If only all hotels were like Mark Weingard's...
The man who cheated death three times has created one of Thailand’s most exclusive hotels, with an honourable benevolent initiative.Neil Churchill February 23, 2015
Two weeks ago we brought you the incredible story of Mark Weingard, a man who has cheated death three times and gone on to run a charitable foundation and one of Thailand’s most luxurious and exclusive hotels. Here’s the article if you haven’t yet read it.
Well now we’re bringing you a glimpse inside the hotel – Iniala Beach House – and with it a greater appreciation for Weingard’s efforts at turning what was formerly his home, into a design wonder with a fantastic benevolent initiative.
As a reminder, in 2004 Weingard was spending Christmas at his beachside home in Phuket with 17 friends and their children, when the tsunami hit. Fortunately the entire party survived, taking refuge on the roof, but eleven people died that day on Natai Beach, where Weingard called home.
In the aftermath, the former financial trader made a decision to turn his damaged property into a unique, luxury hotel with a personal altruistic touch.
So let’s imagine that you were put in a position to design a luxury resort, where the amount you spent wasn’t a factor.
You’d probably opt for a private, unspoilt plot of beach on an island somewhere like Phuket in Thailand. You’d probably choose a location that feels remote but is also easily accessible from an airport. Weingard’s former home ticked both those boxes.
You’d probably round up a crowd of renown interior designers and let them each design one of the suites, so no two rooms were the same, each being more imaginative than the last.
You’d also probably hire a three-Michelin starred chef to oversee the restaurant, an award-winning sommelier and allow guests to dictate what they will be served, rather than choose from a menu. Again, this is what Weingard has done with Iniala Beach House.
The cherry on top of this phenomenal resort is of course its charitable work. 10 per cent of room revenue – not profit – and five per cent of money taken from spas and dining go directly to the Inspirasia Foundation – formerly the Annika Linden Foundation, named after Weingard’s finance who died in the Bali nightclub bombings in 2002.
The luxurious boutique resort boasts ten exclusive suites spread over three villas all sharing impressive uninterrupted golden-sand views and individual spas – but that’s where the similarities end.
Centred on the concept of a traditional beach house, the acclaimed designer Graham Lamb has created several contemporary villas with each living space and bedroom that are completely different from the rest.
It is a masterpiece of design fusing traditional Thai architecture with organic, contemporary forms created by designers from Spain, Britain and South America. And with 15 per cent of your bill going to charity, you can enjoy this incredible beach house guilt free.