I remember that hotel for two reasons. One was because the name was hard to remember -- let alone pronounce -- at the business end of the evening. I remember pouring myself into a taxi one night and asking the driver to take me to the "Penkinski pleasshh"!
However, the main reason I remember the original Kempinksi was because it was the first hotel I'd stayed in which provided an in-room DVD player as part of the standard kit. Wow! (This is probably around 1995???)
Glad to report the new improved hotel, the Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok, is every bit on the cutting-edge of gadgetry today with an integrated media system which links TV, CD and can be used as an internet monitor too. They also give you 2 free movies per day.
The sound system is GREAT (and sincere apologies to guests in the rest of the Royal Wing). I cranked it up big time, listening to some new CDs I'd bought. The integrated set also does many other whizzy things which I didn't have the time to figure out and use, although I did wonder why it didn't include an iPod dock in addition to its own library of tunes.
Good news: the contents of the mini-bar is free. Yes, read my lips: F.R.E.E. Eat and drink whatever you find in it without having to call your bank manager first.
So much for the toys. The vibe of the Kempinksi is grand indeed with artful Siamese touches. Four thousand of them to be precise, jing jing.
"Every piece is specially done ... you cannot buy at JJ Market," laughs the hotel's sales guy. 30 Thai artists and 200 original pieces are displayed in the hotel. "It's like walking into an art gallery 24 hours a day."
In the lobby, 10m long gold Thai fingernails adorn columns. A vase of peacock feathers so pompous it would put the Raj in India to shame. Back-lit alabaster marble in quantities so vast you wonder if there's any hillsides left in Italy whence it comes. A giant lotus sculpture also dominates the lobby, testament to the origins of this block of prime city land which was a lotus pond before.
Where is it? Good question: directly adjacent the stylish Siam Paragon shopping centre downtown. Perfect! That's a lot easier to tell taxi drivers than "Penkinski".
Read more about the 'Penkinski' here: http://www.kempinski.com/en/bangkok