With over 200 properties under his belt, Bangkok-based architect and landscape designer Bill Bensley is the visionary responsible for some of Asia’s most eye-catching resorts. Earlier this July, he unveiled Bali’s first tented camp in the jungle covered foothills of Ubud’s Keliki village.
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Bensley is renowned for building resorts sensitively around the nature that claimed the land first. Not a single tree was felled to create Capella Ubud and the 22 one-bedroom (there’s also a two-bedroom tent in the works), Dutch-style camps with teak floors, antique furniture, local textiles, four-poster beds and plunge pools are woven around the towering rainforest.
The canvas tents either look out over cascading rice terraces, a deep, forested gorge or the Wos River, which guests can hike down to for blessings at a sacred temple.
The resort also has playful touches: brass monkeys scamper across the tent roofs; toilets are fashioned as regal, wooden thrones; and rooms are stocked with complimentary spiced rum and marshmallows to toast by a campfire.
Breakfast at Mads Lange – overlooking the lush, sloping valley below and a huge, saltwater pool – is indulgent, but don’t miss a dinner at signature restaurant Api Jiwa, which offers eight- or 10-course omakase meals spotlighting local ingredients and flavours.
Unfurling over more than one million emerald-hued hectares, Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains is the largest expanse of unbroken rainforest left in Southeast Asia, home to endangered species such as gibbons, elephants and sun bears.
It’s now also host to the latest luxury safari sanctuary from designer Bill Bensley, with 15 spectacular tents perched over waterfalls.
There’s plenty of adventure on offer too: After a three-hour drive from Phnom Penh, guests arrive at a gate lounge where they can then fly in on a 380m zip line over the canopy and into the resort’s Landing Zone Bar (you can also drive in by jeep).
Set to open this month, this luxury 12-suite lodge is set on a 28,000ha working cattle station 170km west of Cairns in northern Queensland. Special features include a sublime infinity pool, a weir full of barramundi and cattle-mustering trips, but it’s the untamed outback wilderness that is the biggest lure: ancient sandstone rock formations, a vast 18km ridge that’s even bigger than Uluru and sublime Australian sunsets.
This story originally appeared in the December 2018 edition of SilverKris magazine