More from Susan in Bangkok…
I can look out our window, from the Garden Wing of The Oriental Bangkok, and see the original 125-year-old building now known as The Authors Residence. Rooms that once housed Joseph Conrad, Somerset Maugham, James Michener, and Noel Coward are a stone’s throw away. They too have stayed here, written words here, dined here.
Curious, I ask for a sneak peak. Normally the rooms are booked 24/7/365 but the Noel Coward Room is vacant for a few hours, so I get the grand tour. Entering through the appropriately named Author’s Lounge (famous for their afternoon high tea), we proceed up the wide, winding staircase to the floor housing all four of these rooms. Plush, richly patterned carpet and beautiful Thai art lend an air of times past to the long hallways. Entering the Coward Suite is like stepping back into time. Decorated in traditional Thai style with colors and appointments geared to the particular author’s tastes, there is an eating nook, desk area, sitting room, large bedroom, and a bathroom larger than many American bedrooms. Antique armoires, tables, and statuary complement any modern amenities added, such as the overstuffed couch and writing desk. The bedroom, in a masculine blue-patterned wallpaper, contains two Oriental canopied beds, a silk chaise longue, and side table stacked with an assortment of the author’s written works.
The view of the lush garden veranda and the Chao Phraya is as it has been since the beginning. I am standing where Noel Coward once stood, where he wrote, where he drank. I am surrounded by his presence, real and imagined, as framed photographs of him and letters by him surround you at every turn. Many have, no doubt, stayed in this room, hoping for his inspiration.
Upon leaving the Authors Residence, I make my way down to the Author’s Lounge to settle into the white wicker settee with Jennifer and enjoy a proper British tea. The tiered server holds delicate sandwiches, scones, cakes of all kinds. We toast our good fortune to be in the presence of the ghosts of such literary giants.
Next: Supine Shopping
About Susan Brady:
Susan Brady has filled various roles throughout her nine years with Travelers’ Tales, having been with the company since its inception. She is currently director of production, responsible for book and catalog production, scheduling, inventory, print buying, and general office management. When not slaving over books, she lives the life of a typical soccer mom in the suburbs with her husband, three children, two cats, and iguana. Before coming to Travelers’ Tales, she helped birth babies rather than books as the director of The Birth Place Resource Center.