Wish We Were Here: The Camby Hotel, Phoenix, AZ
New York design firm Stonehill & Taylor transforms a once traditional hotel into a stylish space that takes a sense of place to heart.
Weary travelers who flock to Phoenix for business or pleasure can take comfort knowing there is a place in town where everyday luxuries are celebrated alongside the rich roots of the Arizona landscape. Located in the tony Biltmore district, The Camby Hotel was recently reconceived by New York design team Stonehill & Taylor. Known for their contemporary, on-trend interiors that stand the test of time, the team transformed a once stuffy, dark interior into a modern marvel. A place where travelers and locals alike can convene in a space that speaks to their refined tastes and elevated lifestyle.
With the design incorporating bold color and fantastical elements, Sara Duffy, Stonehill & Taylor’s senior interiors associate, admits that the only challenge her team faced was just how to turn a once traditional building into a hotel that incorporated contemporary design mixed with nods to Arizona culture. “We always kept the guests comfort in mind first. Beyond that, we introduced elements that would, upon taking a second look, appear to be more than they first seem. Adding an element of surprise was a crucial step in the design process,” says Duffy.
The original building had good bones like high-end wood paneling and intricate marble floors. “We wanted to maintain these traditional touches, while bringing the design into a more contemporary and playful aesthetic.”
Holding on to many of its original details, the sleek reception hall has contemporary touches that Duffy says deserves a double take. “The crescent-shaped, copper screen behind the desk draws the eye upward, and highlights the original coffered ceilings,” she says. Upon a closer inspection, the screen is also woven with fine turquoise thread, creating both another homage to Arizona’s cultural beauty and a “look-and-look-again” moment upon first walking into the hotel. “Our goal was to create a luxury experience unlike any other. Each room appeals to the modern traveler who is discerning, but also craves authenticity.”
If the public spaces show-off Arizona’s culture on a grand scale, the guest rooms take a decidedly soothing and whimsical approach. Installed on the ceiling above each bed is an unexpected copper Mylar panel that creates a moment central to the hotel’s ethos of sophisticated whimsy. “Each of the ceiling panels have amusing messages inscribed on them,” says Duffy. “They make a bold statement and this was a playful way for us to add copper to the space.” With the juxtaposition of old and new, coupled with inherent cultural twists, the new design of The Camby Hotel is one that is deeply rooted in history.