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Fah Thai Magazine Jan-Feb 2018

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BILL BENSLEY<br />

right then and there into a 6 by<br />

1.5 metre drawing, for the Four<br />

Seasons Chiang Mai renovation.”<br />

Global trips might have given<br />

Bensley aesthetic ideas, but it is<br />

his strong desire to dream, have<br />

fun and really immerse in novel<br />

and inner journeys that make him<br />

different, or ‘crazy and sane’ at<br />

the same time. Lately, Bensley’s<br />

resort blueprints create a new<br />

realm – that of another world<br />

or an “out of this world” kind of<br />

vacation. A real escapism, if you<br />

will, where guests are convinced<br />

they are in a certain time and<br />

place, yet everything has all<br />

been created and built. He and<br />

his team achieved that in grand<br />

orchestration and indicative of<br />

the high art of putting an entire<br />

wholesome project together. Every<br />

minute string of the story is tied<br />

together within the designs and<br />

with a strong and reality-based<br />

timeline. The experience is made<br />

real with facts complete with fine<br />

and minuscule details required<br />

to make everything flawlessly<br />

function so guests can really escape<br />

into this new world; a world<br />

according to Bill Bensley.<br />

But it is also the stark realities<br />

existing in life that drove him to<br />

sketch out a project closest to<br />

his heart. Concerns on poverty,<br />

the widespread encroachment<br />

of natural environments and<br />

uncontrolled wildlife poaching<br />

are addressed in his latest project<br />

Clockwise from Top<br />

Yessir, they’ve got<br />

lots of bananas at<br />

the InterContinental<br />

Danang Sun<br />

Peninsula Resort,<br />

Vietnam.<br />

Jazzed up bar at<br />

Deco Bar, The Siam<br />

Bangkok.<br />

An ode to Phuket’s<br />

yesteryears at<br />

The Slate Phuket.<br />

– one that is most important to<br />

him: the Shinta Mani Wild<br />

in Cambodia.<br />

“I bought a 99-year lease<br />

to log in this land, but with no<br />

intention to log,” explains the<br />

architect who is known for doing<br />

everything in his design to avoid<br />

cutting even one single tree.<br />

“Instead, we want this place to<br />

be a sanctuary for all animals, big<br />

and small, as well as the whole<br />

entire forest. It will also be the<br />

place where our guests can be<br />

in (a) totally different but real<br />

world; of the wild of Cambodia.”<br />

Shinta Mani Wild will be the<br />

fourth in the small cluster of<br />

Bensley-owned and operated<br />

hotels in Cambodia that generates<br />

income to support the work of the<br />

Shinta Mani Foundation, created<br />

on the idea of responsible tourism<br />

that benefits local communities.<br />

The Shinta Mani Wild, scheduled<br />

to launched in late <strong>2018</strong>, will still<br />

provide an out-of-this-world<br />

experience to its guests and more<br />

along the lines of luxury camping.<br />

“I really like the outdoors,<br />

the camping and being in tune<br />

with nature, being exposed,”<br />

says Bensley.<br />

“So I would say that the Shinta<br />

Mani Wild is everything I want<br />

to see in a holiday. You can get<br />

more adventure there than you<br />

can imagine. Guests can go with<br />

rangers and catch poachers,<br />

do community work; or even<br />

foraging in the forest for food.<br />

We just found twelve new types<br />

of edible mushrooms there. They<br />

are delicious.”<br />

46

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