Gurney’s Heads West, Acquires Arizona’s Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa

The infinity pool is just one of the serene spots at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, A Gurney’s Resort & Spa.
Courtesy of Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, A Gurney’s Resort & Spa

Gurney’s Resorts, which includes properties in Montauk and Newport, Rhode Island, is expanding to the west with the acquisition of Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

An award-winning resort, the Sanctuary sits on 53 acres on Scottsdale’s Camelback Mountain in the wealthiest suburb of Phoenix. The resort offers a 12,000-square-foot spa, fitness center, hiking trails, swimming pools, tennis courts, 109 casitas and suites and eight private mountainside villas. Food Network star and executive chef Beau MacMillan lead the restaurants on the property. There are also 10,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, including a 250-capacity ballroom.

Under the new ownership, the landmark property will be known as the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, a Gurney’s Resort & Spa.

Gurney’s Resorts, owned by George Filopoulos of Metrovest Equities, Inc. and Lloyd Goldman of BLDG Management Co, Inc., purchased the property with BB Hotels, a real estate investment company based in Scottsdale, Arizona. The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

“The decision to expand west was largely property driven,” Filopoulos told Behind The Hedges. “Sanctuary presented us with a unique opportunity that naturally aligned with the pillars we’ve used to build the Gurney’s brand and guide our expansion, including best in class features in an inspiring location. Scottsdale is the ideal destination for Gurney’s first resort outside the northeast as it truly lends itself to our signature resort experience in its exclusive Camelback Mountain location.”

Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, A Gurney’s Resort & Spa in Paradise Valley, Arizona.Courtesy of Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, A Gurney’s Resort & Spa

Gurney’s hospitality brand all started in Montauk.

In 1926, Maude Gurney, who lived in the fishing village, opened a small, 20-unit hotel named Gurney’s Inn. Nick Monte bought the modest hotel in 1956 and transformed it into a Montauk landmark, though by the early 2000s, when Filopoulos bought the property, it had the reputation of a rundown timeshare.

Gurney’s built the spa in 1980 with the indoor seawater pool at the center, which remains the only pool of its kind in the country. It was the first luxury spa on the South Fork. Just this past year, a major renovation of the 30,000-square-foot Seawater Spa, designed by Ignacio Alonso who is also the talent behind AIRE Ancient Baths in Tribeca, was revealed.

In fact, Filopoulos, a Montauk homeowner, renovated the property in its entirety over the last nine years. Gurney’s has been transformed yet again into a trendy destination with 158 rooms, suites and beachfront cottages, each with panoramic ocean views and access to The Beach Club, as well as hotspot Scarpetta right on site.

Filopoulos also grew his hospitality portfolio in recent years.

In 2017, he bought the then-Hyatt Regency Newport on Goat Island between Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay. Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina is set on 10 acres just a short ride across a bridge from downtown Newport, and features 257 guest rooms and suites, a full-service spa, 27,000 square feet of event space, a seaside pavilion, a restaurant and a marina that can accommodate boats ranging in size from 40 to 240 feet.

Just two years later, Gurney’s purchased another resort, this one closer to home — six miles away, to be exact. The former Montauk Yacht Club, which dates to 1928, underwent a $13 million renovation to create Gurney’s Star Island Resort & Marina, a 107-room hotel with 232 boat slips on Lake Montauk, which opened in 2019.

Filopoulos and his partners will set out to, once again, put their high-end touch on their new acquisition.

“A comprehensive renovation and upgrades” are planned for the Sanctuary Camelback Resort, beginning in the summer of 2022. Though it is considered the area’s off-season, the resort is expected to remain open. Robert H. Castellini, from whom Gurney’s purchased the property, has owned it since 1992. With Westroc Hospitality, he was said to have built it into one of the most highly acclaimed and award-winning resorts in the Southwest.

“The Sanctuary is a treasure in our community,” said BB Hotels co-founder Darryl Berger, who also lives across the street from the hotel. “Arizonans, and folks from around the world, love this resort.  My partners and I are thrilled to be the Sanctuary’s next stewards and we thank Mr. Castellini and the Westroc team for entrusting us with this honor.”

“Gurney’s Resorts is honored to partner with such a beloved property, and we are thrilled to bring our signature hospitality to the Sanctuary while maintaining the resort’s local character,” Filopoulos said in the statement. “Gurney’s Resorts are known for their inspiring locations, unparalleled access and best in class amenities and the Sanctuary effortlessly features these attributes in a refined yet relaxed setting.”

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