It's hard being part of the
Peninsula hotel chain, because given the high standards of excellence the chain
has already established there is no place to go but down. But I'm happy to
report that the recently opened Peninsula Bangkok (19 Nov 98) lives up to its
The Peninsula Bangkok is a
self-contained oasis in a concrete jungle. You won't have to leave once you
check in, as the hotel can meet your every need. As General Manager Heinz
Waldvogel says, "Our private lounge, pier and river shuttle, the only
combined facility of this nature in Bangkok, gives resident guests or casual
visitors to the hotel options which will maximize their time and minimize their
inconvenience. It doesn't matter from which side of the city you are traveling,
we have made accessibility simple and direct."
And once you arrive, well,
with a staff to guest ratio of 2.5 to 1, you just know that all your needs are
going to be tended to, don't you? Suppose you need to catch up on your work? The
Peninsula's Business Center can take care of all your office needs. Need to
relieve some stress? The hotel's Fitness Center with its accompanying sauna,
steamroom, jacuzzi, massage facilities and state-of-the-art exercise equipment
will have you feeling like new in no time. And if you are still restless, you
can burn off some more calories by playing tennis on the floodlit courts or
doing some laps in the three-tier sixty-meter swimming pool, which is tastefully
adorned with Thai salas and posh sundeck areas.
Relax, unwind, and rejuvenate
yourself. The Peninsula allows you to take care of yourself, and re-charge your
batteries. And if you are in need
of a haircut and a hairdo you can check out Bangkok's premier name in hair and
beauty, Salon Best.
In the daytime, just look out
your window and see the ebb and flow of humanity pass belong you on the teeming
Chao Phraya River. You don't even need TV with the spectacular views the
Peninsula offers of the barges, speedboats, traffic, architecture, and people
all darting to and fro.
At night, turn off the lights
and soak up the sounds of silence. You are in the core of the city, yet apart
from it. Your unique perspective from the western side of the river
allows you to view Krungthep in a way you never could do if you where staying in
one of the leading Bangkok hotels across the way.
You have a sense that Q must
have resigned from the British Secret Service, and gone to work with the
Peninsula hotel chain. The Peninsula simply has more electronic gadgetry than
any other major hotel, calling it "guest comfort technology." It
starts with a custom designed bedside electronic control panel that allows
guests to control temperature, lighting, audio-visual systems and even the
curtains with the touch of a fingertip.
But la creme de la resistance
is in the bathroom. There is a TV located right in the bathtub, along with a
speakerphone, so you can watch and soak, and squawk and soak. The system has an
automatic mute function on both the TV and radio, which kicks in for the
duration of your phone call and this digitally filters the sound of running
water and the bathroom echo as well. Amazing Thailand, right?
Fine dining? Well, the
Peninsula's tough to beat. Mei Jiang
specializes in classic Cantonese cuisine in a unique setting reminiscent of an
exquisite "Teak Box," with walls of sliding lattice panels opening to
reveal a tranquil pool.
Cilantro is a casual all-day
restaurant featuring Thai and Asian specialties, an international buffet and
barbecue along the riverside.
And be prepared to be fused.
As that's what happens when you enter Jester's, the hotel's avant-garde
restaurant serving Pacific Rim cuisine in a fashionable and relaxed atmosphere
which allows you to enjoy entertainment from world class musicians while you
Specialty chef Ms. Stephanie
L. Rowe prepares the dishes. They range from farmed sea bass and Queensland
scallops with braised fennel and soused beets to broiled California beef
tenderloin, green peppered tempura vegetables and black bean jus. Or why not try
miso crusted yellow fin tuna on whipped seafood mash with roast bell pepper and
onion crisps, or even escalopes of Phuket lobster with grilled watermelon and
And lest we forget what the
Peninsula is famous for, why not catch high tea in the Lobby Restaurant, which
also offers a wide range of cuisine, catering to every palate.
The hotel has 370 rooms,
including 60 one bedroom suites and five deluxe suites: the Deluxe, Duplex,
Grande Deluxe, Thai and the Presidential Suite which is designed to CIA
specifications, yes CIA specifications, and goes for US$2,600 a night. With a
built-in gym, kitchen, and just about everything else, it won't let you down and
I'm sure Hillary, Bill and Chelsea would be very impressed. The Duplex Suite has
a built-in Jacuzzi on the second floor.
Do yourself a favor, treat
yourself to a luxury that is very rarely found on this planet - stay at the
The Peninsula boat service
runs to and from the Peninsula pier, the Oriental public pier, and the River
City Complex from 6am to midnight (6am to 1pm on Fridays & Saturdays). There
is also a boat service that runs between River City and the hotel from 9am and
This hotel is managed by the
Peninsula group and owned by Siam Chaophraya Holdings Company Limited, a joint
venture between the Phatara-Euromill Group of Thailand and the Hong Kong and
Shanghai Hotels Limited, the parent company of the Peninsula Group. Brennan Beer
Gorman International New York Concept Design) and Henry H. Brennan were the
architects, and Denton Corker Marshall Limited of New York did the interior
There are eight Peninsulas in
the world: The Peninsula Hong Kong; the Cowling Hong Kong; the Peninsula Manila;
the Palace Hotel Beijing; the Peninsula New York; the Peninsula Beverly Hills;
the Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel, California; the Repulse Bay in Hong
Kong and the Peninsula Bangkok.