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Luxury tented camp opens deep in Cambodian jungle

The hotly anticipated Shinta Mani Wild – Bensley Collection has opened, crowning a transformative year for Cambodian luxury tourism. Nestled deep within the wilderness of the South Cardamom National Park, in a pristine wildlife corridor three hours’ drive south of Phnom Penh, Shinta Mani Wild – Bensley Collection offers a radical new concept for a luxury tented camp experience. From the exhilarating moment of arrival – criss-crossing the rapids via a 320m zipline, straight into the Landing Zone Bar – there will be no such thing as a typical day at Shinta Mani Wild.Perched over 1.5km of river and waterfalls, the 14 one-bedroom tents (100sqm) and one two-bedroom tent (140sqm) have been meticulously designed to evoke Bensley’s vision of what it might have been like to be on luxury safari in the jungles of Cambodia with Jacky O’, who travelled throughout the Kingdom with King Sihanouk in 1967. Stunningly realised, this extraordinary product of Bensley’s imagination provides an experience unlike any other in Asia. Creative luxury adventures include exploring the untrammelled waterways of South East Asia’s last wild estuarine ecosystem aboard a custom Bensley-designed expedition boat; or joining Wildlife Alliance rangers on anti-poaching patrols. Ever changing menus are inspired by sustainably foraged wild edible plants, as the camp’s naturalists guide guests through the forest to discover – and taste – Cambodia’s natural larder. The Boulder Spa provides chemical-free Khmer Tonics treatments including a river-stone foot massage while soaking in a waterfall pool. Described by Bensley as a “utopia of sustainability”, Shinta Mani Wild’s comprehensive conservation and community programmes are spearheaded by the Shinta Mani Foundation, and include the provision of long-term employment opportunities to local inhabitants where there is minimal infrastructure and fewer work prospects. Shinta Mani Wild – Bensley Collection, in conjunction with the Foundation, will nurture its natural environment through partnerships with respected conservation organizations including Wildlife Alliance and The Cambodian Government. This extreme exercise in ingenuity will enable guests to explore this pristine wilderness, while making the lowest possible impact on the land, offering a luxury adventure with intimate access to one of Asia’s most stunning forest ecosystems. Rates at Shinta Mani Wild – Bensley Collection start from USD2345 per night, inclusive of all food and beverage; all private guided activities and excursions; spa treatments; personal Bensley Butler; land transfers from Phnom Penh or Sihanoukville airports, and taxes. Helicopter transfers are additional. A minimum 3 night stay is required and a minimum age of 13 years.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. The words “tented camp” just don’t seem relevant to the heights of luxury on offer at the Shinto Mari Wild. This place takes luxury to new heights. It certainly recalls the grandeur of luxury safaris in another era. It is good news that these safaris are open to everyone nowadays and not just the Jacky Os of this world.

  2. Absolutely fabulous! People will be queueing to visit. But will they be queueing up for visas? One of the hot topics at Christmas and New Year get togethers was problems with visas. Do British visitors need a visa for Cambodia?

  3. Robert Louis Stevenson may have said or written, “That it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive.” As it is a three hour drive from the airport I think that I’d opt for the helicopter. Also a chopper ride would give you a better view of the geography of the region.

  4. Talk of Kings, White House royalty and helicopter arrivals – wow – this IS living the dream. The rooms are ginormous.

  5. I never thought that I would be contemplating a trip to Cambodia in my lifetime, let alone extreme luxury such as this. After Cambodia had virtually been wiped from the face of the planet it is astounding that the country has recovered. The country’s people have demonstrated incredible resilience and great courage in recovering from the brink of annihilation. This project deserves to succeed. I wish them good luck.

  6. My friends make fun of me saying that I fly round the world collecting different varieties of massages. There is some truth to their accusations. I’ve got to admit that I have never had a river-stone foot massage while soaking in a waterfall pool before. That’ll be a first.

    On a negative note it is a pity how much chains of hotels are standardising massages, you can often have the same treatment in Buenos Ares as Shanghai. I think it’s important that a treatment should arise from the surrounding environment, so the river stone massage ticks all the boxes for me.

  7. I get that an exhilarating 320m zipline at Shinti Mani Wild is I ntended as an unforgettable arrival but is that the only way in?

    I expect that many of the guests will have travelled huge distances from their home contents. They will simply want to get on with a shower and a restorative cocktail.

    Surely there must be an easy way to arrive?

  8. I’ve now read quite a few pieces predicting that 2019 will be a year when Cambodia truly establishes tself as a traveller’s Top Destination. The travel gurus are prophesying that Cambodia will be trending this year.

    With top of the market offerings like Shinti Mani Wild the Cambodian tourist industry is heading in the right direction. Quality like this will pull standards upwards in the rest of the industry. For too long Cambodia has largely been perceived as a backpacker destination. Things are changing.

  9. So many of my friends are making plans to hit Cambodia this year that it seems to be the country on everyone’s list. Though with adventure, excitement and luxury combined like this it is no real surprise that so many people are buying flights to Cambodia.

  10. As I grew up in a Britain that wanted to be egalitarian and was quite embarrassed by its Upstairs, Downstairs past, I always thought that I would find it quite difficult if I had a butler at my disposal.

    I’m just back from Dubai, where to be absolutely honest, I had a 10th share of a butler. Much to my surprise, I soon got the hang of having my shoes cleaned, my shirt ironed and my dinner reservation booked.

    I’ve no idea what a Bensley Butler is but I would be very happy to give it a trial.

  11. Crossing rapids on a zip wire to get there is certainly an usual arrival to your accommodation! What an amazing location, they chose well when they dreamed up Shinta Mani Wild. The decor looks authentic and has that kind of cosy feel to it, so I imagine it feeling quite welcoming. It’s interesting that there’s a Foundation that dedicates itself to community and conservation efforts, those kinds of programmes and the relationships they have with the government and other outfits must be priceless for the area.

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