Andaz Scottsdale: Luxury Retreat Artistic Soul
Writer Shannon Severson
Photographer Brandon Tigrett and Ramon C Purcell Photography
The luxury sector in Scottsdale, Arizona is currently booming with more people than ever looking to move into luxury homes or the finest resorts to escape to. There are a number of luxurious places you can stay in Scottsdale, you just have to find them. For Cintarosa Ranch, just find one of the new builds, for Grayhawk try RTTHomeGroup.com, and if you’re just visiting, try the Scottsdale Resort & Spa. It’s a new kind of luxury resort that incorporates an immersive local cultural experience with a mix of posh sophistication and a decidedly convivial spirit. The mid-century vibe is Palm Springs meets Santa Fe simplicity, with low-slung bungalows nestled amidst 23 acres of lush landscape.
Woven into the very fabric of its design are the influences of old and new: the colorful pop art style of Alexander Girard, famous for his work with Charles Eames and Herman Miller; and the ancient spiritual artistry of the Zuni color wheel. The soul of the resort, however, lies in its collaboration with – and desire to celebrate – the work of local artists.
Andaz Scottsdale’s general manager, Scott Mason, is particularly thrilled to have forged a relationship with the Cattle Track Arts Compound. It’s just a few short blocks down the road from the resort, but a world away.
“We are just three-quarters of a mile from Cattle Track, and it’s fortuitous,” says Mason. “It’s a relationship that was meant to be. Art is about personal interpretation, and relationships are based off of instinct. Our partnership with Cattle Track was natural. It’s not about personal interests, it’s about our mutual interests. We want these artists to have a venue to showcase and to teach, because the relationships we all develop will present opportunities for connection between artists and guests.”
Cattle Track began as a homestead constructed of redwood and found materials by George and Rachael Ellis in the 1920s, and soon became a place for artists to live, create, perform and present. Some very prominent personalities spent time at Cattle Track over the years, including such luminaries as Phoenix Art Museum founder Phillip Curtis and photographer Pedro E. Guerrero, known for his work with Frank Lloyd Wright.
The long history of Arizona’s art scene is palpable here – in the sculptures, the studios, the hand-built homes made from salvaged materials, the gallery – and little has changed as the city has grown exponentially just outside its gates. The Ellis’ daughter, Janie, still lives in her childhood home and is central to preserving the creative purpose of the compound.
“This area has always drawn people with talent,” says Ellis. “Music, art, metalworkers, printmakers – they all congregated here. Part of it was my parents’ ability to help them accomplish projects in their large shop. We could build things, answer questions and get problems solved. We still do that here. We offer living space for artists who come through Phoenix and Scottsdale, and it’s fun because you never know who’s coming. We have six full-time residents and 35 working artists on-site.
“Andaz Scottsdale will introduce our artists to people from around the world. We think they’re going to draw good people. When you go someplace you’ve never been before, the best way to see it is with someone who lives there. If you have that, you are a huge step ahead. We live here and are looking forward to offering that local perspective.”
At Andaz Scottsdale, artists have been invited to collaborate from the project’s inception and play an integral part in both the birth and life of the resort. Artist Mark McDowell serves as an intermediary between Mason and the many artists and performers affiliated with Cattle Track. The talents of painters, sculptors, photographers, fiber artists, ceramicists and printmakers are all richly represented and acknowledged throughout the property.
“Our involvement with Andaz Scottsdale is twofold,” says McDowell. “First, we worked with a design team to outfit the buildings and property with art that fits the design continuum. Nothing about the resort looks like it was spit out of the corporate machine. Second is the artist residencies – and this is where we really shine and give back. We lend our long history of relationships with artists and performers from Phoenix and all over the world, who have made their way through the gates at Cattle Track. It could be anyone, from a rock ‘n’ roll musician to a Guggenheim fellow. From an artist’s perspective, they have been very generous about crediting the individual artist’s work and letting guests know how to contact the artist. It’s a lovely gesture.”
The artists’ residencies at Andaz Scottsdale Salon are the interactive arm of this collaboration. Events, tours, concerts and classes will center around cultural experiences that inform, inspire and encourage connection between like-minded individuals. Events may include pottery classes, art instruction, photography demonstrations, musical performances and culinary tours of the local farmers market that conclude with a cooking lesson.
“The Andaz Salon is the experiential component, where we identify local insiders, work with local curators and add a learning component,” says Mason. “It’s a free landscape where guests can take everything these artists and performers have to offer. For the individual guest or from a meeting standpoint, this is a huge opportunity to do something different.”
Like Cattle Track, the resort is tucked away, with no frontage on Scottsdale Road, so the feel is one of a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city, yet all the attractions of Scottsdale are just minutes away.
“We believe this is the perfect setting,” says Mason. “You’re in the center of it all, but with all of the privacy in the world.”
