Luxury Asian hotel group Peninsula Hotels has six hotels across Asia, and properties in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Paris. New hotels are also planned for London, Istanbul and Yangon.
The Peninsula Bangkok opened in 1998 and occupies a skyscraper on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. It’s a SHA Extra Plus hotel, meaning it can be used as accommodation under the government’s Test and Go programme, with its own clinic offering PCR and antigen tests. The hotel’s Test and Go package includes accommodation, THB2,000 (£46) resort credit, breakfast, a PCR test and a transfer from the airport.
Where is it?
It’s situated on a stretch of the west side of the Chao Phraya River populated by luxury hotels. It neighbours the Iconsiam development, which includes one of Asia’s largest shopping malls along with the 52-storey Mandarin Oriental Residences.
The hotel has its own pier with complimentary riverboats (fashioned from restored rice barges) that ferry you to the Skytrain station, bespoke green Tuk Tuks, and a rooftop helipad if you need it.
What's it like?
While its river-facing façade is more recognisable, its entrance on Charoen Nakorn Road is also spectacular. A driveway through lush tropical greenery offers an immediate sanctuary from the city.
The 40-storey hotel was inspired by a wave – a geometric design of two protruding towers and an indented central section. It’s at its most attractive when it glistens at night, reflected across the river.
The lobby is a grand space, with a water droplet-like chandelier overhead, tropical plants, live jazzy piano and windows which overlook the grounds and river beyond. The property features Asian-inspired artworks and sculptures, as well as teak furnishings, throughout.
I was taken straight to the on-site clinic by a staff member and then accompanied to my room, advised that I would get a keycard when I tested negative. I received a call five hours later with the good news, and a member of the team dropped off my keycard along with a copy of my results. Service during my stay was brilliant, with staff attentive but not intrusive.
The hotel has 370 rooms and suites from 45-47 sqm Deluxe rooms, some with balconies, to the whopping 364 sqm Peninsula suite. All rooms and suites are beautifully designed with plenty of natural light, teak floors, silk furnishings and artwork inspired by the area.
My 74 sqm Deluxe Suite felt like a private retreat and featured an open-plan living room, a bedroom, luxurious bathroom and walk-in wardrobe with a luggage bench. Because of the angular shape of the building, each floor-to-ceiling window offers a slightly different view of the ever-changing skyline.
In the living room there’s a dining table, sofa, plush armchairs, a coffee table and TV, and a desk with USB and plug points – it is well designed for both work and leisure. There’s a Nespresso coffee machine, a safe, complimentary drinking water, and a fully stocked minibar.
Modern tech touches are neatly hidden behind wooden furnishings throughout, and guests can also use the hotel’s 24-hour instant messaging service PenChat to make dinner reservations, schedule transport, book treatments and more.
Distanced from the entrance, and so protected from any noise, the huge bedroom features a large, very comfortable bed and a vanity table with a mirror. On either side of the bed are telephones and a panel to control lighting, curtains, the TV, aircon and heating. It’s simple to use but unattractive and at odds with the immaculate room.
There is also a phone/tablet charger in the bedside table, with five USB cords and an iPhone charger. The sumptuous symmetrical marble bathroom is a highlight, with an inviting bathtub, sinks on either side of the room, a separate rainfall shower stall and toilet cubicle. There are sustainable Prin Lomros amenities, slippers and both fluffy and traditional bathrobes (which I was very tempted to purchase). The suite has an additional toilet cubicle in the main space.
Food and drink
The hotel has a wealth of dining options which offer traditional and modern Thai, Chinese and international cuisines, with herbs sourced from the hotel’s own garden and plenty of healthy and vegan options.
Dining venues include waterfront Thiptara for Thai cuisine; Cantonese fine dining restaurant Mei Jiang in the main building; all-day dining in the lobby bar, including the brand’s signature afternoon tea; and a pool bar.
I had all my meals at the alfresco River Café Terrace and Bar, a shaded waterside restaurant with prime views of the river. The buffet breakfast is expansive, with both Western and Asian cuisine, a section for healthy options (almond milk quinoa yogurt and superfood powders), a smoothie bar, and plenty of colourful fresh fruit and indulgent pastries.
My favourite section was the eggs Benedict station, where chefs swap ham for slow roasted pork belly. Guests can choose from a seaweed, tomato or an original muffin along with regular, roasted pepper or fresh hollandaise, and watch as the dish is intricately put together – it’s like a live-action clip of Masterchef.
The River Café and Bar transforms into an evening drinks spot as the sun sets, with neon blue lighting and the noise from boats cruising down the river giving it a buzzy atmosphere.
While I would normally avoid room service when travelling, it’s quite the experience at The Peninsula. Panoramic city views from the suites make for an amazing backdrop to the delicious food and prompt service. During my short isolation period, I enjoyed a Caesar salad, Gai Phad Med Mamuang (crispy chicken with sweet and sour sauce) with rice, some addictive crispy cashews with capsicum, and a mango pudding to finish.
A three-storey Thai colonial-style building houses the serene spa, a sauna, steam room and plunge pools.
The three-tiered 88m azure pool stretches from the spa house to the Chao Phraya River and is flanked by both loungers and traditional Thai salas (cabanas) – the latter are perfect for those wanting shade and privacy, with a 30-minute hourglass stopping you from overstaying your welcome.
There is also a large fitness centre, free-to-use tennis courts, and the hotel offers complimentary daily activities including sunrise yoga and mindfulness.
This luxury hotel lives up to its high reputation with this extraordinary riverside retreat. The service is excellent, dining destinations are imaginative and delicious, and there are ample leisure facilities for those needing a bit of R&R. The suites are also well-suited to business travellers, with skyline views certainly beating the vistas from their home office.
A peaceful stay in the city with exquisite dining venues and luxurious facilities
A nightcap at the River Café and Bar, followed by a sunset ride on a long-tail boat along the Chao Phraya River
Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in May started from THB10,828 (£246.70) for a Deluxe Room including taxes and fees.
The Test and Go package starts from THB7,000 (£161).
333 Charoennakorn Road, Klongsan, Bangkok 10600; +66 2 020 2888