Shinta Mani Angkor - Bensley Collection: The Sleek Hotel With Heart In Siem Reap
The Shinta Mani Angkor - Bensley Collection is less like a hotel and more like private clubhouse for the hedonist traveller. The third creation of the Shinta Mani hospitality group—the other two are mere metres away—opened last summer, and it’s hands down the city’s best new boutique stay.
It is also the first venture to be partly owned and operated by Bangkok-based American designer Bill Bensley, the go-to name for luxurious properties around the world including the Siam in Bangkok and the Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, among others.
Location, location, location
The property is set in a shaded compound next to the town’s royal residence, and it’s a 15-minute tuk-tuk ride from the temples. Surrounded by lush vegetation, it feels secluded while being minutes away from the centre and some of the city's most beautiful streets.
The hotel boasts 10 very slick and sizeable one-bedroom villas kitted out with a private pool, outdoor patio and rooftop lounge area with a marble-topped bar and double daybed—all hidden behind high garden walls. Keeping with Bensley’s signature aesthetic, the style is “maximalist.”
A strong palette of black-and-white, dark wood, gold accents and grey furniture defines the overall décor, which combines both Khmer traditions (like a gigantic mural of the feet and rippling robe of 12th century Khmer king, Jayavarman, by the pool) and contemporary vibes.
Details like an outdoor bathtub shrouded by plants, a rainforest shower and a cabinet of free treats such as banana chips, sweet potatoes crisps and spicy trail mix—all locally produced—make for luxurious extras that make you feel a little bit special.
What about the service?
In a nutshell: pretty perfect. All guests at Shinta Mani Angkor - Bensley Collection get their own private 'Bensley Butler'. Ours, Salas, was phenomenal. He arranged our pick-up to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat, and made sure we had snacks and hot coffee to take with us at 4am. When we returned, he took away our dusty sneakers to return them squeaky clean and shining white.
An absolute star—and all the other staff members echoed the same attitude.
Wine and dine
Being the exclusive property that it is, the hotel doesn’t have a restaurant on site. But walk across the street and you’re at Kroya, the main restaurant of Shinta Mani Angkor - Bensley Collection ’s sister property and one of the best fine-dining options in Siem Reap. Breakfast is served here, though you’ll probably be more inclined to enjoy it on your private rooftop.
See also: How I Travel: Daniel Meury Of Andara Resort & Villas
Hospitality for a cause
Shinta Mani is home to the Shinta Mani Foundation, a registered NGO that runs a number of admirable programmes, from educational workshops that teach families from nearby villages how to farm and start their own home gardens, to dental care for local schools and microcredit schemes to help launch small businesses.
The Shinta Mani School of Hospitality, which was launched on the grounds of the first Shinta Mani Angkor in 2004, trains underprivileged Cambodians in all aspects of hotel operations to help them secure employment in the future. A portion of all room rates from Shinta Mani hotels goes towards the charity, with all other costs covered by the owners. If guests feel inclined to make a donation, 100 percent of it goes towards the projects.
See also: Philanthropy Now: How To Make An Impact That Lasts
Why stay here?
Between the décor, extraordinary staff and super exclusive setting, Shinta Mani Angkor - Bensley Collection makes you feel as though you’re staying in someone’s private home. It’s a beautiful, impeccably well-kept property—and one that’s working to make a positive impact on its community.
Find out more at shintamani.com