Interview | Marco Larrea - Principal at EDSA

SAHIC e-News Latin America - 2019

Marco Larrea
Principal at EDSA

1- How would you describe EDSA and what is the company's focus? In which countries does it operate?

EDSA is one of the largest companies in the world in master planning of large-scale projects, urbanism and the creation of tourist destinations through the design and development of Master Plans that are in line with the culture of the region, environmentally sensitive and, above all, economically feasible.

Our branch office is located in Fort Lauderdale and we have offices in Orlando, Baltimore, New York and Shanghai, China. From these offices we can cover various regions and countries that have a great future of development. 60% of our projects are outside the country and we are working in regions such as China, Japan, Abudabi, the Arab Emirates, Europe and the USA. We also have a large portfolio of projects in Latin America where we are working in countries such as Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Perú, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Brazil.

2- What aspects do you consider when undertaking a high-impact project?

The most important thing when starting a project is to understand the culture of the region, the site and the client's vision. That way we can assemble a design team that can meet the needs of the owner and especially of the region.

3- What is your opinion regarding current trends in hotel development projects in the region?

It seems to me that trends change over time, but the fact is that in a hotel project the most important thing is to be able to create a unique destination and a concept to stand out from other destinations worldwide. Another important point to creat a concept is to understand the destination and the end user and create a community or hotel native to the culture of the region. In short, it is necessary to create unforgettable moments within the resort. A good example is the project of Rosewood Mayakoba which we designed in the Riviera Maya. There we used the concept of Mayan villages creating lagoons and channels where the guest arrives at his hotel by means of an electric barge.

4- What do you consider to be the most outstanding innovations in hotel project design?

The reduction of lobby check in is becoming smaller and smaller and with today's technological advances it is no longer necessary to go through the reception to go to your room. Everything can be done through the user's telephone.

The same thing happens when you get to your room and be able to control the lighting and television from the user's cell phone.

One of the things we see most today is that the tourist destination has to provide an experience of destinations within the resort such as educational pedestrian trails, bike trails, outdoor exercise, etc.

The latest innovations we are proposing in hotels are related to the following concepts: 

-New Luxury: technology and flexibility.

-Sustainability and authenticity in design.

-Eating and healthy living.

-Creating a story that inspires the concept of design.

-Highlighting the region's culture through site design.

5- What do you consider to be the challenges  that the region is facing today in terms of design, urbanism and architecture?

In fact, Latin America is a great region with natural resources unique in the world and there is a lot to see. I think that our governments could further contribute to the growth of tourism by supporting development and foreign investment.

6- EDSA is once again a sponsor of SAHIC. In your opinion, how does this type of conference contribute to the hotel industry?

I think that SAHIC provides a great platform for the region to know what is being done in other countries of the world in terms of tourism, which helps to encourage tourism development in the region. This is important because the development of tourism in Latin America is one of the doors for countries to develop and open the doors for the growth of the country.

7- Which social network do you use most often and why?

Instagram, I think it is more powerful in presenting trends instead of simply showing photos of families and friends.

8- When you travel for pleasure, where do you choose to stay: hotel or Airbnb?

I really like to stay in boutique hotels, known by few people, to find out how local people live. Lately I have used Airbnb, but you have to be careful and look carefully for the location and presentation of the place.             


Marco Larrea, Master Planner and Managing Partner of EDSA, is a veteran of urbanism and exterior architecture. Throughout his career, Larrea has been able to develop the main ideas of the sector creating designs that are aesthetically attractive and culturally appropriate, but also realistic and feasible.

In his designs he always takes into account the history of the site, the urban interface, the implementation strategies and the unique cultural, physical and environmental characteristics of each property. Larrea's broad portfolio includes a variety of groundbreaking projects such as Rosewood Mayakoba and St. Regis Punta Mita in Mexico, Four Seasons Okinawa in Japan and Serena del Mar in Cartagena, Colombia.

Larrea is a former student at Louisiana State University, where he obtained a bachelor's degree in Urbanism, Exterior Architecture and Landscaping, and attended the School of Architecture at the Central University of Ecuador.

To contact Marco Larrea:

To learn more about EDSA, visit:

Camila Lavori