It’s not just train buffs who love train cars. From luxury weekends in Victoria’s Otway Ranges to striking eco-lodging in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, train carriages converted into accommodations capture the imagination of adventure travelers looking for unique lodging experiences , romance and pleasure.
Now bold Bangkok hotel designer Bill Bensley is taking the train to new heights with his design for the InterContinental Khao Yai National Park in Thailand.
World Heritage-listed Khao Yai National Park, about 200 kilometers northeast of Bangkok, is Thailand’s oldest national park and a magnet for urbanites looking for respite. They come here for the greenery, waterfalls, hiking trails, and bird watching, but also for the galleries, wineries, golf courses, and even the chateau hotel (Mövenpick Resort Khao Yai), all with mountain views.
The InterContinental Khao Yai Resort, which opened in August, is located on the edge of the park, set in 19 hectares of verdant greenery with five lakes.
Of its 61 rooms, 16 are suites converted from traditional railway carriages, and 45 rooms in the main building and other buildings around the hotel are themed.
Passenger registration is in a lovely space adorned with railway memorabilia and a ticket counter where the stationmaster’s bell rings to welcome you.
It’s not just whimsy for its own sake, though. Bensley’s retro aesthetic is inspired by the region’s railroad history during the reign of King Rama V.
Guests can explore the surrounding nature while dining in a local connection, with Somying’s Kitchen using ingredients from the resort’s organic farm and neighbors.
Drinks are available throughout the day at the poolside Terminus Bar, while formal afternoon teas are served at the Tea Carriage in an antique carriage. The French Bistro is about to open.
Guests can take part in stretching, hatha yoga and Pilates group classes, and there is a fitness center with lake views and signposting. No need to look for the trains you need – they are for cyclists and walkers only.