In the late 1980’s, The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited (HSH), parent company of the Peninsula brand, were keen to develop a hotel in Bangkok.
They had built and opened a hotel almost 10 years earlier, but then left that property due to uncertainties in the Thai hotel market. The late 80’s brought a more favourable market and a deal was found with a local JV partner for a good-sized piece of property on the Chaophraya River.
HSH had also just gone through internal restructuring to make its development efforts more robust. The Design & Planning teams were strengthened, Standards updated. As part of that effort, Miller headed an initiative to develop a typical room module wider than most in the luxury hotel industry. A generous 50 SqM module offered greater exterior wall to take advantage of views, and the space for a walk-in Dressing Room, (instead of the standard line of closets), aligned with a spacious 5-fixture bathroom.
A Design Brief was assembled and put out to an international design competition. BBG from New York was selected for their design, which captured a modern high-rise sense of Thailand, and got river views for everyone room. The “W-shaped”, single-loaded plan managed to create a reasonably structurally-efficient version of a 40-story tower. This also supported the site allocation of low-rise Ballroom, open Lawn for Events along the river, and an adjacent parcel across the klong developed with a 75-meter, 3-tiered Pool.
Interiors developed by Texeira from Los Angeles involved extensive detailing and coordination of millwork with Peninsula’s luxurious operational features. To avoid import limitations (at the time) on stone, typical bathrooms were detailed utilizing a specially-developed man-made marble agglomerate from Spain. The traditional Peninsula Lobby, serving high tea in Hong Kong, was reinterpreted in a dramatic, high-ceiling octagonal space overlooking the Lawn and the majestic Chaophraya.
The combination of site planning, rich landscaping, dramatic architecture and luxurious interiors created what has now long been known as the elegant urban resort on the Chaophraya River.