Harold Stephens


September 2016







At the Oriental Hotel Bangkok

Try to imagine a simple Thai Chinese girl who—from humble background, still in her teens, painfully shy and inexperienced when she began—would in three decades play hostess to the world’s rich and famous, noted writers, politicians, heads-of-state, prince and princess, kings and queens, sultans and maharajas—and anybody who was anyone.

Sooner or later they all came to the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok and Pornsri was there to meet and befriend them, and often become their confidants.

For 29 years Pornsri Luphaiboon was PR Director of the Oriental Hotel—mostly before it became Mandarin-Oriental—and this is her story in photographs, and re-told by Southeast Asia’s best known ex-pat writer, Harold Stephens.

As a writer for the Bangkok Post, Stephens met many stars and celebrities, and he adds his comments to the book.

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Book Rating

Rated 3.60 out of 5
  1. Rated 4 out of 5

    Through the management of both The Mandarin in Hong Kong and The Oriental, Bangkok, the Group was in an unusual position of having two “flagship” hotels whose names represented the best in hospitality.

  2. Rated 2 out of 5

    A haven of calm on the banks of the river, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is a truly remarkable five-star hotel.

  3. Rated 2 out of 5

    Fusing colonial-inspired design with chic contemporary touches, the decor reflects both the hotel s unique heritage and local Thai culture.

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    David Loomis

    I have read “At The Oriental Hotel Bangkok”.

    It was interesting book widening my view about the Oriental. The base for my historical knowledge was “The Oriental Bangkok” by Andreas Augustin & Andrew Williamson. But I need to say the “Pornsris’ memories” are extending this knowledge. They show very clear why the Oriental fame arose. The anecdotes have been told in discreet, elegant and sometimes humorous way. Nothing of the cheap gossip.

    In the book the “Kurt Wachveitel era” has been highlighted. I like it. It is also my opinion that Kurt left significant foot print in the Oriental. My husband and Kurt have had the common friend in Switzerland. Kurt was the person who recommended me to Ankana as I started searches for my book.

    However there is a slight bitter drop. It seems that era of the remarkably hotel managers is over. Currently managers come and go for few years. It is probably too short to create their foot print. And what a crying shame about the guest book! I hope it will be found soon.

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    Lynz Hamm

    A great read.

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