As site work continues to progress at Ambiente: A Landscape Hotel, an exciting and technically difficult phase of landscape architecture is now underway as the team begins to reactivate the land’s ancient waterway system to bring permanent flowing water to the prime three-acre property in Sedona.
As North America’s first “landscape hotel”, the primary focus of the building process is to preserve the existing, heavily vegetated forest with minimal impact to the land and a deep respect for the environment. Snaking through the red, iron-oxide rich soil and rugged topography of the site are a series of natural, dry washes that only seasonally flow after sufficient rainfall runoff. Two Sister Bosses, the owner and developer of Ambiente, saw an opportunity to reengage these channels to create a natural eco-system with continuously flowing water to complement the authentic look of the terrain.
The expertise of a seasoned landscape architectural firm was needed. With a reputation for creative water features and extraordinary landscape designs in places like Hawaii, Mexico and New Mexico, San Diego-based Krizan Associates, Inc. was brought in to oversee the elaborate undertaking.
“We wanted to achieve the sights and background sounds of a gently babbling brook, that would contribute to the ambience of the guest experience. So rather than build a man-made water feature that would adversely impact the land, we found a way to reactivate the existing stream channels to create an eco-balanced habitat that will cover nearly one-fifth of an acre of the three-acre property,” said John Krizan, principal of Krizan Associates, Inc. “What’s really unique about this idea is that water features are typically chemically balanced to keep the water clean, attractive and clear. With these natural waterways, we’re able to use aquatic plants, fish, and the waters movement, to achieve a biological balance without the use of chemicals, which keeps the water clean, attractive and clear.”
There are two main streams that start at different locations and serpentine past the pool and lounge area and most of the guest Atriums, meandering throughout the site. At one point, they converge into one larger stream that continues to cascade into a pond at the ground-level of the ultra-modern, two-story glass and metal lobby building. Another waterfall spills from the rooftop level of the building into the pond that will house a school of colorful and attractive Koi fish.
“This is a fairly technical and artistically complicated process, especially since the creation of this type of habitat is not a common undertaking, however, we have created these ‘natural’ habitat water features before, where each component is essential to the successful balance of the habitat. But, once you have all of the essential elements, the results are astonishing,” said Krizan. “We are matching the natural progression of the channels and lowering and raising the land where needed, plus paying close attention to existing surface drainage patterns and ensuring we are not adversely affecting the surrounding plant life. There is extensive thought, great care and extreme effort needed throughout the entire process. Once the entire channel systems are completed and the network is activated the water habitat takes about one month to balance and turn clear. The fact that the Native Sedona habitat is a very sensitive eco-system makes the process even more challenging because it is so volatile when it comes to intrusion or change.”
It will take Krizan and his team nearly nine months to complete the natural waterway system in advance of Ambiente’s Spring 2021 opening. Named among the most anticipated new hotel openings by top national media outlets like Forbes, Fortune and Architectural Digest, Ambiente is comprised of 40 cubed-shaped guest Atriums that are elevated above the ground by steel piers to offer customized, striking, 360-degree views of Sedona’s famous red rocks and the surrounding Coconino National Forest. Each private guest Atrium, built using matte-charcoal colored metal and floor-to-ceiling, bronze-tinted glass walls, will offer contemporary, Earth-toned decor to support a disconnection from everyday life and a reconnection with nature.
Many atriums will have access to their own private rooftop decks with a secure staircase for the ultimate sunbathing and stargazing experience. Lounge seating, a roaring firepit and a day-bed comfortable enough for sleeping alfresco will serve as a remote locale perched between the rugged terrain below and bright, beaming stars clearly visible above thanks to the city of Sedona’s Dark Sky Association.
At the center of the property, a lagoon-inspired pool and spa surrounded by private cabanas will be positioned contiguous to an open-air Poolside Lounge serving fresh, farm-to-table cuisine and locally-sourced juices. The Lounge will house a full service, indoor/outdoor bar complete with multiple TVs, ample lounge seating, fire pits and a catering kitchen. Guests will be able to enjoy programming like poolside yoga and telescopes for nightly stargazing.
Ambiente is in line with Sedona’s new commitment to provide sustainable destinations for tourists that are harmonious with the environment around them. The hotel aims to be the city’s leading example of sustainable tourism and innovative hotel design that promotes long-term vibrancy within the community. For more information, please visit AmbienteSedona.com.