Kempinski renames famous Bangkok bar

SINGAPORE, 23 January 2023: Luxury hotel chain Kempinski has renamed its bar carrying the name of Hindu deity Hanuman in its Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok after Hindus protested, calling it “highly inappropriate”.

Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok general manager Richard Schestak apologised in an email dated 20 January 2023 addressed to Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest.

He wrote: “…on behalf of the Siam Kempinski Hotel and Kempinski Group, I would like to express my most sincere apologies for any offence caused… it was never our intention to cause any upset to anyone in the Hindu community… We have changed the bar’s name and removed any reference to Hanuman to avoid any confusion or potential upset…please accept our deepest regrets…”.

Its “Hanuman Bar” is now called “1897 Lounge”. A martini concoction of Hanuman Bar called “Hanumantini”, which included vodka has also been renamed “1897TINI”.

Zed, the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, located in Nevada (USA), suggested that Kempinski and other hotel chains should send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity to understand the feelings of customers and communities better.

Zed said that Lord Hanuman was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be “worshipped in temples or home shrines, not for selling liquor and beef. Inappropriate usage of sacred Hindu deities, concepts, symbols, or icons for mercantile greed or other agendas was not okay, as it hurt the devotees.”

According to Zed, Kempinski, which claimed to adopt “people-centred principles”, should have shown more maturity when naming a bar.

“Luxury hotels should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege, and ridiculing entire communities. It was deeply trivialising of the immensely venerated Lord Hanuman.”

Hinduism is considered the oldest and third largest religion worldwide, with about 1.2 billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought, and it should not be taken frivolously. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled,  Zed noted.

The menu of “Hanuman Bar” at Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok includes wagyu beef tartare, grilled beef, Angus beef burger, beef ragout, beef khao pad; besides various kinds of vodka, gin, tequila, whisky, rum, liqueurs, beer, brandy, etc.

Headquartered in Geneva and Munich, Kempinski has a portfolio of around 81 hotels worldwide and claims to be “Europe’s oldest luxury hotel company.” Bernold Schroeder is the chief executive officer.

For more information on Rajan Zed visit his website