Flower Magazine

JAN-FEB 2019

Browse "flower" to learn techniques from established and up-and-coming designers, be inspired by the floral decor of weddings, galas, and flower and garden shows, and infuse your lifestyle with chic floral fashion and home decor.

Issue link: http://digital.flowermag.com/i/1061414

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Page 23 of 91

IN BLOOM I travel conservation center. We spent afternoons at the hotel spa and evenings in town discovering the local cuisine. Located in a lush area with waterfalls, the resort is just far enough from town to feel like an escape. It was designed by Bill Bensley, an American hotel designer and landscape architect based in Bangkok who is known for creating luxury hotels that tell the story of each destination's history and culture. At this resort, every hotel room was inspired by a different figure of French colonialism in Laos. We stayed during the property's opening weeks, so we saw Bensley's process firsthand. He was schlepping materials and putting finishing touches on the Elephant Bridge Bar, which symbolizes the history of Laos as the "Land of a Million Elephants." The details of the design were mesmerizing, as was the seamless integration of the resort into the landscape, with villas located at the foot of the waterfall and luxury tents nestled into the hillside. Walking to the spa, you breathe in the aroma of local flowers, and a window on the floor of the treatment room allows guests to look into the serene stream while having a massage. An organic garden supplies fruits, vegetables, and herbs for the restaurant, while a botanical garden allows guests to discover the area's indigenous flowers. It's an idyllic mix of culture, adventure, and relaxation. —CARLETON GREMAUD CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Guest rooms are integrated into the landscape. • The resort's indoor/outdoor-living philosophy brings guests closer to nature. • Private tents offer a secluded experience. • The garden provides herbs and produce for the hotel's Laotian cuisine. • Artifacts from French Indochina accent the rooms. Bill Bensley's sense of adventure took him to Southeast Asia more than 30 years ago after he followed his Harvard classmate to Singapore. Since then, he has designed 200-plus properties in more than 30 countries. Bensley does extensive research on each destination by immersing himself in the history, stories, and people of the local culture, and his reach extends beyond the interiors and landscapes to the menu design, staff uniforms, hotel signage, and even music. 22 | J A N U A R Y/ F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 9 MEET THE DESIGNER

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