Iron Lady : Lek Naphaporn Bodiratnangkura, Nai Lert Park

It’s on a front page of leading newspapers when Swissotel Nai Lert Park, the top luxury hotel in the heart of Bangkok announces their business shift to Bangkok Dusit Medical service. Khun Lek has got attention from media as she’s a right hier of this giant business chain. Today, Siamscope would like to introduce her to our audiences.

1) Can you tell us a little bit about your background; your life, your family and your current career?

I left Thailand at the age of 12 to attend an all-girls’ British boarding school. Being a small Asian girl who didn’t speak a word of English made me an easy target for bullying. It was a sharp learning curve, which looking back actually toughened me up and made me who I am today.
Leaving home at a very young age has its advantages and disadvantages. It is important, especially for a child, to feel loved and being fully supported by your parents even from the other side of the world. This love from my family has encouraged me to be an independent, confident, and a positive person who is ready to face anything that comes my way. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to continue the legacy of Nai Lert Park, a passion that I’m very proud of. I feel I’m only just getting started, there’s so much more I want to accomplish.

2) I’ve heard that Swissotel Nai Lert Park declared closing down of the hotel since January 2017, so what is the situation now?

When one story ends, new stories begin. Part of the hotel building was sold, but a large portion of the land still belong to the Nai Lert family which include Nai Lert Park Heritage Home, Lady L Garden Bistro, Ma Maison, White Bus Catering, and Bhakdi Building. Many employees from the hotel have joined our current entities mentioned above.

3) As a heiress of Park Nai Lert with the education in the field of Hotel Management from England and the family expectation to run the family hotel, what do you think of this situation and what is your strategy in handling such situation?

I have siblings therefore I am not the only heiress. Nobody has ever demanded that I take on the role as a Managing Director of the company. As said earlier, to continue the legacy of Nai Lert Park which was established 140 years ago, is my passion. I love doing what I do today, time flies by when I’m at Nai Lert Park. The employees have become a big Nai Lert Park family where we work and play together, caring and aiming towards the same goals.

4) What was your position in the hotel back then? And what have you learnt from it?

I started off being a management trainee at Hilton International at Nai Lert Park but they didn’t let me clean toilets so my family decided to send me to learn properly at another hotel in a different country. They sent me to Four Seasons Hotel in Singapore for 6 months, where I had to learn everything from the bottom to top management. The experience completely changed my outlook on the hotel business and being a hotelier. It taught me that owning hotels is not as glamorous as it seems, and it definitely takes a lot of your time and dedication as the business runs 24 hours 365 days nonstop. After my training I returned to Bangkok and my first official title at Nai Lert Park was Paris Hilton!!! Twenty years on, I am currently the Managing Director of Nai Lert Park Hotel Co.,Ltd and Nai Lert Park Heritage Home.

5) I’ve heard that you are also hotel’s Brand Ambassador, what do you get from that position?

I’m fortunate to be a part of Nai Lert family and doing what I do is a part of my life, it’s in my blood. I would not say the ‘brand ambassador’ best describes me.

6) How have you applied your education to your job at the hotel?

Even though I studied International Hospitality and Tourism Management at University of Surrey, I feel that I benefited and learnt about the industry more when I went through on the job training. Having gone through every department in the hotel, I face real life issues and problems which classrooms do not teach you. Hotel industry comprises mainly of people; be it the employees and the customers. When there are many people involve, many ideas, or suggestions, or emotions arise. As a leader, you need to work as a team, blend everyone’s ideas together then decide what is the best and fair solution for your business.

7) What are your tips to be such a smart, confident and beautiful person?

I’m lucky to have wonderful parents who give me the freedom to live and learn. Also it is important to find balance in work and personal life, a great formula for happiness.  Surround yourself with good positive energy is always key.

Lastly, as a successful person in hotel and hospitality industry, do you have useful suggestion for the start up ?

In any business I believe that one should learn something new everyday. Keep your eyes and mind open and be a good listener. My grand mother, The late Thanpuying Lursakdi Sompatisiri used to tell me ” A smart person must know how to act stupid ”  I think she is,mply mean to keep your ego in check.


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