When you arrive at the doors of Andaz Scottsdale, it’s immediately apparent that this is a different sort of resort – far from cookie-cutter hotel norms. You are greeted by an ever-changing art collection when you enter the Guest House, which isn’t the traditional hotel lobby. There’s no check-in desk and the area is flooded with natural light from windows that extend the length of the building, warmly accented with cedar ceilings. The energy of Delawie Architects’ outside-in design changes with the waxing and waning of daylight, evening and deepening night, as quiet mornings give way to lively evenings. It’s this absence of boundaries that embodies the Andaz experience – inclusive, relaxed, stylish, creative. Hotel guests are greeted with a welcome beverage (with an optional kick) and, adding to the instantly comfortable vibe, can take advantage of the Guest House library, board games and coloring books.
A short distance farther takes you to the Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen. The glass-enclosed exhibition kitchen is an exciting invitation to a culinary arts experience that will attract locals and visitors alike, mimicking friendly gatherings where everyone inevitably ends up hanging out in the kitchen. The open feel (and view of the pool and Camelback Mountain) features a kitchen table, and high countertop tables surround a plancha where executive chef Adam Sheff offers small and sharable plates that reflect local influences and ingredients in completely new ways. The serving pieces in the restaurant continue the artisanal theme, as many are handmade by Cattle Track ceramic artist Mary Van Dusen.
Sheff looks forward to using honey from an on-site apiary, experimenting with seasonal farmers market finds and creating exceptional bar snacks, including a rotating selection of jerky: ostrich with mescal and green chile, spiced lamb and beef brisket with orange flower honey, among others. It’s a new twist on an old cowboy favorite.
“Finding all these synergies between the artists, the farmers and the producers is part of what defines the food culture of the property,” says Sheff. “Many different cultures have come through this area over the centuries. There are hidden ingredients that people don’t realize are indigenous to this area. It’s not what you’d expect – quail, pistachios, dates, pecans, honey, lettuce, mushrooms and trout from the north. We want to tell that local story.”
Since the resort prefers to let guests create a vacation that reflects their own personal rhythm, Weft & Warp won’t be strictly confined to standard mealtimes. The all-day menu lets guests indulge at whim. Daily, made-to-order brunch is a prime example.
“Breakfast is an event at Andaz Scottsdale,” says Mason. “We intend to cater to the local community with indulgent, satiating favorites like blue corn pancakes with orange-poppy curd and rye whiskey syrup, or dirty hash browns with green chili pork, queso and our house-made hot sauces. We offer breakfast throughout the day, so that even if you’ve had a late night, you don’t have to rush to get a great breakfast. It’s another way we are freeing our visitors to enjoy the experience in their own way and in their own time.”
Another draw for locals and tourists is the spectacular Turquoise Pool. As the color turquoise is at the center of the Zuni color wheel, the pool is at the center of the hotel grounds and is the center of the action. The Turquoise Pool Bar offers seasonal treats like spiked popsicles and punchbowls, and is the Valley’s best new spot for a sunset cocktail (of which there will be a multitude of creative iterations) with a view of Camelback Mountain’s north face. Private cabanas can be rented for the ultimate luxury pool experience. Some cabanas are adjacent to the hotels exclusively appointed suites.
The mid-century modern guest room interiors – conceived by EDG Interior Architecture and Design – are tastefully luxurious, with every design element thoughtfully presented. Skylights, beamed ceilings, sliding barn doors and hand troweled walls are the perfect backdrop for the prominently featured art vignettes that vary widely from room to room. The art includes textile design prints by Janet Towbin; colorful etchings by sculptor and painter Larry Passey; and drawings, paintings and prints by Koryn Woodward, Brent Bond and Matt Magee, among many other artists. Some studios have their own private patios and feature outdoor showers surrounded by stucco walls with Mangaris wood accents.
A contemporary teak picnic table graces the front terrace of each studio, and brightly colored Spanish-style banco seating invites guests to enjoy morning coffee or evening cocktails al fresco. To that end, in-room mixers and locally curated snacks are complimentary, and pony-size liquor bottles encourage a little in-room mixology. Fire pits with comfortable seating dot the property, setting the scene for lively conversation or a romantic moment after dark.
Locals and out-of-towners will enjoy taking advantage of the luxurious 12,000-square-foot Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary, which has its own pool and is slated to open in December. Vast event spaces will attract celebrations, conferences and meetings with 10,000 interior square feet (including the 3,900-square-foot Foundry Ballroom) and more than 36,000 exterior square feet of meeting space. Finally, The Retreat at Andaz Scottsdale is a hidden gem at the southern end of the resort property. It’s an exceptionally private collection of 23 guest rooms that surround a private pool, with event and outdoor dining areas that will attract corporate retreats and destination weddings.
The word Andaz means “personal style” in Hindi, and the brand is a boutique arm of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. Its 13 locations around the world seek to remove the traditional barriers between travelers and their destinations.
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa
6114 N. Scottsdale Rd.