Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Community > Trip Reports
Reload this Page >

A Honeymoon to Remember: Hong Kong, Thailand, and Japan in Style

A Honeymoon to Remember: Hong Kong, Thailand, and Japan in Style

Reply

Old Dec 24, 17, 5:22 am
  #31  
Four Seasons Contributor BadgeAman Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Baltimore MD
Posts: 3,283
Originally Posted by Anlun View Post
Thanks! None, which annoyed me. I thought they would offer us something but nop. Another critique that I failed to mention was that we didn't get that crazy Aman level service mentioned here. They didn't remember any of our food preferences or names, and we were asked our room number every time. It didn't bother me because I'm used to that sort of thing, but if there are those who are used to something more, I can see it annoying them.

wow that's unacceptable... I've never stayed at Amanpuri but that's the kind of thing Amans are known for... it's okay to mess up but the service recovery is key....

Amanpuri is quite a bit larger than most other Amans and has suffered from talent drain to other local resorts... I'm sorry your experience wasn't perfect...

FDW
FlyingDoctorwu is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 24, 17, 8:10 am
  #32  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Toronto
Programs: SPG Gold, HH Silver
Posts: 849
Many thanks for the review of Amanpuri. I took particular interest in the scuba diving, as I had a similarly disappointing diving experience there. The diving was so disappointing that we just told the divemaster we didnt want to do the second dive and just wanted to return back to the Villa. It was all dead coral and nothing to see at all. Plus the skiff that took us out there from a decrepit dock was terrible. One of our party complained to Amanpuri and they removed the charge without any problem. But you went to the Similian islands, which is much farther. Our trip was close by. I had wanted to go diving there but it was always to far. We took a trip on the same boat (with a group of FT'ers who all met up at Amanpuri) and visited another FT'er at Six Senses Ya Noi for lunch. Though perhaps not as polished or exclusive, we were very, very impressed with this resort, and the prices especially upset us in comparison to Amanpuri! Given your newfound appetite for Aman, you should join us next time!

Amanpuri is an interesting resort, being the first of the Amans, and of course it is glorious, but in my experience it was not to the same level as other Amans, such as Amanpulo, Amanbagh, etc. in terms of hard and soft product. Indeed nearby Trisara has a better hard product, as their villas are pretty much the best that I had experienced, but that was 7 years ago so I don't know how it is these days. I would encourage you to try out other Amans in Asia so that you get an even better Aman experience. You and your new wife have a lot to look forward to!

With regards to the airport pickup, that is the kind of thing that is so unacceptable because it can taint an entire trip. It causes an immediate loss of confidence and causes one to critically evaluate all other parts of the experience more than one otherwise would. I would have been livid, especially on a honeymoon. I am also shocked that they did not offer you any substantial service recovery for that.

The villa that you got with the great view is amazing. Well done! Also I shall give the sun treatment a shot one day, as I was surprised to hear that it was so effective!

Can't wait for the next instalment! Thanks so much!
blueline7 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 24, 17, 1:54 pm
  #33  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: New York
Posts: 128
Originally Posted by blueline7 View Post
Many thanks for the review of Amanpuri. I took particular interest in the scuba diving, as I had a similarly disappointing diving experience there. The diving was so disappointing that we just told the divemaster we didnt want to do the second dive and just wanted to return back to the Villa. It was all dead coral and nothing to see at all. Plus the skiff that took us out there from a decrepit dock was terrible. One of our party complained to Amanpuri and they removed the charge without any problem. But you went to the Similian islands, which is much farther. Our trip was close by. I had wanted to go diving there but it was always to far. We took a trip on the same boat (with a group of FT'ers who all met up at Amanpuri) and visited another FT'er at Six Senses Ya Noi for lunch. Though perhaps not as polished or exclusive, we were very, very impressed with this resort, and the prices especially upset us in comparison to Amanpuri! Given your newfound appetite for Aman, you should join us next time!

With regards to the airport pickup, that is the kind of thing that is so unacceptable because it can taint an entire trip. It causes an immediate loss of confidence and causes one to critically evaluate all other parts of the experience more than one otherwise would. I would have been livid, especially on a honeymoon. I am also shocked that they did not offer you any substantial service recovery for that.

The villa that you got with the great view is amazing. Well done! Also I shall give the sun treatment a shot one day, as I was surprised to hear that it was so effective!

