The interior, with its high ceilings, vertiginous balconies and vast marble and teak-panelled lobby, is no less imposing. The grit and grime of Bangkok seem light years away as you are beckoned into a world of scrupulously polished floors, gargantuan chandeliers and flower arrangements the size of Christmas trees.
The areas in which the Peninsula really excels, however, are food and service. The hotel has three restaurants offering Cantonese, Pacific Rim and Thai cuisines. We happily gorged ourselves in each, though by far the best was the candle-lit Thiptara restaurant, situated under a series of salas (open-air teak pavilions) on the candle-lit river terrace, serving some of the most delicious Thai food I have ever eaten. I would gladly make the journey back just for the deep-fried morning glory with chilli prawns.
333 Charoennakorn Road, Klongsan, Bangkok 10600, Thailand (00 66 2 861 2888; www.bangkok.peninsula.com).
Time to international airport: The Peninsula is a 35-minute drive from the airport. The hotel offers a complimentary pick-up on arrival. The Peninsula also has a fleet of old-style wooden boats, which will ferry you across the river whenever you need them.
The hotel's 370 rooms are a lot cosier than you might expect. All are decorated in understated creams and browns and come with thick pile carpets and pristine Egyptian cotton bedlinen. The rooms all face the same way, ensuring guests get the best views of the city.
Freebies: A basket of fruit and a jug of freshly squeezed orange juice upon arrival and the bathrooms are stocked with reassuringly expensive-looking toiletries. Anything else you might need, from stamps and postcards to silk scarves, can be bought in Jim Thompson's shop in the lobby.
Keeping in touch: All rooms have satellite TV, fax machines and modem sockets for personal computers. The bathrooms also have hands-free telephones and a built-in TV at the foot of the bathtub with a special mist-free screen.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Rooms start at $260 (£145). The Terrace Suite with roof terrace and outdoor Jacuzzi will set you back $1,200 (£665).
I'm not paying that: In that case try Buddy Lodge (265 Khaosan Road, Taladyod, Pranakorn Bangkok; 00 66 2 629 4477), a stylish mid-range boutique hotel in the Khaosan Road area. Rooms start at $51 (£28).