FIRST LOOK: BILL BENSLEY’S SHINTA MANI ANGKOR – BENSLEY COLLECTION IN PICTURES
After years designing hotels for prestigious brands from Four Seasons and Rosewood to JW Marriott, Bill Bensley has earned a deserved reputation as the king of luxury resorts. Marking the debut of his eponymous Bensley Collection brand, this year’s new Shinta Mani Angkor – Bensley Collection is the first to ever actually bear his name – and newly released official images now offer an unprecedented chance to see what the ‘Willy Wonka of hotel design’ dreamt up when dancing to his own tune.
The Bensley Collection is the embodiment of an innovative type of indulgence-by-design that Bensley calls ‘escapism’ (also the title of his book). Says Bensley, “Often I am asked: What is the most important design aspect about building a resort? I often answer that it is about private – completely private – outdoor space. It is a glorious luxury. Think about it. Where can you go and be outside, next to your room and be completely private? Shinta Mani Angkor – Bensley Collection is about that, and about providing the best accommodation in Cambodia.”
Opened in January this year, the 10 opulent split-level Villas introduced an offering to Siem Reap that is as committed to luxury as it is to celebrating and supporting the local culture. Under the palace trees of Siem Reap’s leafy French quarter, the villas showcase striking design, regal interiors and high walled facades that reference the area’s heritage as the heart of the Khmer Empire. Upon entering through the dramatic padlocked wooden doors, playful monochromatic tiles guide the eye across to the tropical garden, outdoor lounge area and a dazzling blue 30ft pool – tiled in a recurring pattern drawn from the layout of the ancient Angkor temples.
Bensley took inspiration from the Khmer culture and their ambitious architectural feats throughout. Subtly emphasising the flow from inside to out, the Villas’ walls are adorned with a three-dimensional carving representing the rippling robes of Jayavarman – a 12th-century Khmer king revered for his powerful, pioneering spirit. Asked which individual design element he is most proud of, Bensley replies “I love the idea of King Jayavarman’s robe, 100 times bigger than real scale, spanning the courtyard walls from inside to outside. That crazy idea really worked out well.”
Encouraging the calming effect of being surrounded by greenery, the bedroom is bookended by floor-to-ceiling glass doors. At one end a tropical garden encloses an outdoor bath, while direct pool access beckons at the other. The lush green hues of the outdoor space are contrasted by sophisticated splashes of Khmer orange. Dark wood inlaid with brass flows across the floor and up the walls, framing the luxuriously comfortable centrepiece bed.
The monochromatic tile design extends to the villa’s roof terrace where the ancient canopy of palace trees is augmented by verdant hanging baskets creating another private oasis. Boasting a large day bed and bar area, the rooftop is the perfect spot for sundowners and stargazing.
As with all Shinta Mani hotels, part of the cost of every stay is donated to the Shinta Mani Foundation, something Bensley is incredibly passionate about. “In Siem Reap we have been working with the communities for 15 years and have done a world of good.” The Foundation seeks to be a leader in responsible tourism with a goal to enhance the lives of the locals by increasing their human capital and providing them with the tools to overcome the constraints of poverty. The expansion of the Shinta Mani group, in collaboration with Bensley, is set to further boost the efforts of the Shinta Mani Foundation.
Open Doors, Open Hearts
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Notes to Editors:
Shinta Mani Angkor – Bensley Collection, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Marking the debut of new super luxe resort brand The Bensley Collection, Shinta Mani Angkor – Bensley Collection opened in January 2018. An exclusive ‘resort within a resort’, Shinta Mani Angkor – Bensley Collection comprises an enclave of spectacular luxury pool villas with Khmer-inspired design benefiting from elevated Bensley Collection services such as personal Bensley Butlers, while guests can also enjoy comprehensive access to facilities at the adjacent Shinta Mani properties. www.shintamani.com/angkor-bensley-collection
The Shinta Mani Hotels & Resorts portfolio also includes:
Shinta Mani Angkor, Cambodia
Shinta Mani Angkor is an upscale boutique hotel created by acclaimed architect Bill Bensley, showcasing just 39 contemporary designed rooms and public spaces in an Angkorian-inspired design. Previously known as Shinta Mani Club, it enjoys a tranquil and leafy setting within the French Quarter of Siem Reap – just a 15 minute Remork ride from the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat. www.shintamani.com/angkor
Shinta Mani Foundation, Cambodia
An integral part of the Shinta Mani collation is the Shinta Mani Foundation, which seeks to be a leader in responsible tourism. The goal of the the Shinta Mani Foundation (SMF) is to enhance the lives of the individuals in the local communities where the resorts operate – by increasing their human capital and providing them the tools to overcome the constraints of poverty. http://shintamanifoundation.org
Shinta Mani Shack Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia
The Shinta Mani Shack Angkor is a boutique resort centrally located in the leafy French Quarter between The Royal Gardens and the Old Market Area just 15 minutes from Angkor Wat. The courtyard-style resort’s 62 rooms enjoy a surprisingly different “Bensley twist” with direct access or first floor balcony views over the stunning swimming pool and flourishing tropical gardens. Four additional suites offer expansive rooms and balconies; two suites overlook the pool while the other two have views over the leafy streetscape.www.shintamani.com/shack
Shinta Mani Wild – Bensley Collection, Cambodia
Set to open in 2018 (Q4), Shinta Mani Wild will be the second member of The Bensley Collection. An exclusive private nature sanctuary like no other previously seen in Asia, located in the remote wilderness of the Kirirom and the Southern Cardamom Mountains, on an important elephant migration trail three hours south of Phnom Penh, Shinta Mani Wild – Bensley Collection is described by Bensley as a “utopia of sustainability”. Offering the most extravagant tented camps imaginable, set along a private 4km stretch of wild river punctuated with mesmerising waterfalls, Shinta Mani Wild will nurture its natural environment through partnerships with respected conservation organisations – an extreme exercise in ingenuity where guests can feast on delicacies grown and foraged from the surrounding land, and encounter extraordinary wildlife, while making the lowest possible impact on the land. This is an experiential luxury adventure giving intimate access to one of Asia’s most stunning forest ecosystems. www./shintamani.com/wild
An exclusive collection of super luxe hotels and resorts resulting from acclaimed American designer and architect Bill Bensley. Recognised for his distinctive, elegant deco inspired design, Bensley is the creative force behind many of Asia’s most celebrated and beautiful hotels, resorts and residences. The first Resort under The Bensley Collection brand, Shinta Mani Angkor – Bensley Collection, will be joined in 2018 (Q4) by Shinta Mani Wild, a private sanctuary like no other, located in the remote jungle terrain of Kirirom.
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