Can't wait for the next instalment! Thanks so much!
Thanks! Yeah, the fact that diving in the Similan was so disappointing and that Amanpuri service wasn't to the level I envisioned tarnished a bit this bit of the trip a little, but it was still amazing. The sun recovery was totally worth it. Following our treatment our skin was no longer leathery, and we weren't in pain.
We are tried to schedule a trip to Amanpulo for Christmas next year, but I think someone booked the entire island during the holidays!
Anlun is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 26, 17, 7:07 pm
  #34  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: New York
Posts: 128
Our departure from Amanpuri was bittersweet. We were looking forward to the rest of our trip, but we had come to love our beachside naps and sunset snacks. We had our typical breakfast, finished packing, took one last longing look at the hotel, and left to Phuket International for our 2 hour and 10 minute flight to Chiang Mai. The Amanpuri staff walked us through the entire airport, up to the actual gate where the second security was. We flew Bangkok Airways, flight 247, on the A320 in Economy. Surprisingly, the cattle class wasn’t too bad.

Bangkok Airways maintains their own “lounge” at Phuket for use by all passengers, and while it is not a true lounge in the traditional sense, it does provide free drinks and WiFi. The plane itself was surprisingly roomy, and comparable in space to a small regional premium economy class in the US. We were also given a meal consisting of duck and glass noodles. It was surprisingly filling and tasty for a 2-hour intra-Thailand flight. Before we knew it, we had arrived in Chiang Mai, where the Anantara-Chiang Mai representative was waiting, and quickly whisked us away to the hotel.

We booked the Anantara suite, which included Kasara lounge access. Upon arrival, we were adorned with a nice flower necklace, and taken to the lounge for check in, and offered their signature purple juice drink and a nice rice cracker-like snack.



The Anantara-Chiang Mai is centrally located, close to the old city center, and well within walking distance to the main tourist attractions. The hotel grounds itself is excellent, offering a large outdoor pool, restaurant, and spa. Our reservation included a 60 minute massage, which was great, and if I’m being honest, comparable to Amanpuri’s. The masseuse, understanding the perpetual tension in my shoulders, worked them as hard as possible.

The suite itself was very large by Asian hotel standards and had a view of the river, which according to the staff, was one of the best views. We respectfully disagreed, as the river is slightly polluted and noisy at night. However, the suite rooms do offer more privacy as they are located farther away from the other rooms. We therefore were not bothered by the location, as we prefer privacy to views of the hotel grounds. As had become the norm (with one terrible outlier, which will be discussed later), our room was decorated to reflect our nuptials, and included a bottle of champagne, along with a set of nice snacks neatly packaged in a tiffin lunchbox, including macarons, chocolates, and banana flavored sweets.











Overall, the hotel’s hard product was great, but its soft is line with what you would imagine of other regular hotels like Marriott or Westins. For example, I called to ask for floss and a nail clipper and was told to go to the nearby 7-11 if I needed those. Thanks random concierge person, but if I wanted to go to a 7-11 I would have. By this point, we also had to have our laundry done because we always travel without checking in any luggage. Thus, we only carried about 10 days of clothes each, and we had reached day 10. Despite offering a discount, and allowing 10 free items to launder, the fee was still very high. Had we more time, we would have researched local laundry services, but we were on a time crunch.

We only had two days (including our arrival) to explore Chiang Mai, so we headed out to the old city center to see the sites. We enjoyed Chiang Mai much more than we did Bangkok. The weather was cooler, the city was cleaner, and overall we just had a better time. On the first night, we explored Wat Chedi, walked around the old city, and then had dinner at Baanrai Yarmyen, a local Thai restaurant recommended by a friend. The ambiance was great, with outdoor seating around a giant tree, and local musicians playing. The food was incredibly spicy, and while I normally enjoy it, this was too much. I went through three large Changi beers before I gave up. Since we left hungry, we decided to make a brief trip to the night market for a little midnight snack. The selection there was slightly touristy, but we did get some good Lebanese kibbehs (there are foods from varying cultures) and some banana and cheese roti (weird but awesome).







