Established in 1928, The Peninsula hotel group has six properties across Asia, and 10 properties in total. The luxury hotel group’s property in Bangkok, The Pensinsula Bangkok, towers over the expansive Chao Phraya River. The slender building has a distinctive wave-like shape and combines modern and historic design. There are panoramic views of the city’s skyline and the river throughout the hotel.
What's it like?
I arrived at The Peninsula in a BMW 7 Series (a service offered by the hotel) from Suvarnabhumi Airport and was greeted by a team of friendly staff. As soon as I walked in, I noticed the spacious lobby area with plenty of natural light flooding in from the hotel’s floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook a lush garden area and outdoor terrace facing the river. I really liked how there was a staff member making a colourful Thai dessert at the entrance of the lobby offering it to the guests.
For business travellers, this lobby could also serve as a great meeting spot since there are a range of seats here, including couches and tables arranged around a small round table with tall bouquets of flowers.
Both the priority check-in desk and the main check-in desks were not too busy. I was checked in quickly at the priority check-in desk with no hassle or waiting around.
Where is it?
About an hour away from Suvarnabhumi Airport, The Peninsula Bangkok is located on the west side of the Chao Phraya River. This is a tranquil side of the city, away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. Travellers who like to walk around might be disappointed as there isn’t much to see on this side of the river. However, while it is a little further away from the main downtown core of Bangkok, the hotel has its own pier with frequent shuttle boats from 6am all the way until midnight heading to the business district, the local skytrain station, shopping areas, and tourist attractions. It takes about ten minutes by boat to get to the other side. The staff on the boat is very friendly and happy to help.
The hotel has 370 river view rooms including 60 one-bedroom and five Themed Suites. I was assigned a deluxe room on the 25th floor which had a living room area, a bedroom, and a bathroom with two vanity units and a toilet.
One of the standout features of this room was the sweeping views of Bangkok’s skyline and the river which can be seen through the living room, bedroom and even one of the bathrooms. The view is particularly stunning at night as you can see an array of illuminated boats flowing through the river.
The cream coloured walls, with the dark wood and deep orange furniture creates a relaxing atmosphere here. There were plenty of books on Thailand’s culture and laid out on the table. English newspapers were available on request.
The curtains could be pulled back by using remote controls in the living room and the bedroom.
Interestingly, there is also a complimentary shoe shining service, which I didn’t get to try since I didn’t have shoes that needed shining.
On the dining table, there was an assortment of chocolates, as well as mango and coconut flavoured sweets. Much to my surprise, there was also an edible chocolate tree.
For those travelling for work, there is a well-equipped desk (see photo below, although the Macbook belongs to me) with a multi-function machine for printing, faxing and scanning and complimentary wifi. There is also VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) for those who want to make international calls. I was able to make a work-related call to Singapore. The living room area would be great for business meetings of up to six or seven people as there are chairs, a coffee table and a dining table.
Food and beverage
This hotel offers an eclectic range of quality cuisine in beautiful venues.
The River Cafe and Terrace
This all-day dining restaurant and breakfast venue is incredibly photogenic, with one side overlooking the river, and the other side facing a lush green garden. I arrived at around 8 a.m here and had to wait about ten minutes before being seated. There are many options here to please guests with a wide range of tastes, including live cooking stations offering Chinese and Thai food and a breakfast spread in the indoor area of the restaurant full of healthy food options such as gluten-free baked goods, an assortment of fresh fruits, and whole-grain options. There were so many food options here that it took me a while to decide what to eat.
But the best thing about breakfast at the River Cafe is the healthy juice bar serving up fresh fruit juice including guava, orange, mango and a green smoothie. The fresh juice is almost good enough to convince a coffee-holic to opt for a healthier drink instead of a caffeinated beverage in the morning.
This ground-level Thai restaurant is located on a teak deck under a banyan tree right next to the river. The outdoor patio facing the water and the sight of illuminated boats flowing through the river here creates a great fine dining experience.
The staff here is very hospitable and there are many delicious Thai dishes here including a pomelo salad (see photo below), Thai Mango and sticky rice, spicy green papaya salad, and a green curry with tiger prawns.
This restaurant serves classical Cantonese cuisine in a formal yet comfortable setting. Many of the tables here face the hotel’s garden. I was served a sampling of a number of signature dishes here from the friendly staff, including vegetarian dim sum, soya sauce chicken with spring onions in a clay pot, fried rice, and a roasted duck dish. I felt like I was momentarily transported back to Hong Kong, where I live. Unfortunately, I did not have time to try the dessert as I had to rush to a meeting, but this is a great place for authentic Cantonese food served in a beautiful setting.
The Peninsula fitness centre
The 24 hour fitness centre on Garden Level is fairly small, though it was uncrowded. The selection of equipment is diverse enough. There is a range of treadmills, elliptical, cycle and stair-climbing machines by Life Fitness, complete with personal television monitors and headphones. A selection of weight and strength training equipment is also available, from a full range of free weights to TRX kettle bells.
The fitness centre also has locker rooms, complete with a steam room, sauna and hot and cold plunge pools.
Unfortunately, the fitness centre is windowless, so you can’t enjoy natural light while working out.
You can view another photo of the fitness centre on the hotel’s website here.
There is also an 88 metre long outdoor swimming pool facing the river with plenty of seating around it.
I had a delightful two night stay at The Peninsula Bangkok. Although I was initially hesitant about the location, I felt that the free and frequent shuttle boat service made it easy to get to places around the city in a relatively short amount of time. The boat rides were scenic, quick and punctual. All in all, this luxury hotel offers a number of great amenities and the hotel staff is incredibly hospitable. The food and beverage options here are fantastic, particularly the River Cafe & Terrace with its views of the river and diverse food options.