Bill Bensley, the Thai-based architect and designer who Time magazine described as the “king of exotic luxury resorts”, will soon begin the much-vaunted makeover of Shinta Mani Hotel.
The boutique hotel will close in April-May next year for the remodel, and ultimately re-emerge as a hotel almost twice the size – the number of rooms increasing from 18 to 35.
Shinta Mani, imbued with a tradition of hip philanthropy, also doubles as an institute of hospitality, providing non-fee-paying hotel education to underprivileged Cambodians. This programme is funded by hotel profits, and next year students will also benefit from the revamp.
General manager Chitra Vincent said the students “will have a proper classroom, a library with books, and computers with training software, so that will be new for us.”
Training courses usually begin on January 1 each year, but because of the renovations, this will be moved forward to an as yet unspecified date, with selection of new students to finish by December 1.
Vincent said 28 training positions are available and around 200 application forms have been distributed.
The hotel targets five main disadvantaged groups: orphans, students from single parent families, low income families, large families, and students with disabilities who normally face difficulties getting a job.
Chitra Vincent said, “We had someone in the culinary class who was blind in one eye. We offer completely free training, give rice to the family once a week and give trainees a small allowance every month.”