The next day we woke up early, and had breakfast at the hotel (included in our stay). The breakfast spread was impressive, with an extensive a la carte menu, as well as a large buffet option. We first went to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, the temple on the hill. We took an Uber to get there, costing a total of about 15 USD to travel about an hour. Once atop the hill, the temple is reached either by taking a lift or a 306 step staircase. Not having learned our lesson from Hong Kong, we elected to take the staircase, but this time we were ready. Once atop, the temple had beautiful panoramic views of the city (though the clouds and fog made it a little difficult to see), and the copper chedi was impressive to look at. Following Doi Suthep, we returned to see Wat Phra Singh, and continue our walk through the old city.











We returned to the hotel in the afternoon, where we relaxed by the pool, and snacked and drank in the lounge. We were initially planning on having afternoon tea, but after waiting for someone to serve us in the lobby, we gave up, and decided to give up and go to the lounge instead. The lounge provides a fixed set of hors d'oeuvres along with a few selected wine options. We sat outside to appreciate the traditional Thai music and dancers that the hotel provided. We were so enthralled with the food, drinks, and entertainment, that we almost missed our massage appointments, so we rushed to the spa.





Following the spa, our joints loose and limber, we decided to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner Thai style, by eating at The Service 1921, the main restaurant in the hotel, and a well-reviewed hotel over all in Chiang Mai. The restaurant inexplicably has a British secret agent theme, and while weird . . . it sort of worked. For starters, we ordered the grilled eggplant salad stuffed with crabmeat. We also ordered the pork dumplings. The salad was the obvious star of the meal, with a perfect balance of acid and spice. I ordered my Thai staple, a yellow curry, and my wife ordered the Khao Soi Gai. Both were well done and left us feeling stuffed. For drinks, I ordered a specialty gin and tonic that was so nice, I ordered it twice. My wife ordered the sangria. We were too stuffed for dessert, but because of our honeymoon, they brought us a chocolate cake. We were incredibly full, and I don’t care for chocolate, but social morays dictated that we at least eat a bit of it.







We left the restaurant in a near food coma, but forced ourselves to repack. At first light, we would be on our way to hang out with elephants at the FS Tented Camp in Chiang Rai.
Anlun is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 29, 17, 8:04 pm
  #35  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: New York
Posts: 128
“Oh everything’s cruel according to you! Keeping him chained up in the backyard is cruel. Pulling on his tail is cruel. Yelling in his ears is cruel. So, excuse me if I’m cruel!” – Homer Simpson to Lisa Simpson in relation to Stampey the Elephant



We hired a separate car service to take us from Chiang Mai to the Golden Triangle. The drive took approximately 4 hours, with two pit stops for bathroom and coffee breaks.




The Four Seasons Tented Camp is technically located in Chiang Saen, which is the area bordering the Mekong River. There are two options for arriving to the camp. A drive straight to the camp, or a long-tail boat ride from the Chiang Saen pier. We elected for the boat ride, but I think the Four Seasons needs to work on how travelers are greeted at the pier. Specifically, once we arrived, Mai, the Four Seasons representative responsible for looking after us, greeted us. Mai asked us for our passports to give to Immigration Control, who monitors all incoming and outgoing travel on the Mekong River (which divides Thailand from Laos and Myanmar). We had no problem giving up our passports, because: 1. Than, our butler from The Siam made copies of them for us, and 2. we are naïve and on our honeymoon, so what the hell.



However, after talking with fellow guests, we came to realize that giving up your passports to some random stranger you just met might be a big ask. One group of travelers forwent the boat altogether due to this. Their argument was that anyone could don a FS pin and say they work there. I see their point and agree. There was no FS tent or specific area where FS representatives are waiting. Rather, Mai was just on her own, standing there waiting for us, the only sign that she worked for the FS was her attire and pin.

Like I said, we are simple people who care not if we lose our passports and stay stranded as strangers in a strange land. Anyway, Mai handled our immigration, and soon enough we were on the tail boat riding down the Mekong. While the ride was picturesque and it was a unique experience, I will say that the Mekong is full of litter and debris. Did Thailand never watch Captain Planet, or I guess China for that matter (the Mekong flows southward)? Looting and polluting is not the way people!






The ride took approximately 15 minutes to the FS arrival pier. As per tradition at the resort, we banged the ceremonial gong to welcome us and wish us luck. The property manager Reza Jafari, welcomed us with a delicious drink, and gave my wife a bouquet weaved from fronds and pink flowers. He congratulated us profusely on our honeymoon and made us feel right at home. We were then given a tour of the property by Mai, who I could not speak more positively about. She asked us about our wedding, and displayed such warmth that we returned later to show her pictures she had asked about. Mai always had a smile and always asked us about our day, and seemed genuinely interested in what we had to say.



