Anyone who has stayed in a heavily designed hotel in Asia has likely experienced Bill Bensley’s designs: the Bangkok-based designer is the creative force behind Siam Hotel Bangkok; Rosewood Luang Prabang, Shinta Mani Angkor, Kapila Hanoi and more. Aside from his hotel designs, Bensley is also an artist and philanthropist, and all three of these interests come together on the first ever Bensley Art Trail, a 12-day tour for those interested in art, design, luxury and conservation, from November 28 to December 10. It will be led by Bensley, who will take 12 guests behind the scenes at several of those hotels as well as his home, detailing an itinerary designed by Bangkok-based luxury travel company Smiling Albino. Proceeds will go to the Cambodia-based Shinta Mani Foundation to fund 32 scholarships for students of the Shinta Mani Foundation’s School of Hospitality, Class of 2024.

“I’ve been designing hotels my whole life, but when I first picked up a paintbrush just 4 years ago, I absolutely fell in love with the art,” Bensley explains. “By creating the Bensley Art Trail, I want to share my enthusiasm with you and inspire you to unleash your inner child, while having loads of fun along the way as we travel, paint and paint in some of the most beautiful places in Southeast Asia.” Throughout the tour, Bensley will impart his thoughts on hotel and interior design, and landscape architecture, and will highlight individual artists, describing what is unique about their work.

The journey begins at the recently opened InterContinental Khao Yai Resort, a railway-themed resort located 2.5 hours from Bangkok near Khao Yai National Park known for its wildlife including elephants, waterfalls and hiking trails. In this design, Bensley used reclaimed train cars, some of which were salvaged from the forest, and created a fantasy design around them. While here, guests will participate in immersive art workshops with the designer and join him and park rangers on conservation-themed woodland walks.

Next stops include Rosewood Luang Prabang, a hilltop resort where each room features a different, colorful design and storytelling, with more art classes and observing the ancient traditions and sites of this historic, spiritual city. The tour then moves on to Cambodia and stays at Shinta Mani Angkor and Bensley Collection Pool Villas in Siem Reap, home to the famous Angkor Wat temples; The jeep tour will explore remote temples. There is also a free Art Discovery Day/opportunity to visit the Foundation’s headquarters followed by a drive to the Cardamom Mountains and National Park to stay at the Shinta Mani Wild-A Bensley Collection. This camp was established for the purpose of conservation: to prevent logging from the land for a mine; Adventures here include zip lining, hiking over a waterfall, and joining an anti-poaching patrol.

The tour ends back in Bangkok at the Siam Hotel Bangkok, a riverside hotel designed by Bensley as a living museum with interesting artifacts filling every available space. Guests are also invited to Baan Botanica, a private residence decorated with an elaborate garden, for Bensley, his partner Jirachai, and five Jack Russells for the grand closing dinner. If guests take inspiration from the Bensley Gardens here for their at-home recreation, they are destined to be the talk of the town when they come home.

Trip cost: $25,000 per person in a double room, of which $10,000 is a contribution to the Shinta Mani Foundation.
Follow me Twitter.

(tags for translation) Siam Hotel Bangkok

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: