Luxury Frontiers is a San Francisco- and Johannesburg-based experiential design and development services firm that has conceived properties spanning six continents. Founded by Luca Franco in 2011 out of his love for traveling to off-the-grid destinations and the desire to develop products and services that enrich people’s lives, Luxury Frontiers creates iconic hospitality concepts on the world’s frontiers of travel, all while following sustainable practices.
“I am an adventure seeker and I have always been passionate about experiential travel,” explains Franco, who previously worked in resort real estate, but pivoted after the economic crisis in 2008, wanting “to do something more meaningful for people and the environment.” As he was launching the company, Franco began to recognize the exponential rise in guests’ desire for experiential hospitality and having close interactions with wildlife and nature. Of course, African safaris quickly come to mind when one thinks glamping, but Franco realized that these experiences can be had all around the world—from the Himalayas to the rainforests of Central America and the Maldives in South Asia.
“When we begin a new project, we look at what makes it unique,” says Franco. “We look at all the different contextual layers of a specific location—the community, environment, market, seasonality, demand—and the next step is to create a script and understand what the guest will do when they come to the property. We never look at the physical design first.” Luxury Frontiers offers a range of services to its clients that can be tailored to meet every need in developing an off-the-grid resort. They can assist and advise on site selection thanks to a local and global network of established relationships; offer full-service design, including architectural, interior, and infrastructure services following environmentally and socially responsible practices; provide full project management; as well as a tailored array of services for ongoing support and operations.
Not to mention the properties are stunning. The brand’s most recent project included conceiving and designing the luxury tent accommodations for Camp Sarika by Amangiri—a 78-acre luxury campsite near Amangiri resort in Southern Utah (also a Luxury Frontiers property operated by Aman Resorts). Owners Canyon Equity entrusted Luxury Frontiers to design the first all-weather, year-round camp in North America at a luxury level, while Selldorf Architects handled the camp’s commons building.
The retreat features 10 one- or two-bedroom tented pavilions with highly customized architectural statements, giving guests adventurous back-to-nature experiences in the vast desert landscape. In homage to the surroundings, the tents feature clean lines and a natural color scheme with regionally inspired textures, leather detailing, wood fittings, and canvas work.
“When we begin a new project, we look at what makes it unique. … We never look at the physical design first.” – Luca Franco, founder, Luxury Frontiers
The strategy and design resonate, especially during these socially distant times, says Franco. “Because it’s so immersed in nature, following COVID-19 especially, people are looking to be in nature and the outdoors, so places like Camp Sarika will continue to be successful.”
Photos: Aman, Luxury Frontiers, and Scott Ramsay