The FS Golden Triangle is comprised of 15 “tents” perched across the side of a forest-covered hill. They are laid in a rough circle, connected via a bamboo brick trail to the main restaurant, spa, pool, and second bar. The “tent” is a tent in name only, for it features a luxurious king sized bed with incredibly soft linens, giant copper bathtub, fully stocked minibar and wetbar, desk, and an outdoor deck with magnificent views of the river and lands. Most importantly, the tents are air-conditioned and it worked like a charm. FS does a good job of anticipating your every needs. The tent included umbrellas for the rain, crocs in our size for roaming the resort, binoculars to appreciate the view, and a nice bottle of chilled rosé and chocolates waiting for us.







Upon arrival to our room, Mai had an itinerary ready for us so that we could maximize as much of our two-night stay as we could. We did not need to follow it if we did not want to, but it worked perfectly for what we wanted. Our tent was tent Number 2, which is located closer to the main area. One small critique we had was that, due to the location, there would be a bit of foot traffic, but again, this is not a big deal as there are only 10 tents (and 1 family tent). The entire resort is very intimate, and we made quick friends with our fellow travelers.

After gawking at the room, we made our way to the main area for lunch, which was delicious, and then relaxed by the pool. Though you can eat what you want, when you want, where you want, the FS does provide a structure that you can follow if you choose to. We chose to. Following our pool time, we retired to our room for a bit, before walking to the Burma Bar (the main bar area), for evening cocktails and snacks, which ran from 5-7. Following snacks and cocktails, the FS invites you to their wine cellar wherein you can sample the wines they intend to serve at dinner with some cheeses. We missed out on this the first night, but did try it out the second night, and it was fun. We were able to chat with our new friends, sample some cheeses, and pick our wines for dinner. Dinner is served in the same area as lunch, but with a more refined table setting. The dinners consisted of three courses, with both Thai and Western options available (you could mix and match). Overall, we never left hungry… or sober.













The next day, we woke up early for breakfast and to enjoy the main reason people come to this resort, the elephants. FS and neighboring Anantara support the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, a nonprofit which protects and cares for elephants that cannot return to the wild. For example, the elephant from the famous Coca Cola ads resides here. While you eat breakfast, FS will bring over two elephants and let you feed them as you eat. It was an amazing experience and it was incredible seeing the elephants eat so many bananas. According to the guides, the elephants eat roughly 1/3 of their body weight a day, which is an astronomical sum.



Following breakfast, per our schedule, we met with a local guide who proceeded to give us a tour of Chiang Saen. The tour overall had some highlights, including a tour of an interesting temple, and the trip to an overlook with great views of the Golden Triangle. We also learned about the history of the area, including the opium trade. However, for those looking to come here, I would skip this tour. The issue we found is that while it is nice to visit the local markets, everything seemed designed to make us buy things. We felt like the guide, who is friends with the locals, was pushing us to buy their wares. For example, when we went to the food market, we were constantly pressed to buy the local fruit and repeatedly reminded about how cheap it was. Why the hell would I want to buy a bushel of bananas or a ton of mangosteens? Then, we were taken to the gift shop-like area at the temple where we were pushed to buy local trinkets. It almost felt like we were on a Golden Triangle QVC infomercial, which is something one should not feel on their honeymoon.




Following the tour, we returned to the camp, ate lunch, lounged around the room, changed into our FS-provided elephant attire, and prepared for our elephant excursion.

Prior to booking this trip, I had read a great deal about elephants and Thailand, and while I am no card-carrying member of PETA, I do believe that animals should be treated humanely and with respect. A big issue for me was finding a place where hooks were not used on the elephants. That being said, I also wanted to ride the elephants, which I know is a contentious issue for some. I settled on the FS because I felt it offered what I was looking for. Namely a humane place to interact with elephants and ride them, but also not feel like they are being abused. I am conflicted as to whether the FS met these expectations.

Let me preface this next paragraph by saying that overall, the elephant ride was incredible, and it was a once in a lifetime experience. I also want to point out that for the most part, I do think the elephants are well cared for and happy. But there are two issues we both had.

