Following the success of the first Bensley Collection property, Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Angkor, an enclave of 10 luxurious Khmer inspired pool villas which opened in Siem Reap in December 2017, Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Wild will open on 1 November 2018.
Nestled deep within Cambodia’s South Cardamom National Park Wilderness in a pristine wildlife corridor three hours’ drive south of Phnom Penh, Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Wild will offer a radical new concept for a luxury tented camp experience. Guests will arrive at the gate lounge by road or helicopter from where they can enjoy a unique adrenalin-filled entry to the resort via a 380 metre (1,247 ft) zip line over river and waterfalls, arriving ‘Indiana Jones style’ in the Landing Zone Bar. They will be met by charismatic General Manager Sangjay Choegyal and the renowned Bensley Butlers who will be on hand to receive them with a warm welcome and cooling refreshments. For those not wanting to zip line jeep transfers are available.
Bensley who was inducted into hospitality design’s Platinum Circle hall of fame in New York in 2017, has set out to create his most ambitious and extravagant luxury tented camp project to date. Fifteen customised luxury tents perched over 1.5 kilometres (just under 1 mile) of river and waterfalls will provide a view and experience unlike any other resort in Asia.
The fourteen one-bedroom tents (100 sqm or 1,076 sq ft) and one two-bedroom tent (140 sqm or 1,507 sq ft) have been meticulously designed to invoke the grandeur of what it would have been like to be on a luxury safari in the jungles of Cambodia with Jacky O’ who travelled throughout the Kingdom with King Sihanouk in 1967.
Unique dining incorporating locally foraged foods from the forest
Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Wild will offer a unique dining experience. With no official menu, culinary offerings under the direction of the camp’s talented Chef Kien Wagner will include wild edible plants sustainably foraged each day from the forest to accompany the best quality meat and seafood available. Guests are welcome to join Chef on his foraging expeditions and learn from his extensive expertise including five years in Cambodia. Fresh flavorful condiments will be made in-house rather than pre-purchased and the camp will have a permaculture farm and will support local farmers and fishermen. The area has a rich source of large succulent mud crabs which are a local delicacy. All ingredients will be fresh, organic and sustainably sourced from the surrounding forests and as well as imported where necessary.
Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Wild will offer a range of creative luxury adventures. To the south-east of this private sanctuary, guests will be able to spend a day exploring the untrammelled waterways of South East Asia’s last wild estuarine ecosystem aboard a custom Bensley designed fully equipped expedition boat complete with kayaks. To the north, guests will have the chance to accompany anti-poaching rangers and researchers as they check camera points and study the wild forests and their inhabitants; a unique opportunity to explore these untamed lands with the people that know them best, taking only photographs and leaving only footprints.
An important part of the camp’s ethos is having a team of rangers conducting anti-poaching patrols in order to generate a safe haven for birds and animals. A team of full-time naturalists have been living at the resort during construction for the past year studying the flora and fauna. They have also developed a range of hikes for guests to explore the area. While not adventuring and exploring this incredibly diverse region, guests can relax and enjoy their luxurious tents and camp facilities including the Waterfall Restaurant, Landing Zone Bar and Boulders Spa featuring chemical-free products by Bensley’s Khmer Tonics.
Sustainability and environment
The South Cardamom National Park is Cambodia’s newest and largest National Park covering a massive 866,930 hectares (2,142,231 acres) and is one of the last great wilderness areas of South East Asia. A wild coast of pristine estuaries gives way to a majestic mountain range covered in tropical rainforest. Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Wild is nestled in a 350 hectare (860 acres) valley between the Phnom Bokor and Kirirom National Parks.
Shinta Mani Foundation
Shinta Mani Foundation will be spearheading the conservation and community outreach programs, including the provision of long-term employment opportunity to the local inhabitants where there are minimal infrastructure and fewer work opportunities.
Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Wild, in conjunction with the Foundation, will nurture its natural environment through partnerships with respected conservation organisations including Wildlife Alliance, The Royal University of Phnom Penh and The Cambodian Government. This extreme exercise in ingenuity will enable guests to explore this pristine wilderness, while making the lowest possible impact on the land, offering a luxury adventure with intimate access to one of Asia’s most stunning forest ecosystems.