FX Excursions

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The Peninsula Bangkok Resort Review

by Richard Newton

May 8, 2024

© The Peninsula Bangkok

eFlyer Reviews

Bangkok is one of the world’s most exciting cities, and we — me and my wife — have front-row seats. From the wood-paneled living room of our 16th-floor deluxe suite in The Peninsula, we look out on a panoramic sweep of the Chao Phraya River, one of the city’s most important routes. Day and night the river jostles with ferries, cruise boats, barges, speedboats and distinctive long-tail boats. We view it all in air-conditioned comfort.

My first-ever travel writing assignment, in 1992, was to the original The Peninsula in Hong Kong, which, for almost a century, has ranked as one of the best hotels in the world. This outpost in Thailand opened in 1998, occupying a purpose-built, 37-floor tower. Clever design ensures all 370 guestrooms have river views.

It is gratifying to discover the trademark The Peninsula features that wowed me all those years ago in Hong Kong are present here. The drapes are opened and closed from a bedside console. There’s a television built into the marble wall at the end of the bath. Shoes can be placed in a compartment connected to the corridor outside; press a button and a valet will discretely take them away, clean them and bring them back.

The Peninsula Bangkok

© The Peninsula Bangkok

Five-star hotels can often feel detached from their surroundings, but not so here. The early morning Tak Bart alms giving ceremony links the hotel to the local culture in a simple but affecting way. At first light, with a handful of other guests, we are escorted by the concierge to a small shrine in the garden. A group of orange-robed monks from a nearby Buddhist temple arrive to receive gifts of food from us. For all the city’s modern trappings, Bangkok remains true to its ancient Buddhist traditions.

Breakfast is served at River Café and Terrace. The choice at the buffet is overwhelming, and we make several trips from our riverside table to replenish our plates with fresh fruit, bread and mounds of bacon. Even this early in the day, the flow of boats on the river is unrelenting. Soon we will be on it ourselves, taking the hotel’s complimentary shuttle boat across to the closest ferry stop, from where we’ll head upstream for a morning of markets and temples.

At this time of year (mid-March), Bangkok is ferociously hot. By midday the temperature is more than 100 degrees, and so it is with relief — after a light lunch — that we take refuge in the coolly refined Peninsula Spa. We booked the 90-minute Essential Mind treatment. After a thorough massage, we are coaxed into complete relaxation by the sounds and vibrations of seven singing bowls. It’s the most effective spa treatment we’ve ever experienced. If we were to head back into the heat and tumult of the streets, all the good work would be instantly undone. So instead, we retreat to our suite for a lazy afternoon of river-watching.

The Peninsula Bangkok

© The Peninsula Bangkok

We continue that pastime after dark during a wonderful candlelit dinner on the terrace of the hotel’s signature Thai restaurant, Thiptara. While we savor a menu of contemporary Thai cuisine, gaudily illuminated cruise boats sail by. In many of the world’s top hotels, you have to strike a balance between enjoying everything the hotel has to offer and going out to discover the city beyond. At The Peninsula, we can connect with Bangkok without leaving the hotel.

The Peninsula Bangkok Resort

333 Charoen Nakhon Road, Khlong Ton Sai
Khlong San, Bangkok, 10600, Thailand
tel 66 2 020 2888

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