Our taxi ride from the airport had been pretty hellish with our non-English speaking driver taking some very bizarre routes. But on walking into The Peninsula Bangkok all feelings of discontent were quashed.
This distinctive tower, located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya river (the hotel has its own boats to shuttle guests across the waterway), is a true sanctuary in the city.
We had less than 24 hours to go about exploring its inners during an overnight stop off on the way home from Bhutan.
After a trip trekking through the Bhutanese wilds, the comfy confines of The Peninsula Bangkok were greatly received.
On checking into the hotel we were shown to room 2207, a deluxe king room with a balcony.
The place has an air of old school luxury.
Think dark wood, magnolia paint, chunks of marble, plush carpets and slick service.
HEALTH & HARMONY
After dumping our things we went about testing the hotel’s new Health & Harmony program – just what the doctor ordered after our frantic airport transfer!
To start things off in style, we indulged in a multi-course lunch at the Lobby restaurant. The menu had been specially designed to be light and nutritious, without sacrificing on flavour.
I was told that all of the dishes can be customised with the guest’s preferences in mind.
Our dishes consisted of heirloom tomatoes and burrata, an Unami espresso, followed by a juicy cut of sous vide salmon.
On the dessert front, we were presented with whole lemons rinds which had been soaked overnight in a light syrup to make them edible.
There was a light mousse in the centre of the hollowed out skins with some orange segments thrown in to continue the citrus theme.
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
Before heading to the hotel spa to continue the health and harmony program, we got a sneak peek of some new artwork which would be displayed as part of the hotel’s artist in residence program.
The program started this January to help showcase works from local artists. I was told that the hotel hopes the initiative will help ‘stimulate dialogue’ and ‘create an interaction with people’.
We met with Thai award-winning artist Taweesak Molsawat and he showed us around his installation in one of the hotel rooms on the 4th floor.
He had used newspaper and pieces from the hotel amenity kits to create a mix of objects.
His works, he explained, are designed to make people question the disposable nature of our society and how material objects weigh us down.
Combining his love of art with community outreach, he’d collaborated with local schools to make some of the artworks.
For instance, the bath was full of little paper boats which had been illustrated by local students and revealed their dreams / hopes for the future.
THE PENINSULA SPA
Conscious of time, we bid the chirpy resident artist a farewell and ventured down to the spa.
As part of the Heath & Harmony program we had an Essential Mind treatment.
The spa menu describes it as being perfect for ‘guests who have sleeping problems, who feel totally exhausted, who cannot stop thinking and who are looking for serenity’.
This is probably one of the most unique spa sessions I’ve had to date, with a holistic massage, singing bowl session and soak in a hot tub with some herbal tea to wash it down.
The larger treatment rooms at the spa used for this experience are pretty mind-blowing, with lots of space to play in.
There is a separate toilet, dressing room area and steam room which doubles as a shower.
My partner had the same treatment in a separate room but came to join me in the two-person hot tub afterwards.
We both compared notes on how the treatment went and it appeared that we’d both fallen asleep during the singing bowl experience. I woke myself up snoring at one point!
‘It happens to everyone,’ the spa receptionist told me with a smile.
We finished off our trip to the spa with a dip in the stunning outdoor pool, with the city lights twinkling before us.
After working up quite an appetite, we rounded out the day with dinner at one of the hotel’s many restaurants, Thiptara.
This eatery specialises in traditional Thai food.
It is located outside, with lush gardens enveloping the space.
We were shown to a table next to the river by one of the hosts.
There were two set menus which were recommended to us, but we opted for some dishes off the a la carte menu instead to keep things a little lighter.
I opted for crab meat to start, while my partner went for his favourite, a ladle of Tom kha kai soup.
With things being mostly vegetarian in Bhutan, we followed things up by a perfectly cooked plate of grilled beef striploin, complemented by a steaming bowl of tofu and vegetable curry.
On the drinks front, be sure to indulge in the wine list while at Thiptara.
There is an extensive selection, with some tipples boasting some sky high prices. A bottle of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1er cru Classe for instance comes in at a cool £5,065 on the menu.
If you’re into cocktails, there is also a fine spread and the dry vodka olive martini I ordered certainly hit the spot.
Feeling perfectly full, we chose something a little cleaner for dessert, with a plate of fresh fruits and a few scoops of creamy coconut ice cream.
Needless to say, after massage and a menagerie of moreish morsels, we slept like a dream that night.
The next morning I excitedly sashayed out to the balcony to watch the sun rise over the bustling metropolis.
The Bangkok Peninsula is certainly somewhere you’ll struggle to prize yourself away from.
I definitely recommend more than 24 hours if you come to this salubrious spot.
A definite error on our part…
The Peninsula Bangkok is located at 333 Charoen Nakhon Rd, Khlong San, Bangkok 10600, Thailand
To book a stay, dining or spa experience visit www.peninsula.com or call +66 2 020 2888