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Dallas Architecture Firm NMDA on the Top Luxury Travel Trends of 2023

What True Modern Luxury Looks Like

BY // 01.18.23

The small, sun-soaked Design District office of Nunzio and Marc DeSantis, the father-son architect duo behind NMDA, is covered with lush renderings and hand-drawn storyboards — nearly all for luxury hotel brands (i.e. Rosewood, Auberge, and Four Seasons) in far-flung places. “What a lovely compliment that these places come to Dallas to hire us when there are plenty of great architects in California or New York,” Nunzio notes.

He’s being humble though — the draw is clear. Nunzio spent 34 years working in hospitality for international architecture firm HKS, while Marc studied classical architecture at Notre Dame and worked for Robert A.M. Stern Architects in New York City. In 2017, the two Texas natives left their respective firms to launch their own venture in Dallas. Their small-but-nimble team of about 25 has worked on 150 projects in the last five years.

NMDA clients vary — current jobs include resorts in the Catskills, Jackson Hole, and the mountains of Ronda, Spain as well as a collaboration with the restaurant hitmakers behind Dallas-based Duro Hospitality — but there is one underlying theme: luxury. For a sense of current trends and expectations within the most rarified hospitality spaces, we caught up with Nunzio and Marc at NMDA’s Dallas Decorative Center offices.

 

Dallas Architects NMDA on the Luxury Travel Trends of 2023

BL_Public-Spaces_Exteriors_2021_3623 (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)
After acquiring the Bishop’s Lodge property in 2016, Auberge Resorts Collection teamed with Nunzio Marc DeSantis Architects (NMDA) for a six-year renovation and restoration that debuted in the summer of 2021. (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)

The Revitalization of Destination Hotels.

Marc: We’re working on many similar hotels right now, and they seem to be the ones that everyone is rallying around. The hotels that may have lost their way over time or maybe didn’t get a lot of love — now people are pouring money back into those types of hotels.

 

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Authenticity.

Nunzio: I think we’ve all matured and are OK letting our hair down a bit. Luxury does not have to be layered with opulence. But what is there needs to be really good, well-defined, very thoughtful, authentic extensions to the experience.

 

Space.

Nunzio: Exclusivity and privacy. Space in our industry is a luxury.

 

A hand-drawn watercolor sketch of an NMDA project at a desert resort in California. (courtesy of Nunzio Marc DeSantis Architects)

Connection to Nature.

Marc: I think there’s this great gathering of like-minded people to try to explore the outdoors more, which has trickled into the resort world in a wonderful way.

 

Security.

Nunzio: How do you make people feel really comfortable in environments that are often outside of the United States where you find yourself a little more vulnerable? Security is paramount.

 

BL_Experiences_Chocolate-Making_2021_5337 (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)
The Chocolate Immersion experience at Bishop’s Lodge, hosted by Kakawa Chocolate House. (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)

High-Quality Experiences.

Nunzio: If it’s ho-hum, they can stay at home and have that same experience. If they’re traveling to you, you need to provide them with the platform to build long-lasting memories.

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