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6 months ago

Fah Thai Magazine Jan-Feb 2018

BILL BENSLEY right then

BILL BENSLEY right then and there into a 6 by 1.5 metre drawing, for the Four Seasons Chiang Mai renovation.” Global trips might have given Bensley aesthetic ideas, but it is his strong desire to dream, have fun and really immerse in novel and inner journeys that make him different, or ‘crazy and sane’ at the same time. Lately, Bensley’s resort blueprints create a new realm – that of another world or an “out of this world” kind of vacation. A real escapism, if you will, where guests are convinced they are in a certain time and place, yet everything has all been created and built. He and his team achieved that in grand orchestration and indicative of the high art of putting an entire wholesome project together. Every minute string of the story is tied together within the designs and with a strong and reality-based timeline. The experience is made real with facts complete with fine and minuscule details required to make everything flawlessly function so guests can really escape into this new world; a world according to Bill Bensley. But it is also the stark realities existing in life that drove him to sketch out a project closest to his heart. Concerns on poverty, the widespread encroachment of natural environments and uncontrolled wildlife poaching are addressed in his latest project Clockwise from Top Yessir, they’ve got lots of bananas at the InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, Vietnam. Jazzed up bar at Deco Bar, The Siam Bangkok. An ode to Phuket’s yesteryears at The Slate Phuket. – one that is most important to him: the Shinta Mani Wild in Cambodia. “I bought a 99-year lease to log in this land, but with no intention to log,” explains the architect who is known for doing everything in his design to avoid cutting even one single tree. “Instead, we want this place to be a sanctuary for all animals, big and small, as well as the whole entire forest. It will also be the place where our guests can be in (a) totally different but real world; of the wild of Cambodia.” Shinta Mani Wild will be the fourth in the small cluster of Bensley-owned and operated hotels in Cambodia that generates income to support the work of the Shinta Mani Foundation, created on the idea of responsible tourism that benefits local communities. The Shinta Mani Wild, scheduled to launched in late 2018, will still provide an out-of-this-world experience to its guests and more along the lines of luxury camping. “I really like the outdoors, the camping and being in tune with nature, being exposed,” says Bensley. “So I would say that the Shinta Mani Wild is everything I want to see in a holiday. You can get more adventure there than you can imagine. Guests can go with rangers and catch poachers, do community work; or even foraging in the forest for food. We just found twelve new types of edible mushrooms there. They are delicious.” 46