Destination / Wish You Were Here

Take me to the river: The Peninsula, Bangkok

Your feet have lead you to the beating centre of Bangkok, where water bends through the heart of the city, and loops like a wisp of smoke curling upwards to the sky. All roads lead to the historic Chao Phraya River, and on its west bank you find its jewel – The Peninsula Hotel. Imbued with an intoxicating alchemy of ancient tradition and sleek opulence, the stairway to heaven is closer to home than you thought.

Stay …
The Peninsula. Post night-cap at its rooftop River Bar (opt for anything using fresh fruit), those spacious suites beckon. The marble bathrooms are stocked exclusively with scents and skincare from Oscar de la Renta, and personalised pillowcases come delicately embroidered with your name. At the very least, you’ll want to take these home with you. But, for now, your old life can wait. 

Do …
Languid afternoons call for rejuvenation at the Peninsula Spa. The Royal Thai Massage isn’t to be missed, with techniques for treating Thai royalty handed down through the ages, or perhaps a mind-healing session is more your speed, using Tibetan sound prayer bowls (seven for each energy centre in the body). 

Take …
Embrace the heat. There is no escaping the balmy weather so wear your favourite loose fitting pants; Matteau Swim have made the perfect pair. And for when nights descends and the bar calls, opt for a flowing dress à la Loewe. You won’t want to take much in terms of luggage, a carry-all will do. An intoxicating scent, a cure-all face oil and your favourite jewellery.

Taste …
The day begins with breakfast at the River Café’s shaded terrace. The building’s wave-like structure offers 360-degree views of the city, and you make the most of this at every meal, eating as much as you possibly can overlooking the water. Bangkok is notoriously humid, so for days when it’s too hot to leave the hotel respite can be found in the three-tiered pool, flanked by lounge chairs and Thai cabanas shrouded in sweet smelling bougainvillea.

Sunset is the ideal time to emerge for a complimentary journey on one of the Peninsula’s boats, cocktail in hand, taking in the temples and sights along the river, laced with city lights. Take dinner at Thiptara restaurant, surrounded by banyan trees and topical flowers, serving authentic local cuisine using recipes passed down from generation to generation by Palace cooks. If time permits you might take them up on their offer of a traditional cooking class, though control of the menu is happily relinquished for a serving of their signature soft shell crab with chilli, garlic and basil or steamed sea bass in a spicy lemon sauce.