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1 Dec, 2016

Kurt Wachtveitl, General Manager, Mandarin Oriental Bangkok

ASEAN Travel & Tourism Hall of Fame – Initiated by Travel Impact Newswire Executive Editor Imtiaz Muqbil to recognise the many veterans who helped grow and shape ASEAN tourism over the last 50 years.


Date and Place of Birth: 31 July 1937, Munich

Marital status: Married with three children: Inka, Kim, and Carla, two granddaughters and one grandson.


A graduate of the Lausanne Hotel School in Switzerland, he studied Philosophy at the University of Madrid, as well as History of Art and Literature at the Dante Alighieri School in Rome.


Prior to coming to Thailand in 1965, was with the Hotel Beau Rivage in Lausanne, the Trois Couronnes in Vevey, the Suvretta in St. Moritz and the Hilton Hotel in London. His first post in Thailand was as General Manager of the Nipa Lodge in Pattaya.

In October 1967, at the age of 30, he was appointed General Manager of Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. Retired in June 2009, after a record 42 years with the hotel, and just before his auspicious 12th cycle 72nd birthday.

Transformed The Oriental, later known as the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok from a 100-room Asian legend into an international reference hotel proudly steeped in history.

1979 spearheaded the establishment of the elite Southeast Asian Writers Award (S.E.A. Write Award), in collaboration with His Royal Highness Prince Prem Purachatra, the Italthai Group of Companies, and Thai Airways International Public Co. Ltd.

Oct 1990, launched The Oriental Hotel Apprenticeship Programme (OHAP) to train a new generation of young Thais for careers in the hotel sector.

July 2002, launched “The Oriental Professional Thai Chef Programme” (OPTC), a three-month course accredited by the Thai Ministry of Education to create professional “Oriental Thai Cooks and Future Cooks” to take on Thai chef positions overseas, and ultimately become ambassadors of Thai cuisine to the world.

Was a prominent and regular member of the Skal Club of Bangkok.


Thailand’s Royal Decoration of Fourth Class (Companion) of the Most-Exalted Order of the White Elephant

Order of Merit, presented to him by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1987.

Internationale titled “Personnalite de I’annee 1991” (Personality of the Year 1991) in the hotel industry.

October 2006, Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) Lifetime Achievement Award

In 2008, “Royal Cypher Medal” Decoration by the late monarch, His Majesty King Bhumibol for his support of The Royal Projects.

HOTELS Magazine, USA named him “2008 Independent Hotelier of the World”.

Source: Mandarin Oriental Bangkok and Travel Impact Newswire archives.