Anyone who has stayed in an exuberantly designed hotel in Asia has most likely experienced the designs of Bill Bensley: the Bangkok-based designer is the creative force behind The Siam Hotel Bangkok; Rosewood Luang Prabang, Shinta Mani Angkor and Capella Hanoi among others. Apart from his hotel designs, though, Bensley is also an artist and philanthropist and those three interests combine in the first Bensley Art Trail, a 12 day tour for those interested in art, design, luxury and conservation from November 28th-December 10th. Bensley will lead it, taking 12 guests behind the scenes of several of those hotels as well as his home, with itinerary details constructed by the Bangkok based luxury, bespoke travel company Smiling Albino. Proceeds will go to the Shinta Mani Foundation which is based in Cambodia to fund 32 scholarships for students of the Shinta Mani Foundation Hospitality School, Class of 2024.
“I have been designing hotels all my life, but when I first picked up a paint brush just 4 years ago I absolutely fell in love with art,” Bensley explains. “In creating the Bensley Art Trail I want to share my enthusiasm with you and inspire you to release your inner child, while having a ton of fun along the way as we travel, draw and paint in some of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful places.” Throughout the tour, Bensley will impart his thoughts about hotel and interior design, landscape architecture, and spotlight individual artists, describing what is unique about their work.
The trip kicks off at the recently opened InterContinental Khao Yai Resort, a railway themed resort two and a half hours from Bangkok near Khao Yai National Park known for its wildlife including elephants, waterfalls and hiking trails. For this design, Bensley used reclaimed train carriages, some rescued from the jungle, 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 for conservation-themed forest walks.