Some writers are just destined for greatness. To be recognized as one must be awesome. I am waiting for the day I receive an accolade, perhaps like “The best writer in the East.” If the council of whatever skip the pertinent details, like East is the street of the village I live in and I’m the only journalist in the 15-household area, I’m good with that. I won’t mind the flowers, the trophy, a monument, a building, or perhaps a room named after me in this “home” I discovered in one of my favourite destinations- the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok.
Knowing that Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok’s historical and traditional association with several world-renowned authors has inspired the hotel to name its suites after the authors who have resided with them made me hopeful. I can dream, can’t I? Nothing is impossible (who coined this motivational phrase, by the way?).
“The Authors’ Wing, built in 1876, is comprised of four famous suites: Joseph Conrad, Somerset Maugham, Noel Coward and James Michener. These are the most in demand suites. The other name suites in the River Wing are Barbara Cartland, Gore Vidal, Graham Greene, Wilbur Smith, John le Carré, Jim Thompson, Norman Mailer, Captain Anderson, Kukrit Pramoj, and the iconic S.E.A Write Suite aptly named after the Southeast Asian Writers’ Award Ceremony held annually at the hotel to celebrate the literary aspirations of writers in the ASEAN nations,” said Susie Hansirisawasdi, Mandarin Oriental Bangkok’s Director of Public Relations, and further shares, “Each suite is designed according to the authors’ personality within the written page or in real life. For example the Barbara Cartland Suite reflects the femininity of the romance novelist, while the Wilbur Smith Suite is dominated by the African prairies with animal prints decorating the walls.”
In 1998, Norman Mailer, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award recipient, was the guest speaker in the 20th anniversary of the Southeast Asian Writers’ Award, an annual literary festival. In his honour, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok decided to name a new suite after him.
While the hotel suites are named after famous personalities, there are others inspired by the nautical theme, maybe because the hotel is located along the famous waterway of Bangkok. The Otago Suite was named after Joseph Conrad’s ship that sought shelter on the river by the hotel a century ago.
The grandest of the suites is not named after anyone but a title- the Royal Oriental Suite. Like the name implies, the design and appointments of the “colonial summer mansion” is fit for royalty, in real and reel life – the Princes of Wales, Queen of Sweden, the Sultan of Brunei, Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson, are just some of the renowned personalities who have stayed in this suite presenting a magnificent panorama of the Chao Phraya River.
For more information about Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, visit their website: www.mandarinoriental.com/bangkok/