This is my favourite hotel in all the world. I just love sitting on the verandah overlooking the mighty Chao Phraya river as it hurries past just a few feet away. This is where I am sitting this morning. It's a cloudy day and, for Thailand, very cool. I left London last night by EVA Air and, apart from a few bumps over the Bay of Bengal, had an extremely comfortable flight. Met at Bangkok airport by my oldest friend, Maurice Bowra we were soon weaving our way through the Bangkok traffic and on to the expressways. Although I lived in Bangkok for 7 years in the '60's I couldn't possibly find my way through the city nowadays. Jet-lag caught up with me last night and I spent some of it watching 'Gone With The Wind in high definition on my iPad.
But now as we watch the long-tailed boats zoom past us and marvel at the strength of the tiny little tugs pulling their hundred yard long fully stacked heavy loads along the river it's about time to order lunch. I think I'll have a platter of Oriental satay. Here it comes, together with a selection of assorted breads.
One of the several Oriental Hotel boats is just going past to ferry passengers across the river to one of the Oriental restaurants on the Thonburi side of this wide river.
After a delicious lunch completed with a bountiful selection of tropical fruits we made our way to the oldest part of the hotel and entered The Authors Lounge. Many of the world's famous authors in the past have stayed here. Among them were Somerset Maugham, George Bernard Shaw, Rudyard Kipling, Eric Blair (or George Orwell as I suppose he's more commonly known), and Noel Coward. Even Jeffrey Archer has his photograph on the wall (a mistake, no doubt).
Many years ago I staged a week long exhibition of about 150 of my miniatures here in this most wonderful setting.
As Prince Suphat (the grandson of King Chulalongkorn) opened the exhibition on behalf of the King's daughter Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn it became a Royal event and the road was closed between Chitralada Palace and the Oriental Hotel for a while to allow the entourage to make an unrestricted drive here. What a fantastic time I had then. But this view of the Authors Lounge remains exactly the same as it ever did. I love this place.