This is a case of an excellent hotel which becomes, by virtue of its location, a phenomenal one. The Peninsula's location on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River provides a panoramic view of the city, and a measure of seclusion in riotous, congested Bangkok. But it is not only the prime real estate that is remarkable - the service is top-notch, on par with any of the Southeast Asian luxury mega-hotels.
The hotel's guest rooms and suites are large and finely appointed, in a warm and old-fashioned style, owing to hand-crafted furniture and ornate woodwork. Beneath the traditional surface lurks an insidiously convenient technological system - what the hotel euphemistically calls "innovations with a personal touch." Electronic control panels by the bedside (and in the bathrooms) control every variable of the room's environment: climate, lighting, communications, and entertainment.
This high degree of elegance and pampering would be impressive even if the view out the window was a brick wall in a blind alley. But through some masterful feat of design, every room looks out over the river, and beyond, at the towering Bangkok skyline. The river is not only decorative, but functional; one may find it convenient to travel by boat to avoid the hopeless gridlock of the Bangkok streets.
Jesters restaurant is the featured night spot within the hotel, serving innovative Mediterranean cuisine with (one has by now come to expect) a view of the riverfront. Fine Cantonese and more traditional Thai fare are offered in separate restaurants, and 24-hour room service is available for those still entranced by their bedside electronic panels. The city of Bangkok, of course, is at no loss for dining options beyond the hotel grounds, and there is no shortage of nightlife - "legendary" being the most common (perhaps euphemistic) adjective used to describe the attractions of Bangkok after nightfall.
In keeping with the theme of the hotel, the Peninsula Spa by Espa and Fitness center go slightly beyond what is expected from a metropolitan luxury hotel. The Peninsula Spa features 14 treatment rooms and four suites, two double and two VIP suites, all with ensuite jacuzzi. An added feature of the VIP suites are rain shower, floor-to-ceiling windows and a balcony with sweeping views of the Chao Phraya River. The Fitness Center includes gymnasium, aerobics studio, jacuzzi and sauna, as well as a Beauty Salon.
Golf, then, may be the one activity which actually necessitates leaving the hotel grounds. Many golfing options are available, the most prestigious being the Thai Country Club - Peninsula guests are among a select few permitted to visit the club, though only on weekdays.
The Peninsula Bangkok, essentially, would be an outstanding retreat; it happens, though, to be situated in a prime location in the vibrant city of Bangkok, on a scenic bit of riverfront property - making an outstanding hotel (with impeccable service) into a fantastic one.
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