Glamping—aka glamorous camping—has taken the tourism industry by storm in recent years and now the growing accommodation trend is set to make its mark in the remote wilderness area of Tmor Rung which borders Kirirom National Park.
The upscale Shinta Mani Hotels, which is already operating in Siem Reap, has partnered with acclaimed designer, architect and resort owner Bill Bensley to launch ‘The Bensley Collection’ which is described as an exclusive portfolio of super luxe hotels and resorts.
Under the partnership, Bensley and Shinta Mani will bring the popular glamping concept to Tmor Rung with a self-sustaining private nature sanctuary called Shinta Mani Wild – Bensley Collection.
Offering guests a unique luxury tented experience, the project is located along 1.5 kilometres of river and waterfalls with the property set to include 16, 100 square metre custom designed tents that are aimed at evoking a luxury safari experience in the mountainous Cambodian terrain.
Shinta Mani’s bid to provide a super luxurious camping experience will target both local and international guests. But it won’t be for those on a shoestring budget with the luxury tents in the resort set to cost $1,500 per night.
The project, which Bensley said had been in the works for more than ten years and believes it will be his most ambitious project yet, said he wanted to create a luxury camping experience that utilised Kirirom’s lush forest and mountainous backdrop but did so with minimal intervention and destruction.
Bensley, who is also the designer and creator behind Chaing Rai’s upscale Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, in which luxury tented rooms go for $3000 a night, said the concept he is bringing to Cambodia is “way beyond glamping.”
“This property will be in a class not seen before,” he told Post Property. “It will raise the benchmark in luxury tourism.”
Equipped with a bar, restaurant and spa, Bensley estimates the project will cost about $1 million per tent to complete.
“Shinta Mani Wild is environmentally sustainable and will have a highly positive effect on the local communities as well as the [Kirirom] national park itself,” he said, adding that the luxury property will also include a research and conservation centre that will aim to conserve and protect threatened wildlife.
Construction works for the Shinta Mani Wild kicked off earlier this year, with the luxury glamping resort scheduled to open towards the end of 2018.
Van Chanthorn, CEO of Town City Real Estate, told Post Property he welcomed more development to the Kirirom area, believing it would help put the national park on the tourist map.
“The accommodation developments in Kirirom that enhance the natural beauty of the environment like bungalows and tents will prove popular in the area as tourists enjoy being in touch with nature,” he said.
Din Somethearith, president of the Cambodia Hotel Association (CHA), said as Cambodia’s tourism sector continued to gain momentum, eco-tourism was emerging as a new alternate accommodation offering for tourists.
As for glamping, Somethearith welcomed the lodging style to Tmor Rung.
“I think glamping will be nice for young people and the tourists who are wanting a city retreat. It [Shinta Mani Wild] will also offer an opportunity to be closer with nature,” he said.
Kirirom, located in Kampong Speu province, is proving a popular up-and-coming resort destination that is a fairly close 2-hour drive from Phnom Penh. In 2014, A2A Town Cambodia launched the VKirirom Pine Resort which provides holiday houses for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. At the end of last year, the same company said they intended to invest about $2 million to develop a membership resort on top of Kirirom mountain.