Tour operator Smiling Albino has joined forces with Bill Bensley, a recognised hotel designer, architect, and uber conservationist to create the Bill Bensley Art Trail, an experience that combines luxury accommodation and art with sustainable travel practices.
With the first of the experiences to launch on November 28, the tour is a 12-day art and ecology odyssey exploring Bensley’s network of visually striking, sustainable and innovative hotels in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.
The tour begins at the new InterContinental Khao Yai Resort in Thailand, which uses restored old train carriages (some of which were salvaged from the surrounding jungle), creating charming and ecologically responsible spaces that are actual living pieces of history. There is plenty to do on the tour’s first leg, including art workshops run by Bensley himself, and joining the maestro on a conservation trek into the jungle.
The trail continues at the Rosewood Luang Prabang in Laos, where guests will discover the secrets behind ancient Laotian culture and traditions through inspiring talks and creative workshops.
The Cambodian leg of the tour is broken in two. The first is Shinta Mani Angkor and Bensley Collection Pool Villas in Siem Reap for some rest and relaxation, before striking out to Shinta Mani Wild – A Bensley Collection. Shinta Mani Wild is the jewel in the tour’s crown, a sustainable, all-inclusive luxury resort, under canvas and the canopy of the Cardoman Mountains, which was conceived to save the surrounding woodland from being chopped down.
The tour concludes back in Thailand at The Siam Hotel Bangkok, where an art-themed dinner is hosted at Bensley’s own home with the artist and his partner.