First, the mahouts, which are the elephant trainers, do have, and use, hooks on the elephants. It was mostly used as a precautionary measure (see below), but they would also use them when the elephants were not following commands. The use of the hooks isn’t so much a stabbing or overtly painful looking gesture, but they would noticeably prod the elephants, and I do think the elephants feared them. Perhaps elephant riding requires the use of a hook, and perhaps I was foolish to think it didn’t, but this bothered us. Our second criticism was out of the FS hands. Our ride began innocently enough, with a majestic stroll through the jungle. The way it works is that you and a mahout guide each sit on an elephant, and you travel in a group of about 4 people. At first, the mahouts were very lax, laughing, speaking English, and taking our pictures. Everything was going great, and if you listened carefully, the faint sound of Toto’s Africa could be heard, like a whisper in the wind. Or maybe that was just me.






However, at some point the lead elephant (along with the woman that sat atop it) froze, and began to growl. Have you ever heard an elephant growl before? Neither have we. I didn’t even know elephants could make that sound. Dumbo did not prepare me for this! It was terrifying. Mine and my wife’s elephants proceeded to ruffle their ears and get very agitated. At one point, my wife’s elephant raised its trunk, and looked as if it was about to stand on its hind legs. The mahouts quickly shifted from calm speaking English to an agitated Thai, which only they could understand. That’s when we knew things were serious. They used the hooks, and spoke tersely to calm the elephants down. Later, once things settled down, the mahouts explained that it looked like the lead elephant spotted a snake, and was warning the others not go to that area. It was a very nerve wracking 15 minutes or so, but following this incident, it was smooth sailing and the ride went on. It was a stark reminder that at the end of the day, these are wild animals. We continued to ride the elephants through the foliage, and even went into the Mekong River.

Again, like I said, overall it was a great experience, but I’m not sure if I would do it again, and it’s not because of the snake incident (although that was disturbing). The hook thing really bothered me.

Following our sojourn through the forest on nature’s not-so-gentle giants, we made our way to the spa were we were treated to a 3.5 hour couple’s massage and facial. The massage we chose was the Mahout Recovery, and is designed to help prevent soreness and having you walk bowlegged because of the elephants. Although the ride didn’t really bother me, the massage over all was great, and the masseuse did a great job of cracking my back and hips, neck, and shoulders. Of course, it was followed by what had become the customary “you are very tense, what do you do for work.” Apparently, they have never massaged a lawyer’s shoulders before. Our bodies limber, and our faces supple, we met up with our new friends for dinner, and drank until late into the night. We retired to our rooms only because we felt bad that we were keeping the staff up.

I know this report of the FS may seem a little negative, but it honestly was an amazing resort and we loved almost everything about it. If I am critical, it’s only because I came in with impossible expectations that were almost entirely met. I think for people who are not bothered by the hooks and want to ride elephants, this is a must go to place. I simply was not expecting the use of them at the FS.



Next Time on A Honeymoon to Remember: We return to Bangkok; a disastrous time at The Peninsula awaits. The horror…. The horror….
standch likes this.
Anlun is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 30, 17, 5:17 am
  #36  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Tokyo
Programs: SPG LT Plat ANA Plat
Posts: 596
Originally Posted by estnet View Post
Really enjoying the TR (you are 2 lucky people ) Incredible pictures too.

Too bad you didn't ask your butler about transport to Gaggan - going by car pretty much anywhere in Bangkok during normal hours is a losing proposition - you could have taken the boat to Sathorn Pier (30 minutes), then walked 5 minutes to the BTS (sky train) and 20ish minutes later (after one transfer) arrived at a station that was a 10-15 minute walk to the restaurant. Maybe that will help someone else - I never take a taxi in Bangkok unless I have to (luggage). Although the public transport is poor, the trains crowded and stations limited, they are air conditioned! and seriously beat the traffic! There is also a subway system but it is hard for foreigners to find and use and also is quite limited. I'm so glad you survived that motorcycle trip.
Why on earth do you say the subway system is hard to find and use ?? Its no more difficult than the skytrain, which is easy

Last edited by BRITINJAPAN3; Jan 1, 18 at 4:06 am
BRITINJAPAN3 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 30, 17, 11:40 am
  #37  
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: AMS, FRA, TXL, KUL, SIN
Programs: Miles and More
Posts: 65
What a beautiful trip. You made lots of good pictures. Congratulations and much happiness to both of you!
estnet likes this.
kubrick is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 2, 18, 10:21 pm
  #38  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: New York
Posts: 128
“This is not going to go the way you think”Luke Skywalker

Fellow readers, if you have stayed with my story thus far, you know that we have had an amazing trip. Well, here is where it inevitably all went to ...., and my impression of the Peninsula brand is forever tarnished. I have been looking forward to writing this portion of my report, simply for the catharsis I derive from regaling you all of the train wreck that was our stay here.

