"Meet the Camby" read the invitation, and it was with eager anticipation that I joined the group of media that descended on The Camby Hotel one evening in January.
The Ritz-Carlton, which was formerly on the site, closed in July of 2015 and after extensive renovations a new luxury hotel opened its doors as The Camby, the first Autograph Collection Hotel in Phoenix. The Camby draws its name from Camelback Mountain and its aim is to combine cutting-edge technology with a high-end level of service and "refined revelry." Renowned interior design firm Stonehill & Taylor has transformed the hotel using sophisticated finishes and elements of whimsy such as the looping necklace chandelier in the lobby.
Our first stop was the Bee's Knees, The Camby's modern cocktail bar with rich paneled walls, tufted leather seating, and a copper-topped bar. Here, we were poured the classic namesake cocktail made with gin, lemon and honey (make note of the bar's honeycomb displayed on the bar). To pair, we enjoyed delicious bites from the Camby's restaurant, Artizen, including oxtail rillettes with prickly pear chutney on country toast and foie gras torchon with pickled blackberries and sweet onion marmalade.
Lead Mixologist Libby Longlott is in charge of the craft cocktail program. Melissa Larsen, editor of Arizona Foothills Magazine, and I had a chance to chat with Greg Miller, Managing Director of The Camby, and learn more about his team's vision as we sipped on her expertly-made Bee's Knees.
With bubbly in hand, we were guided to our next stop to hear Greg Miller, Karen Farugia of the Musical Instrument Museum, and Dushyant Singh, Director of Culinary Experiences, tell us more about this striking property.
Greg encouraged us to tour the spa, the Technogym fitness center designed with visiting professional athletes in mind, and one of the 277 renovated guest rooms. He described the technology implemented by The Camby, such as a "floating" lobby desk "to go to the guest." "We can check you in on a tablet, swipe your credit card, and make your key from the tablet. You can also check in on your phone, have your key sent to it, and go right to your room with our RFID locks."
Karen of the MIM spoken about their partnership with the Camby, working together to "entertain guests and create an awareness for the museum." The Camby is the only hotel in Phoenix to house a selection of instruments from the Musical Instrument Museum. She described this collaboration with the goal to "offer an extraordinary guest experience, provide a welcoming and fun environment, utilize state-of-the art-technology, and delight and entertain guests at every turn, with a goal to consistently exceed expectations."
Chef Singh told us about his menus and culinary themes as he enticed us with descriptions of the dishes that awaited us as we were led to the Revelry Rooftop Bar.
We were entertained by live music and a colorful rooftop pool back-dropped by projections of old movies. We were told that this can be customized for guests, such as playing wedding videos or sporting events.
We dined al fresco on fresh tagliatelle tossed with mushrooms and taleggio, savory lamb stew with cheddar cornbread, and mesquite wood-smoked sweet potatoes seared with duck fat and drizzled with white BBQ sauce.
Chef Singh also served Arizona honey and citrus smoked salmon with a creamy cauliflower and leek casserole, while Libby mixed up Pink Ladies made with vodka, Pamplemousse grapefruit liqueur, and sparkling wine.
The finale for our Meet The Camby tour ended with dessert in the ballroom and art before our eyes with speed painter Randall Hedden.
“Conversation starters” and “double-takes” are mantras of The Camby we were told, and this unique luxury hotel certainly lives up to its description. It's a beautiful addition to the Valley of the Sun, and I can't wait to return.