End of an era for Bangkok's Oriental hotel
Kurt Wachtveitl Retires | herald tribune
Kurt Wachtveitl, the general manager at Bangkok's famed Oriental hotel for more than four decades, announced his retirement at a dinner he was hosting for the wine critic Robert Parker. The 72-year-old Wachtveitl, credited with transforming the riverside hotel that was built in 1876 from a charming but aging Bangkok landmark into one of Asia's leading hotels, said he would step down in May. "I decided tonight to retire," he told diners at the hotel's Le Normandie restaurant Tuesday evening. "I better take care of my grandchildren." Wachtveitl joined the hotel in 1967 at the height of the Vietnam War when the Thai capital was a preferred destination for American soldiers seeking R&R. Formerly The Oriental Bangkok, the hotel was rebranded in 2008 and changed its name to The Mandarin Oriental.