On our last morning at the FS, we fed Stampy the elephant (yes, I know they have names already but I do not care, her name is Stampy damn it) one last time during breakfast, and said our heartfelt goodbyes to the FS staff.


Fare thee well Stampy!

We then boarded our long boat, and later, car, and made our way to Chiang Rai airport to catch our flight back to the land that God forgot, err I mean Bangkok, sorry. Chiang Rai Airport was surprisingly comfortable and well designed for a regional airport. It was no frills, but it was a short wait before we boarded our Thai Smile flight. I was very hesitant booking this flight, because I wasn't sure what to expect with a budget Thai airline, but color me surprised. Despite its budget status, I would rate Thai Smile above the regional domestic airlines in the US.

We arrived back to Bangkok and found our driver from the Peninsula Hotel waiting for us. So far so good. On the ride to the hotel, we got in touch with the concierge who helped us get a reservation at Suhring, an innovative restaurant with a tasting menu of refined German cuisine that we heard good things about from the friends we made at the FS. The Peninsula was able to get us a reservation that same night, which we really appreciated. With these two notches under its belt, we were really getting excited for our stay. Prior to the trip, I scoured this forum for all the Peninsula reviews, and even read that long thread with posters arguing between The Peninsula and the Mandarin Oriental for best hotel in Bangkok. Although, I have not stayed at the Mandarin Oriental, I can confidently say that it should win that contest by a mile. The Peninsula Bangkok is a garbage fire of a hotel. The Peninsula, once hailed as the hallmark hotel in Bangkok, is now a hollow disappointment.








Upon arrival to the hotel I was abruptly halted, hand on chest (I walked into her hand in shock that we would be held back), by the front of house manager, and told to wait a moment. It was incredibly jarring, and we were then rushed like cattle through the front entrance, with the staff in disarray. It seemed that they were not expecting us, despite the fact that we arrived by use of their car service and I had called and spoken with them 20 minutes earlier for the restaurant reservation. We were quickly taken to our room, but we were told soon thereafter that the hotel was full and no upgrade to a better room was available. No mention of the fact that it was our honeymoon or even a congratulation (compare this with the elaborate welcome, champagne, and decorations the Siam, Ritz, and every other hotel performed for us). A potential upgrade was included in our package, but we understood it was contingent on availability (this will become a pattern). It was nonetheless disappointing because it was our honeymoon, but we understood. Next, the escort person informed us that the room we reserved (and were standing in) was the Balcony view room, to which I was perplexed because I requested a Grand Balcony room. After some awkward language issues, a phone call to the front desk, and a review of my reservation, it was cleared that the room we were in WAS in fact the Grand Balcony room and this was just a communication error on her part. I’m still slightly suspicious of this, and it is possible that I may have been conned into a lesser room. Anyway, again a miscommunication is understandable, especially in a situation where they are speaking to me in my native language and not theirs, but it was frustrating nonetheless.

The room was adequate but nothing impressive as the outer façade of the building would lead you to believe. It looked very dated, and had an air of a nice NYC hotel circa 1992 (old tv in the bathroom included). I would compare it to the room Kevin McCallister stays in in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Inside the room a piece of stale wedding cake was provided, the sole acknowledgment of the fact that we were on our honeymoon. Not a single employee made any mention of it. Before departing our room, the concierge informed us that our reservation included breakfast, but because of our early departure, the restaurant would not be serving breakfast. She stated that the hotel would provide us with a breakfast box to eat on the way to the airport the next morning, and that our luggage would be picked up at 5:15 am the next day. A nice touch, which was appreciated at the time, but would leave a bitter reminder of our stay the next day (read on). She also informed us that we had a spa credit that could be used, but once we called the spa, we were quickly informed that the spa had no open reservations, making the credit useless (the theme continues). We called to see if we can change the spa credit for a drink credit or something, but, as had become the norm, the Nancy Reagan-like staff, just said no.

