Bangkok-based, Harvard-educated architect and landscape designer Bill Bensley is known as the king of exotic luxury resorts; his properties number more than 100 in 26 countries. With his firm, Bensley Design Studios, he transforms wild landscapes into sophisticated environments. One of his recent projects is the Anantara Resort & Spa Koh Samui in Thailand.
“ I consider myself a designer of environments. There are no boundaries. As a landscape architect, I’ve been taught to protect the earth and environment, and as an architect I want to do the same.”
Bill Bensley was born a stone’s throw from Disneyland in Orange California at a time when orange groves actually thrived mile after mile. Of English parentage, Bensley, a tail end baby boomer, enjoyed his childhood tending the local farms and fruit orchards, as one did in those good days. Bill’s english sister, Ann, remains best friends and often vacation together.
Since 1984, Bensley has been designing resorts throughout Asia and the world. From 1984 to ‘89 Bensley was the lead designer and MD for an American company and was happily based in Singapore and Hong Kong. He then, at the young age of 30, hung up his own signboard in a parking lot in Bangkok and Bensley Design Studios was born. 1989 was a great year as he also met Jirachai, his long term guiding light. The Bali Branch of Bensley Design Studios opened shortly afterward in 1990.
Bensley’s work has earned him numerous titles such as “1 Spa Designer in Asia” and “King of Exotic Luxury Resorts”. He has been mentioned as one of the world’s top 100 designers by both Time Magazine and Architectural Digest, but the title Bensley values most is the philanthropist title. Six years ago, he developed Shinta Mani, a hotel school in Siem Reap, Cambodia, where underprivileged students from surrounding villages are offered a one-year education in hospitality completely free of charge.
Despite the notion that Bensley and the team are now considered firm leaders in the field of hospitality design, Bill still believes that nothing they have done is that good and that their best work is yet to appear!
Source: Bill Bensley
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