The front desk, a block of wood, is suspended from the ceiling by chains. Behind the desk, a giant painting by Phoenix artist Randy Slack is a spoof of Burt Reynolds’ infamous 1970s nude Cosmo centerfold–only in this case, Reynolds sports a blonde wig. Walk across the lobby floor and you’ll be stepping into an interactive video projection, triggered by motion. It might take you a while to remember to check in.
Welcome to Found:Re Phoenix, the city’s newest boutique hotel–a hyper-local spot where art takes center stage.
The 105-room hotel, located in Phoenix’s downtown arts district, started out life as a generic, chain business hotel. A few years ago, a group of local developers began a $25 million project to transform the eight-story hotel into something that reflects downtown’s new vibrancy, thanks to the light rail, Arizona State University’s growing downtown campus and an influx of artists, galleries, boutiques, and indie restaurants and bars to the area.
Found:Re does have that foundry/industrial aesthetic, with a touch of Steam Punk thrown in for good measure. The lobby’s raw look carries over to the rooms, which have concrete floors and exposed conduit. Cantilevered metal beds and factory-style lights were made by local craftspeople. Bathrooms are covered in penny tile and separated from the sleeping area by sandblasted glass panels. Rooms have views (some with balconies) of the city’s urban landscape.
Not to worry–Found:Re isn’t all that raw and industrial. The hotel’s Match Cuisine & Cocktails has become an inviting downtown hangout, thanks to pub-style food crafted in a wood-fired oven, an extensive list of Arizona beers and wines, and cocktails like the Mizuwari made with local bourbon and ginger. A pool also beckons, where you can loll about with a fruity drink.
And then there’s the art, with dozens of local artists represented in the lobby, restaurant, hallways, rooms and the on-site gallery spaces (yes, you can buy, if something strikes your fancy). Besides Slack’s front-desk centerfold, the bar area has an aura of mystery, thanks to a series of enigmatic portraits by artist Linda Ingraham, while the pool patio is sparked by a lime green dinosaur statue by Jeff Zischke and a beach-y mural by Lucretia Torva. You can peruse fine art photography while you wait for the elevators. Even the room numbers–each unique–were created by an artist. Want to know more? The hotel can set you up with its cultural curator, who can answer questions or put together tours of local galleries and artist studios.
Best of all? Found:Re’s location, right in the middle of downtown Phoenix’s cultural offerings, making a great base camp for weekend’s worth of exploring.