Following check in, we explored the room, and tried on our tailored clothes that were delivered to the hotel prior to our arrival. Overall, I was pleased with my blazers, and my wife loved her cape. We then made our way down for afternoon tea in the lobby, which was included in our reservation. Of course, there was no space for us. Without trying to accommodate us or find something that could work for us (as Aman Tokyo would later do), they threw us into a corner and gave me an ottoman to sit on with no back. This was literally, the least they could do, and their lack of care was very noticeable and uncomfortable. After about 40 minutes of waiting, the server came with our tea and snacks. All I can say is that I’m glad we did not pay for it. I’m not sure why The Peninsula tea service is famous….



Don't be deceived by the pretty appearance!

The scones, which we were encouraged to “eat first while warm”, were stale and cold. So much so, that my wife and I still joke about this. We now tell each other to make sure to eat ‘insert cold food’ first while warm. The offerings were also uninspiring with generic bland sandwiches, and pre-made pastries. The jasmine tea I ordered was served too hot making the tea bitter, and the metal teapot provided, was not wrapped with a towel on the handle, resulting in me burning my hand when I went to grab it. After the abysmal tea service, I decided to go down to the gym for a workout. The gym is serviceable but very small with no windows. I was also required to sign in and sign out, making sure to put my room number. Of course, I had forgotten my room number, and had to wait while the staff called the front desk to make sure I wasn’t some vagabond seeking to use the treadmills.

The next day we woke up early for our flight, excited about the breakfast box that was promised. Sadly, as was typical of our stay, the staff forgot the breakfast boxes, made no mention of it, forgot to pick up our luggage, and we had to quickly rush to the airport as a result.

I will point out that during our one night stay, there was a huge Indian wedding celebration going on, which probably contributed to the incredibly poor service. However this is no excuse for the treatment we received, or lack thereof.

The only highlight of our last night in Bangkok (and Thailand) was our dinner at Sühring. The restaurant is located in a very residential neighborhood at the center of Bangkok, and is designed to look like a glass house overlooking a tropical garden.






We were seated downstairs next to the open kitchen, where we could watch the chefs prepare our courses.



The tasting menu at Suhring consists of 12 courses, all demonstrating a diverse array of refined German cuisine. Overall, it was incredible and very unique. We hadn’t had refined German before, and this delivered. Each course complimented the next, from the pretzel opening, to the Spaetzle pasta. I think we may even have enjoyed this more than Gaggan, but I think it’s because Sühring allows the food to speak for itself. In honor of the German fare, I decided to forgo wine and opted for a good beer, which really worked for this tasting.















"Would you like to add white truffle" "Ugh... yes. The answer is always yes."





The eggnog was the Chef's mother's recipe. They even brought out a copy of her original recipe in a book to show us. It was really impressive and heartfelt.




Overall, our meal at Sühring was definitely the only bright spot on an otherwise incredibly disappointing last night in Bangkok. It was very frustrating that our last memory of Thailand was this terrible stay at The Peninsula. However, we made every effort to remember the incredible time we had everywhere else, the amazing people we met along the way, and the awesome food we sampled. Our time in Thailand was unforgettable, but the trip wasn’t over yet. Japan was calling our names.

​​​​​​​
nequine likes this.
Anlun is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 3, 18, 3:18 am
  #39  
Aman Contributor BadgeFour Seasons Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Baltimore MD
Posts: 3,283
What a disappointing experience at the Peninsula... sounds like it's just not that much different than a large city hotel offering impersonal service.. I'm sorry to hear that it tainted your honeymoon, but at least you got a good laugh out of things... if anything, it'll be something you'll probably refer to for the rest of your lives.... Just curious, did you book with a travel agent or direct with the hotel?

CAn't wait to hear about Tokyo!

FDW
FlyingDoctorwu is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 3, 18, 4:44 am
  #40  
Four Seasons Contributor BadgeHyatt Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 5,457
Congratulations on getting married and the honeymoon! Am reading a long and loving your writing style and the numerous photos. Peninsula sounds like it has really gone downhill. What a disgrace the way they spoke and treated you two.
Aventine is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 3, 18, 6:51 am
  #41  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: UK
Programs: Virgin Flying Club Red, Emirates Skywards Blue, BA Executive Club Blue, Amex BA
Posts: 1,759
I'm glad you reviewed the Amanpuri as I'm thinking of staying there. i don't think you mentioned the butler and chef that's supposed to come with the villa?

