The Oriental – Bangkok, Thailand (English)

The Oriental – Bangkok, Thailand (English)

Andreas Augustin




Over 480 (some never before published) photographs and illustrations

Leather-bound edition



Hardcover with dust jacket


978-3-900692-52-0, 978-3-900692-5


245 x 225 mm, 940 g

Price: € 38.00

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The Amazing Tale of Bangkok's Legendary Hotel

The 2021 edition is in preparation — all orders placed now will receive the new edition.

About "The Oriental"

When Thailand was still Siam – in the mid of the 19th century – a rest house for foreign seafarers was established on the banks of the Menam river. It was to become one of the greatest hotels in the world: The Oriental

The Oriental — so many stories, so many tales. What’s the secret behind this composition? This book tells it all. From famous guests to PR strategies and management tactics. There is no other book in the world of hospitality like this one. Packed with over 480 photographs it introduces the most legendary names in the world of politics, arts and sports. Dating back to the mid of the 19th century you find the stories of Jim Thompson, the silk king, who jointly owned it with French photographer Germaine Krull and a Thai . We trace the list of owners back to the year 1863.

The late Peter Ustinov loved it, Graham Greene has a suite named in his honour and Michael Jackson hid from the press there. Ever since, Hollywood royalty graces the hotel, the Queen of England enjoyed it and her Majesty, the Queen of Thailand, is a beloved faithful regular visitor.

From Joseph Conrad, the sea captain and writer, who drank in the bar, to Nijinsky, who danced in the ballroom. Somerset Maugham suffered from malaria in his suite, playwright and actor Noël Coward treasured the memories of his favourite cocktail venue. Meet over 150 of the most important international authors in their lounge and enjoy a glimpse of the fascinating Oriental Royal Collection. Over 500 VIPs are listed on 160 history packed pages.

‘This is a truly gripping, thoroughly researched and well written story of one of the greatest hotels in the world.’
Gavin Young

‘Having known The Oriental for 40 years and more, I find here is a writer who has made the history come alive and tells the story as no other author can.’

Harold Stephens


EDITION RACONTEUR — 1st limited edition — NEW

Author's Notepad

I have been ‘Wai-ed’ into The Oriental. Not many things are more typical of Thailand than that charming and universal greeting, the ‘wai’. Both hands raised, palms joined, to a position lightly touching the body somewhere between the chest and forehead.

Slowly, the doors swing shut behind me. Bangkok’s heat turned into pleasant coolness. A string quartet is playing. I recognise the piece. It is called ‘Winter’, from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons’. It’s good to know winter in a safe distance. Here, in Bangkok, the outside temperature is just above 30°C.

Have you noticed the tame crane (a Sarus Crane Antigone, by the way) standing to the right on our cover picture? Today, The Oriental has a pair of them standing in the Authors’ Wing’s garden. I like to visit them (sometimes they have feathered friends coming by for afternoon-water). They represent everlasting harmony, as the Sarus pairs for life, the death of one partner leads to the other pining to death.

The Oriental in Bangkok is situated at the Chao Phraya River, the mother of all waters. The Oriental itself is the mother of all hotels, certainly of Asia. Dating back to humble beginnings in 1860 as a guest house and 1863 for the first time under the name Oriental Hotel, it is among the oldest surviving hotels of Southeast Asia.

Please enjoy our account about its history. Since the mid 1980s we are researching it, adding to it year after year, with stunning results. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I have enjoyed putting it together for you.

Andreas Augustin

The Making of ...

In the early 1860s, a seafarers' home at the river Meinam in Siam, the 'Kingdom of the White Elephant', opened its doors. Over 150 years later it has become the most famous hotel of modern Thailand and one of The Most Famous Hotels in the World®.

With over 460 (some never before published) photographs and illustrations, this new book by Andreas Augustin is the new 'Grande Dame' of the Edition Raconteur, the grand format in the library of hospitality.

'The Oriental' — a book full of exciting tales and entertaining stories, is available now!

Andreas Augustin presents
The Oriental, Bangkok
in the library
the Most Famous Hotels in the World — Edition Raconteur

Thanks to Amanda Hyndman, who encouraged this new edition.

Among all the people who were involved in this and the original editions of this book were: Kurt Wachtveitl, Mark S Bradford, Melvin J J Robson, Norbert A Kostner, Dr Parichart J Suksongkroh, Jonas A Schuermann, Noppawan Phahulrat, Rabieb Boonkunch, Virochana Mochachandra, Supatana Atorn-Phtai, Jørgen Kamstrup, Susanne Worsfold, Phenkhae Chattanont, Anne Arunie, Yasmin Nissen, Herta Tschurlovits, Julie Zhou, Chaturong Siewsutha and Mimi Berlingieri who shared her favourite anecdotes with us.

We thank the late Chancham Bunnag for her valuable research and information. We are also especially grateful to Pornsri Luphaiboon, to hotel manager Marcus Bauder and to Ankana Kalantananda who helped so much with all her golden memories.

We are very grateful to the late HSH Professor Prince Subhadradis Diskul for his kind advice concerning the history of the Kingdom, we keep fond memories of the late Gavin Young, who told us his Oriental stories. So did the author Harold Stephens.

Last but not least many thanks to the public relations department and to Mayuree Laolugsanalerd, guest relations director, and all the others who have contributed so generously to this book and who are not mentioned by name.

Photographs and copyright for all pictures not specially marked: By Michelle Chaplow, Aniwat Aeulek and the hotel’s archives;
20th Century Fox, Fotografische Sammlung Museum Folkwang, Andreas Augustin Collection, famoushotels archives, Collection Melinda Maire Sandberg, The Malcolm McDonald Collection, Tate Collection, The New York Times, Library of Congress Washington, Nationalbibliothek Wien.

Researching editors: Andrew Williamson, Carola Augustin

All rights in this publication are reserved. This book and no part of it may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronically, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission in writing of the copyright owner.

© 2016, Andreas Augustin ([email protected])

The Most Famous Hotels in the World®

Library title: Augustin, Andreas. The Oriental Bangkok, The Amazing Tale of Bangkok’s Legendary Hotel. A Chronology. Vienna. 2016. Edition Raconteur. The Most Famous Hotels in the World®.

ISBN: 978-3-900692-52-0

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Publisher's recommendations

Dear wonderful Readers; 

Days like this lead to endless hours at home, time for books, time to read and to prepare our next journeys. 

I recommend the new edition of HOTEL METROPOLE HANOI.

The first copies of THE HALF MOON TREASURY are being released – exclusively to our readers (and before its official launching date). 

We have released a reprint of our successful book THE WESTIN EXCLESIOR ROME, the most famous hotel on Via Veneto. 

The new edition of THE STRAND (Yangon,Myanmar) receives wonderful readers' feedback — thank you for your notes and mails. 

There is a hotel in Seefeld, Tyrol, Austria, which stands for all the fables and legends this little olympic village has to tell. It is called ASTORIA, and run by legendary hotelier Elisabeth Gürtler. Our new book SEEFELDER MINIATUREN - ASTORIA - A STORY - A LEGEND is available now – in this store. It is in German, only (for the time being).

Upon request, we dispatch all our books personally autographed (as you know).

Have a save journey!

Andreas Augustin

aa at famoushotels dot org

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