The Peninsula Bangkok

Khet Khlong San, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10600, Thailand - ☏ +66 2 020 2888 - www. bangkok.peninsula.com

Thailand’s capital is a densely populated and at times chaotic collection of over eight million people. While navigating the abstract infrastructure of this buzzing metropolis, one can sometimes long for a safe space with a bit of remove. The Hotel Peninsula offers this sort of architectural sedative, in easy-to-swallow form.

"Due to the city’s traffic, which is at time crippling, traveling by boat is a sensible way to get from A to B without wasting an afternoon in the backseat of an idling taxi. The river here feels celebratory, with its mélange of traditionally rendered vessels, modern day cruisers and everything in between. The Peninsula even has its own craft, a dark, glossy wooden number with a hunter-green roof, reserved exclusively for shuttling guests from one shore to the other."

Bangkok is dissected by the Chao Phraya River, and The Peninsula sits proudly on one of its banks, affording guests aerial views of the bustling flow of boats below. Due to the city’s traffic, which is at time crippling, traveling by boat is a sensible way to get from A to B without wasting an afternoon in the backseat of an idling taxi. The river here feels celebratory, with its mélange of traditionally rendered vessels, modern day cruisers and everything in between. The Peninsula even has its own craft, a dark, glossy wooden number with a hunter-green roof, reserved exclusively for shuttling guests from one shore to the other. Even if it was designed with utility in mind, the shuttle is now a genuine crowd-pleaser, where digital SLRs spend more time snapping away than swinging around the necks of their owners.

Inside the hotel it can be easy to forget where one is; an advantage or disadvantage depending on what sort of time a guest desires. The great merit of The Peninsula Hotel chain is that they’ve mastered the art of providing a consistent, luxurious experience with a business-tinted edge, and here that is no different. Service is impeccable, food is reliably good, and everything runs as it should. But in this particular instance, the guest suites could do with a bit of updating. Despite the formal elegance of the wood-paneled rooms, the curdled buttermilk tones of the walls and curtains cut from a fabric that resembles gold lamé can give a bit of an early ’80s feel. That said, anyone willing to engage in a bit of role-play can call down for breakfast on a yellowing plastic touch-tone phone with enlarged buttons and a comical corded toilet-side, or slip into the mauve marble tub for a bubble bath while watching the news on a flickering cathode ray TV, embedded in the wall above. Perhaps not the historical experience one associates with a trip to Thailand, but a charming one nonetheless. JR

This review is included in TTA11. Click here for more information about the issue.

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