What do excellent service, amazing farm-to-table-to-farm food, cozy rooms, and a painting of a Burt Reynolds/Britney Spears hybrid have in common?
Downtown Phoenix’s newest boutique hotel- FOUND:RE is a combination of the aforementioned. While the present hotel (located near the artsy Roosevelt Row) is new, the building itself is from the 1970s, and served as a hotel (Lexington and a Best Western) and restaurant. The hotel’s designers knew the space needed an overhaul, but loved the structure’s old bones; so they sought to expose them. The name “FOUND:RE” was chosen based on the concept of ‘foundry,’ which ties to the industrial, urban aesthetic of the hotel, but with the focus on arts and discovery. “We wanted to play more with the “FOUND” portion of the name – separating it with industrial rivets “:” and spelling the end like the abbreviation for “regarding”… It opened so many possibilities for us to communicate our message in a playful way: RE vive, RE vitalize, RE fresh, etc. You’ll find this wordplay at work in signs all around the hotel,” Parley Stock- Director of Sales and Marketing, explained.
Having said that, the city’s latest destination also pays homage to Roosevelt Row and its funky, urban, and artistic culture. The hotel’s lobby features numerous photos, sculptures, paintings, and mixed media pieces by local artists, such as: Randy Slack, Cheryle Marina, Shauna Thiboult, Diego Perez, Ronna Nemitz, Travis Ivey, and Linda Ingraham. What really captured my eye, in a comical, yet borderline genius way, was the massive painting of a nude Burt Reynolds with a blonde Britney Spears- esque wig that was hanging over the reception desk. That piece is called- “That was Then, This Is Now,” but is mainly referred to as: “Burtney,” which is Slack’s vision of Burt Reynolds’ 1972 spread in Cosmopolitan magazine. I also thought that Linda Ingraham’s “Reveries”- five large scale portraits with matching throw pillows, really draws attention to the lounge area. You’ll find whimsical art all over the hotel, from the reception area, to the event rooms; the fitness room, and the pool area. Most of the artwork is also for sale.
I stayed at the hotel over the course of two days in one of their 8th floor suites. The reception staff was really attentive, friendly, and delivered a breezy check-in. The suites even have their own separate elevator. The overall hotel room hallways have grey walls, with the room doors a lush navy blue. Each room number plaque was handmade by local artist- Cheryle Marina. The suites are large with rolling barn-style doors that close off the living room with the bedroom. The decor, I would say, has an urban industrial inspiration with furnishings and artwork that were done by local artists. The bar has a mini fridge, a Keurig with a small variety of coffee and tea, and a cocktail mixer kit. There is a restroom off to the side, with the large shower area (I do literally mean ‘shower area’ because of how big the space is) at the back of the bedroom. There are two shower heads in the space, which is also equipped with C.O. Bigelow bath amenities. The shower itself is enclosed in glass, but with no door (it’s still easy to keep water in the designated area, just try not to splash around). On one side, the glass was frosted, with the saying “Not so sexy,” while on the other side, the glass is clear, with the saying “Sexy.” I guess it just depends on your mood. Other bathroom amenities that made my stay comfortable was a bathrobe and slippers. There is a small area to hang clothing, but the rooms (all 105 of them, in fact) are equipped with industrial-style luggage carts. The custom carts were locally designed by Bang Bang Designs. A good night’s sleep was easily had, due to the cozy bed. There were plenty of outlets for keeping my devices charged. The rooms also come equipped with tablets, where guests could order room service (coming soon at the time of this post), order spa treatments, and request housekeeping and guest services. I LOVED the large balcony. Mine overlooked downtown Phoenix and the mountains. I was even able to catch glimpses of the sunrise and sunset on both days. There is a nightly turndown service, where they leave Salted Serenity caramels and a postcard.
I was able to dine at the hotel’s signature restaurant- Match Cocktails and Cuisine. Match got its’ name from the concept of a foundry being a place where metals are forged in- fire. It is also a nod to their numerous menu items that come from the wood-fired Forno Bravo oven and wood-fired grill. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner; with all ingredients coming from local farmers. They use the “farm-to-table-to-farm” program, where they receive the produce from local farmers, then return the waste to Recycled City for composting. That compost then helps new local crops to grow. The constantly-changing menu is spearheaded by Executive Chef Akos Szabo, and focuses on globally-inspired sharable plates. I experienced their Christmas Day menu, where I had the following:
Starter Course- Creamy Chestnut Soup + Noble Bread
Entree- Eggplant Lasagna + Noble Bread + Au Gratin Potatoes
Dessert- White Chocolate and Peppermint Cheesecake + Decaf Vanilla Latte
The lovely Lauren was my server that evening. She was incredibly hospitable and knowledgeable on the food.
The meal started off with the choice of a starter dish. I chose the Creamy Chestnut Soup with bread from Noble Bakery. It was almost like a creamy mushroom soup…only BETTER! The ingredients for this yummy dish (that I wish I currently had in my refrigerator) include: roasted vegetable stock, roasted chestnuts, housemade crème fraîche, thyme, bay leaf, Blis Bourbon maple syrup, Mirepoix (according to Wikipedia- a roughly chopped vegetable cut, usually a mixture of onions, carrots, and celery), and Minnesota wild rice. This is probably a seasonal soup, but I’d eat it anytime. It was just such a different flavor, and not to mention, comforting. The slices of Noble bread paired nicely alone, and for dipping into the soup. I chose the Eggplant Lasagna with Au Gratin Potatoes, and Noble bread as my main entree. Along with the griddled Japanese eggplant, other culinary ingredients included: over-dried heirloom tomatoes, wood roasted artichokes, mascarpone, ricotta, goat cheese, Bianco tomatoes, provolone, mozzarella, garden basil, and Pistou. The au gratin potatoes had Welsh cheddar mornay, russet potatoes, caramelized onions, Noble bread crumbs, and chives. The entree was filling, yet so good and fresh! I chose the White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake for my dessert. It was HEAVEN… so much that I’m still dreaming about it… Aside from the obvious ingredients, it also had coffee crema and dark chocolate bark. I felt that it had the right amount of richness and incredible flavor.
Thank you FOUND:RE for being my home away from home during the Christmas holiday. I want to also personally thank: Carolyn, Francis, Dave, Gabriel, Lindsay, Max, Tracy, Parley, and Je-Hyen.
The next time you are visiting Phoenix and are looking for a great place to stay, ‘FIND YOURSELF’ at FOUND:RE.
** I was given a complimentary stay and food in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.