phoenix."

Booker echoes that sentiment. "It's so amazing to see how these elements come together to create a memorable experience," he said. "With a luxury hotel, you're curating how someone engages, acts, and feels inside a space. Entertaining brings people together, especially when it's with a great meal and some incredible wine. With five restaurants inside, each with their own unique aesthetic and menu, this hotel is going to be a place where I look forward to hosting friends and family."

And so much of the allure of The Global Ambassador is in its location. "For me, coming back home to Arizona is all about being outdoors — taking in the natural beauty of the most beautiful state in the country," Bentley said, noting he started hiking Camelback Mountain when he was just 4 years old. "I love the way The Global Ambassador has incorporated Camelback into its design — the view of the mountain from the top deck is going to be incredible. And if the view isn't enough, it's a short walk to the Echo Canyon trail if you want to hike to the top of it."

Above all, the property is about bringing people together. "Much of the hotel has been concepted during the pandemic, so we really wanted to lean into getting back to being social," Fox said. "People are craving human interaction and we didn't want to create too many private areas that put up barriers and restricted gathering. This hotel is open and all encompassing. One space plays off the next. We want people to reconnect and celebrate being together. Welcoming people into our neighborhood is the premise and foundation of The Global Ambassador."