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Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Charming Scottsdale B&B

Words by John Roark
Photos courtesy of Kate Hennen

Full disclosure: I have stayed in resorts and hotels of all shapes and sizes - from vast and opulent, to small and humble. But I had never so much as set foot inside of a bed and breakfast. I fully admit that my presumptions fueled my indifference. Bed and breakfast? Please. I envisioned puffy chairs, Laura Ashley prints, wooden geese with chintz bows and little ladies nibbling tiny sandwiches without crusts. Throw in a kindly but doddering innkeeper and some quirky locals. Not exactly my idea of exciting accommodations. 

More Photos

It seems inexplicable that a city as tourist-driven as Scottsdale doesn’t have a vibrant bed and breakfast industry, but it doesn’t. I hadn’t given it a thought until a friend asked if I had ever seen the Bespoke Inn, which is just a stone’s throw from my house. 

The website instantly reeled me in with striking photos and prose written by fingers adept at dancing their way across a keyboard like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Full-scale reconnaissance was in order. Email inquiries were made. Pleasantries exchanged. An invitation proffered.

On a quiet street just a brushstroke away from Scottsdale’s Arts District, Bespoke Inn is an off-the-charts-charming four-suite boutique inn you’d expect to find in Santa Fe. I was greeted by Kate Hennen, who along with Rob Taynton, had the vision and the drive to make Bespoke Inn blossom from a patch of dirt and a couple of scraggly buildings.

I was also welcomed with a tongue facial by Bespoke’s resident big old dog, Bandit. (It should be noted that Bespoke Inn is dog-friendly, and as a hardcore dog lover, the aforementioned tongue bath was entirely consensual. Not a dog person? No worries. Bandit knows discretion.)

Here’s the very abridged version: Kate had this idea of building a B&B; she made it happen, and it’s beautiful. Impeccably managed and maintained, everything about Bespoke Inn is casually posh, inviting and awash in intuitive comfort. Four completely private suites are named after couples in Kate’s and Rob’s families; guests can choose from the Ralph & Maggie, the Leo & Isabelle, the George & Anna.

The jewel in the crown is the Signature Flat, featuring 1,500 square feet of over-the-top swankiness, including nine-foot ceilings, reclaimed hardwood floor, a gourmet chef’s kitchen with a marble island and an enormous handmade walnut farm table perfect for guests who like to entertain in style.

Bespoke Inn is all about the details. Most of the furniture and accessories throughout were designed and created - or found and “upcycled” - by Kate and Rob themselves, figuring out a way to make it happen when they didn’t readily know how. From the polished charcoal-hued floors to the claw-foot bathtubs and luxurious linens and towels, each suite offers lavish, contemporary comfort. Check out the “Do Not Disturb” door bunnies and see if you pick up on the implication. And if your canine best friend joins you on your visit, he/she can sleep like royalty in a custom-redesigned Louis Vuitton suitcase fit for nobility.

Beyond your suite, you will find an array of inviting diversions. Day or night, charming common areas encourage conversations with new friends or solitary pastimes. The second floor includes a rooftop chef’s garden, a fireplace perfect for whiling away the hours with a good book or dozing in the sun, and, defying all expectations of the art of the possible, a forty-three-foot-long stainless steel infinity lap pool. Everywhere your eye lands is interesting and inviting.

Exploring is Strongly Encouraged 

Then there are the bikes. Bespoke guests have complimentary access to the Inn’s fleet of British Pashley bicycles. To the uninformed (as I was), Pashley Cycles have been hand-built in England since 1926, and are the gold standard when it comes to city bicycles. And Bespoke Inn’s location is ideal for exploring. Old Town, the arts district and the Canal are there for the taking; hardcore enthusiasts can even book a customizable cycling vacation with guided biking to area attractions near and a bit farther out, including daily gourmet three-course brunch, post-ride recovery snacks and more.

Bespoke Cycles is also Scottsdale’s only artisan boutique bicycle shop. So if you fall in love with your Pashley during your stay, simply walk across the courtyard and buy one!

When to Visit

Guests from as far away as Australia make Bespoke Inn their go-to when visiting the Southwest. Whether you are a cyclist or a discerning traveler looking for a singular Arizona experience, Kate and Rob are at the ready to make your stay uniquely yours, with a wide range of customizable options, extras and ideas. Peak season at Bespoke is in March, when Scottsdale is its loveliest.

Virtu Honest Craft 

An essential element of Bespoke’s intimate compound is one of Scottsdale’s most celebrated eateries. Named one of the Top 20 Best New Restaurants by Esquire magazine and The Arizona Republic’s “Best New Restaurant” in 2013, Virtu Honest Craft has become a Mecca for foodies near and far.

For indoor and al fresco dining, Virtu features contemporary cuisine with Mediterranean roots. Chef & owner Gio Osso’s menu changes frequently with his inspiration. At brunch I had a beet salad and grilled cheese sandwich that very nearly brought me to my knees. Seriously, I heard a celestial choir of angels singing. Daily brunch is included with your Bespoke stay, and your dinner experience will be vibrant and gastronomically unforgettable.

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