The gal loves that towering Peninsula Bangkok luxury hotel on the West bank of the Chao Phraya river, and she has previously covered its exquisite spa, and its rooms and its people. This visit it was time to look at its gardens and particularly its river-side terrace restaurant. Many love the oasis feel of this hotel so much that they move in for long spells – apparently one European couple is here for the six long months of winter back home, and there are several who stay many weeks. Why, they say, have second homes in, say, Phuket or Samui if they can stay here, with no hassle but with all the facilities and service?
And there are new things every time I come. I discovered, by the serene area of pools, a coconut bar. What a clever idea, particularly since coconut water is so in vogue. Next, walk about 20 steps past the hotel’s organic herb and vegetable garden, with a table and chairs for sitting quietly, or dining surrounded by eggplant and thyme, and you find yourself inside at one of the hotel’s boutiques. There are signs there for paint your own elephant, a ceramic miniature that benefits an elephant charity – the annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo match by the way, takes place next month, March 8-12, 2017, about half a mile along the river.
As always, I love suite 3204. Why? It has stunning views down to the river and its fascinating boat traffic. It is not too large. The desk comes with an office kit, all purple items in a green leather box. I have a matching-orange pair of scissors and an international adaptor, both on a linen mat on a wood tray. The stationery is satin smooth, which improves anyone’s writing, and the pen is also admirable. I love the Oscar de la Renta toiletries, and cotton items are in a Jim Thompson silk box (thank goodness no impossible-to-open plastic wrapping in this thoughtful hotel).
I had dinner with Joseph Sampermans, who was here before in charge of food. Now he is back, as GM of this luxury hotel that is gradually evolving more and more into an urban resort. We sat right by the river and toasted mutual friends as we drank glasses of The Peninsula’s own Pinot Noir 2013, by La Cruz Vineyard, Sonoma Coast. Other memories from that dinner? Superb sashimi and quickly replenished on the cold buffet in the air-conditioned inside room. And, only a few hours later, memories from breakfast included the fruit lady, above, and Cole’s attentive service. Then I took a final walk around the lovely grounds and thought, not for the first time, how easy it was to understand why some simply move in here to escape winter. SEE THE GARDEN VIDEO BELOW.