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The History of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Bangkok

Written by Aksel Ritenis

The History of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Bangkok

The Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is a five-star hotel in Bangkok owned in part and managed by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. Located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, the original structure was the first hotel built in Thailand when it opened as The Oriental in 1879. Today, the hotel is one of two flagship properties of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and is known for service, which consistently places it among the world’s best hotels.

History

When Siam opened to foreign trade after the signing of the Bowring Treaty the sailors that populated the ships which conveyed this trade though Bangkok required accommodation on shore. To meet this demand Captain Dyers, an American and his partner J.E. Barnes opened a hotel called the Oriental Hotel. In 1881 29 year old Hans Niels Andersen, a Danish businessman bought the premises . Andersen identified a need for a respectable hotel with good accommodation, a bar and a western menu to meet the needs of travellers and businessmen visiting to Siam.

Encouraged by Prince Prisdang Jumsai, Hans Niels Andersen formed a partnership with Peter Andersen and Frederick Kinch to build a luxury hotel. Designed by Cardu & Rossi, a team of local Italian architects, the Oriental was the first luxury hotel in Siam. The hotel opened on 19 May 1887 with 40 rooms and features which at the time had never been seen in Siam outside of a royal palace: a second floor (during a time of single storey bungalows), carpeted hallways, smoking and ladies rooms, a billiards room and a bar capable of seating 50 The first major event that the hotel hosted was a grand banquet on 24 May 1888 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria..

A succession of owners followed until Marie Maire took over the ownership in 1910. She immediately went to work revamping the hotel. She sold it in 1932. During the Second World War the hotel was leased to the Japanese Army who used it as an officers club .

The hotel reopened for business on 12 June 1947. Krull turned out to be a natural hotelier and during her reign restored the hotel to it position as the premier hotel in Thailand. Thompson soon left the partnership over a plan to build a new wing, though he stayed on in residence at the hotel for some time. To compete with popular clubs and a new local bar called Chez Eve, Krull established the Bamboo Bar, which soon became one of the leading bars in Bangkok.

About the author

Aksel Ritenis

Axel is the Editor and Publisher of Connoisseur Magazine "for the Finer Things in Life" and has been the custodian of the magazine for over 10 years and leader of a team of freelance Journalists and Community Members who continue to make it all happen!-Join the Team at Connoisseur Magazine!

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