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InterContinental® Profile: Bill Bensley Resort Designer

Harvard-educated, Bangkok-based architect Bill Bensley describes his unique and irreverent design philosophy as Lebih gila, lebih biak—Indonesian for “the more odd, the better.” Since founding his eponymous design firm in 1989, Bensley has applied his singular vision to over 180 properties in 30 countries and won countless accolades. 

TIME magazine called him “the king of exotic luxury resorts” and named him one of its top five hospitality designers worldwide. Fast Company declared Bensley one of the 100 most creative people in the world, and he was named to the exclusive Architectural Digest 100 list of the world’s top architects and designers.

Bill Bensley’s involvement with the InterContinental® Danang Sun Peninsula Resort began back in 2005, when the property’s owner, Sun Group chairman Le Viet Lam approached him with an offer to design the most ambitious resort Vietnam had ever seen.

The Bensley Design Studios team was too busy at the time, but Mr. Lam was persistent. The Vietnamese developer returned the next year and invited Bensley to the Son Tra Peninsula to visit his unspoiled waterfront property on the edge of primeval forest. This time, Bensley couldn’t say no. He began a years-long process of immersion in all the design inspirations Vietnam had to offer, from temples, palaces and imperial tombs to the ancient streets of Hoi An, traditional craft villages and spectacular natural settings. The result is a one-of-a-kind, whimsical realm spread across four levels—Heaven, Sky, Earth and Sea—as imagined by the most audaciously creative resort designer in the world.

For Bensley, the decision to set out on this long journey came in an instant, during his first visit to the site. “I have Mr. Lam to thank for that singular ‘wow’ moment I felt to come upon this spectacular bay in its pristine state,” he writes. “I jumped naked from those smooth giant boulders into the sea, then swam back ashore and said, ‘I’ll do it.’ Some of the best decisions in my life really are that simple.” 

Our unique restrooms are listed as one of the 13 coolest travel gimmicks by CNN, thanks to Bensley's creative and stunning designs. Click here to view article.