Bangkok Old and New
Bangkok continues to evolve with new world creativity blending with heritage culture. Old and new are very much what make Bangkok so exciting and diverse. The old and busy Charoenkrung Road strip is increasing in its modern and trendy appeal amongst the younger, hip crowds with the eagerly awaited opening of superstar architect’s Duangrit Bunnag’s transformational Warehouse 30 project.
The area is being given a much needed revival. But along the strip also lie some long loved establishments. So, it was an unexpected pleasure to be invited by The Peninsula Bangkok to experience their facial treatments at their famed spa. With a select number of prestigious hotels across the world, The Peninsula name is long synonymous with classic luxury and service. Topping the Forbes travel guide for Bangkok, I was looking forward to experiencing their established glamour that is loved by both locals and visitors alike.
The Peninsula Bangkok: a hidden haven on the Chao Praya
Set away from the The Peninsula has created an oasis within the chaotic city, holding a prominent position on the Chaopraya River. The moment you set foot on The Peninsula path, you are transported to a regal resort environment.
I was greeted by a very welcoming team. The Spa serves as a proud ambassador to Biologique Recherché brand: a French, natural based cosmeceutical brand promising clinical skincare results. Having been hyped by models and celebrities - including Brad Pitt (yes, gentlemen, do try to take a little care of your skin too) - this was my first introduction to the brand. If you’re looking for flowery “pretty” products, these are the antithesis: There are some very pungent formulations, notably the foundational product, the P50 Enzyme peeling lotion which is derived from onions. Biologique Recherché are going for results, not decorative bathroom trophies.
They have a very experienced team here. Khun Nancy has been delivering facial services at The Peninsula for 10 years: her own skin (and the entire team for that matter) is proof of her own work. A thorough skin analysis was performed using electronic gadgetry to determine ratings for hydration, elasticity, pigmentation, sebhorroeic activity etc. They took time to understand my personal concerns. For someone continuously working on improving the condition of my skin post severe acne they said, overall, my skin was in good condition - always nice to hear - albeit now on the dry side (that’s living in Asian humidity for you - you can turn into an oil slick but simultaneously have all the water sapped from the surface layers of your skin). Khun Nancy opted to perform a tailor made Double Booster facial, with selected targeted serums and powders to exfoliate, hydrate, and rev up the circulation in my skin. This fitted the theme of my current trip nicely, as I had been having a series of acupuncture and cupping therapies for circulation improvement at the nearby Hua Chiew Royal Chinese hospital.
Along a flower-filled pathway stood the traditional Spa Treatment house crafted from dark and ornamental woods. To begin, I was served a delicious ginger, lemongrass and cinnamon tea to kick start hydration and circulation. The treatments rooms was nothing short of beautiful, a low-lit private haven with a soaking tub, candles and brass ornaments.
Biologique Recherché - Smells like Onions, Does Wonderous Things
The heated massage table instantly sent me into a relaxed mood. This was to be an in-depth process taking an hour an a half. A double cleanse incorporated the use of the infamous P50 enzyme peel to exfoliate and rebalance the PH levels of the skin (yes, it really does smell like fermented onions). An oxygenating and detoxifying mask was applied for a facial massage before the next very interesting step: using a mix of exfoliating powder and a milk, the skin was “buffed” with a brisk stroking-come-pinching action from the neck all the way up the face. This technique not only exfoliates but stimulates the microcirculation of the skin. Needless to say, it is mildly uncomfortable at first but the rhythmical action soon became quite enjoyable. So much so, that I actually drifted off at one point and hadn't realised this segment had finished. I re-awoke to a soothing neck and shoulder massage whilst my skin absorbed another set of treatments serums. A multiple series of finishing serums were applied.
She handed me a mirror with a proud smile - even in the low light, my face had taken on a juicy glow. I was truly impressed. I drank a whole fresh coconut to hydrate inside-out whilst appreciating the new-found bounciness in my skin.
As I stepped out into the evening light, I felt like I was on a retreat. The spa is full of facilities for you to enjoy - marble plunge pools, saunas and showers, and gardens to stroll in. The spa sits behind the hotel’s beautiful riverside pool, ordained with bright flowers and Thai style cabanas, the mighty river and it’s striking array of architecture in full glory on the horizon.
Feel Good Sunrise to Sunset
The Peninsula prioritise wellbeing for its guests: every Wednesday they host outdoor Sunset Yoga, and every Saturday you can be part of their specially organised trips to the oldest Chinese Temple in Bangkok, a little way along the river, for Sunrise Yoga sessions and blessings by the temple monks (every morning at 7:30am, in fact, you can also bring food basket donations for the local monks). Workshops for meditation, breathing, and holistic health and wellness are also frequently organised. The grounds also host their own Thai herb garden, making for the freshest ingredients at their riverside restaurant. Hours can be spent in these lush surrounds just watching the river taxis shuttle throngs of people and the large ships chugging along with all manner of goods. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, the sunsets over Bangkok are the kind that will stay in your heart forever and it was both peaceful and energising to be soaking up the evening rays here.
It was my time to leave and head back into the city night lights. So, onto the private Peninsula river boat I hopped to cross over the Chaopraya, with a glow on my face and a serenity in my step.
Biologique Recherché Custom Double Booster Facial at The Spa, The Peninsula, Bangkok. From TBH6500++
Photography © Tiffany Soithongsuk