I really like the Bangkok Peninsula. In fact, I think it is probably the best one of the riverside hotels in Bangkok. The Hilton a bit further down is just enormous and somewhat anonymous, while the Mandarin Oriental on the opposite river bank from the Peninsula just seems slightly past its sell-by date.
The garden and poolside area is certainly one of the Peninsula’s best features. There are three cascading pools leading down to the balustrades overlooking the river. The upper pool is 25 metres long, so you can do laps.
The bar attendants make regular rounds with small snacks and drinks to make sure that all guest sitting by the pool have everything they need. On the down side, the last time I was staying at the Peninsula, there were two Geckos playing in the trees, which eventually disrupted a small green snake’s siesta time and subsequently ended up landing in my cabana and frightening me absolutely shitless, if I may say so.
The Peninsula’s gym is also rather good. Moreover, your typical Peninsula resident does not seem to frequent the gym that often and most of the time the place is deserted and you have all the machines and equipment to yourself. Most of the equipment in the gym is for cardio training but there are weights available if you are into lifting.
There is also a very good Thai restaurant in the garden of the hotel that goes by the name Thiptara. I am told by my dear friend D., who lived in Bangkok for a few years, that this one of the best places for Thai food in town. It certainly is very tasty. But beware if you do not like spicy food, because even when they cook a mild dish for westerners, it is still likely to blow the top of your head off!