Did you know that Danes established the first-ever luxury hotel in Thailand? The Embassy of Denmark in Bangkok elaborates:
In the late 19th century, international trade was on the rise in Siam and Bangkok was seeing an increasing number of foreign visitors.
Hans Niels Andersen, a Danish businessman in Siam, identified a need for a respectable hotel with good accommodation and a western look, to cater to the new international travelers and businessmen.
In 1881, Andersen took over some premises on the Chaya Phraya River, where others had previously attempted to establish hotel business.
Encouraged by Prince Prisdang Jumsai, Andersen formed a partnership with two other Danes, Peter Andersen, and Frederick Kinch, to build the first luxury hotel in Thailand – The Oriental Hotel.
The hotel opened in May 1887 with 40 rooms and had features, which at the time had never been seen in Siam. Not only was the Oriental the first hotel with electric lights, supplied from the Siam Electric Light Company, also under Danish management, but it also had a second floor, which was unique at a time of single-story bungalows. Furthermore, the hotel had carpeted hallways, imported chandeliers, Parisian wallpaper, smoking rooms, ladies’ rooms, a billiard room, and a large bar.
The Oriental Hotel became an instant success and the preferred venue for many important events. In December 1890, His Majesty King Chulalongkorn paid a private visit to The Oriental and The King was so impressed that he declared the standard to be of royal service.
In 1893, Andersen sold his hotel business and returned to Denmark where he founded the East Asiatic Company. Today, the original buildings of the Oriental Hotel (and the East Asiatic Company’s Bangkok headquarters) still sit on the Bangkok riverside – as the Mandarin Oriental Hotel – and continues to cater to tourists and business travelers from all over the world, more than 130 years after its inauguration.