Located on the left bank of the Chao Phraya River, the Peninsula is one of the most consistently high-ranked lodgings in the city, in particular for its attention to service. The rooms are decorated in white and comforting, honey-colored wood, with teak or carpeted floors and marble bathrooms; they all feature views over the river and city. The slim, three-tiered pool sits riverside, so guests can lounge in Thai-style gazebos—called sala—while sipping cocktails and watching Bangkok life literally sail by. In fact, a large part of the fun in staying here is the proximity to the river. Free, constantly running shuttle boats will ferry guests to three different piers along the river; the views of river life, traditional wooden Thai boats, and the high-rises along the way are unforgettable. The Peninsula is the tallest building in the vicinity, so the rooms on the upper floors offer yet another perspective—a near-bird’s-eye view of the city that is both exhilarating and potentially vertigo-inducing.
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The bustle of metropolitan Bangkok is a quick jump across the river from the Peninsula, but this western side—known as Thonburi—is less developed and still consists of many small canals called khlongs, which act as the main transportation routes for the people who live here. The best way to explore is via boat tours, which let guests glimpse this unique side of Bangkok life. Just a short boat trip upriver is the spectacular Wat Arun, one of the grandest temples in the city, with an ornate tower nearly 260 feet tall. Guests should visit the temple to see the ornate mosaics made from ancient Chinese porcelain that decorate the walls but can’t be seen from a distance.
Need to Know
Rooms: 370 rooms; from $300. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Mei Jiang offers sublime Cantonese fare, and Thipatra serves elegant Thai, but the International Buffet at the River Café and Terrace is the most quintessential dining experience at this hotel—especially from the riverside tables, with views of the Chao Phraya River and its environs twinkling with lights at night. Spa and gym details: The spa is a dimly lit oasis of pampering, with Thai silks, highly polished wood floors, and river views. There are tennis courts on hotel grounds, as well as a dedicated fitness center.
Who's it for: Travelers who want top-notch service and streamlined, unfussy elegance. Our favorite rooms: Any room on the upper floors will offer dramatic, panoramic views of the city, but the balcony suites take it a step further by allowing guests to enjoy this view from their own private balcony. Family activities: The Peninsula has excellent children’s programs, ranging from Thai cooking and painting courses to eco-adventures in the mangroves.