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Turn to Sedona, where one of those 102 brands has manifested modern travelers’ obsession with the road less traveled. The Arizona town known for its mystical red sandstone formations is the location of North America’s first landscape hotel. Conceived by Sedona natives (and sisters) Jennifer May and Colleen Tebrake, and set to open in December, the luxury project known as Ambiente blurs indoor-outdoor experiences to the extreme.

The duo, who own hospitality company Two Sister Bosses, challenged Scottsdale-based ASUL Architects to create a series of private glass atriums that immerse visitors in the spiritual landscape. Floor-to-ceiling, bronze-tinted glass and darker metal surfaces also camouflage structures from passersby. “We wanted the guest experience to be independent and individualized,” May explains. “But the design had to reflect the utmost respect for the surroundings.”

Atriums, shown in a rendering, merge with the site’s existing trees

To ostensibly eliminate grade vegetation and topography, Ambiente’s 40 cube-shaped, 576-square-foot guest atriums are elevated on steel piers. During construction, this technique allows each atrium to be rotated to fit within the existing trees and flora, yielding better vistas for guests and even less disturbance of the land.

La Mesa, California–based landscape architect Krizan Associates extended that philosophy, by avoiding incursion on the property’s existing, heavily vegetated forest and reactivating waterways that had dried up from nearby development. In a similar vein, indirect lighting on the property will comply with Dark Sky ordinances. “There is such beauty in the streambeds and rock outcroppings around them,” says May. “We were drawn to return all of this to its natural state.”

Jennifer May

Photo and Renderings: Ambiente