Last edited by GodAtum; Jan 3, 18 at 7:07 am
GodAtum is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 3, 18, 7:26 am
  #42  
Aman Contributor BadgeFour Seasons Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Baltimore MD
Posts: 3,283
Originally Posted by GodAtum View Post
I'm glad you reviewed the Amanpuri as I'm thinking of staying there. i don't think you mentioned the butler and chef that's supposed to come with the villa?

I'm guessing that although he writes villas he means pavillion....

Villas are typically multi bedroom units....

FDW
FlyingDoctorwu is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 3, 18, 8:10 am
  #43  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: New York
Posts: 128
Originally Posted by FlyingDoctorwu View Post
What a disappointing experience at the Peninsula... sounds like it's just not that much different than a large city hotel offering impersonal service.. I'm sorry to hear that it tainted your honeymoon, but at least you got a good laugh out of things... if anything, it'll be something you'll probably refer to for the rest of your lives.... Just curious, did you book with a travel agent or direct with the hotel?

CAn't wait to hear about Tokyo!

FDW
Yeah, it was a real buzzkill, and I don't think we will ever stay in a Peninsula again. Worst part is, after I posted on TA my experience, they reached out to me, but rather than offer some way to make it up, they just said something to the effect of "sorry, but their was a lot of people that day." With respect to your city hotel comparison, I disagree. This is WORSE than a city hotel. Large city hotels generally may not provide you the intimate service and personal touches other places offer, but hotels at the at the caliber of the Peninsula do try and offer some form of tailored service. For example or RC HK stay was incredible and warm despite the volume. And, as you will see with my RC Tokyo and RC Aman stays, despite being city hotels, made every effort to make us feel special.
The Peninsula really has nothing going for it. Rooms are mediocre, service is incredibly poor, and location, which should be the best part is not that great either. It's located on the wrong side of the river, meaning you need to take the ferry boat to the other side every time you want to go to the city central. For what you pay, you're better off staying at some generic hotel.


Originally Posted by GodAtum View Post
I'm glad you reviewed the Amanpuri as I'm thinking of staying there. i don't think you mentioned the butler and chef that's supposed to come with the villa?
Right, did you mean villas or pavilions? If you meant villas... I have no idea because we stayed in Pavilion 103. If you mean pavilion, then the reason I didn't mention a butler or chef is because Amanpuri doesn't have that. Iniala does I believe. Amanpuri is a more traditional resort with public dining (unless you want to eat at your sala, in which case they will bring it to you).
Anlun is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 3, 18, 10:44 pm
  #44  
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: bay area, ca
Programs: UA plat, spg plat, aa plat, marriott plat
Posts: 2,805
Wow to the Peninsula - I have great memories of stays there in the first few years after they opened (when rooms were around $80/night!), but won't stay there again after this review (and I had been thinking about it). I'll just keep my happy memories intact.
What really astounds me further is their "non" response when they reached out to you after the review - just wrong, wrong, wrong!
estnet is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 18, 11:02 am
  #45  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: New York
Posts: 128
Originally Posted by estnet View Post
Wow to the Peninsula - I have great memories of stays there in the first few years after they opened (when rooms were around $80/night!), but won't stay there again after this review (and I had been thinking about it). I'll just keep my happy memories intact.
What really astounds me further is their "non" response when they reached out to you after the review - just wrong, wrong, wrong!
Agreed, the halcyon days of the Peninsula have long since past. I'm tempted to post my emails between me and them, but there's no point, except to assuage my anger. It was basically "I'm sorry you had a bad time ... but there was a wedding...that was no excuse, but sorry." I even followed up with her after that email to again express my disappointment and see if they would offer any form of recovery. Her response was that they regret my experience with the Peninsula was marred, but they will look introspectively at their actions and change for the future. Well... introspection is all well and good, but this isn't a Dickens novel. I didn't stay at the Peninsula to help them learn the errors of their way! Who the hell do I look like, the Ghost of Christmas yet to come?
Anlun is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: