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30. July 2021
by Varun Sharma
Simply put, Istanbul is one of the greatest travel destinations in the world. Millions of tourists flock to Turkey’s largest city every year – attracted by superb and historic attractions that include Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. The city straddles the Bosphorus Strait – which itself needs to be explored by boat.
Istanbul is blessed with a host of terrific luxury hotels – many of which line the banks of the Bosphorus. The properties mix both the Asian and Western influences that makes the city of Istanbul so unique.
The BusinessClass.com guide to the best hotels in Istanbul:
Çırağan Palace – Kempinski - 9/10
The Çırağan Palace is located on the European shores of the Bosphorus Sea and boasts stunning views across the water to the Asian coast; just a 20-minute drive from the Old City of Istanbul. The property was originally built as an Imperial Palace and home to Sultan Abdulaziz in 1867. The Çırağan Palace has evolved to become an iconic 5-star hotel, and part of the Kempinski Group. Accommodation is offered across a range of 310 rooms and suites and options include a Bosphorus view, spacious balconies and 24-hour personalised butler service. For a city location with a twist, the very special Park View Palace Suite overlooks Yildiz Park which was once the hunting forest of the sultans. All room categories include beautiful marble bathrooms, oversized bath towels, extensive pillow menu, complimentary Wi-Fi, and daily newspaper.
The hotel’s seven fantastic dining locations include Laledan Restaurant - with Arabic & Asian Sushi and the Legendary Çırağan Sunday Brunch, and the Bosphorus Grill which has a menu of meze, grilled meats, fish, and seafood served waterside with stunning views. From late afternoon sit surrounded by palm trees in Le Fumoir and choose from a selection of premium cognacs, single malts, and Champagnes. Outside, The 47 is a must-visit waterfront gin bar offering a stylish location to enjoy a cocktail. The hotel spa managed by SANITAS includes a Turkish bath, gym, heated outdoor infinity swimming pool and a menu of Turkish, Swedish, and Indian-inspired treatments.
Enjoy a unique elegant blend of contemporary luxury fused with Ottoman design less than 60-minutes from Istanbul Airport. This Four Seasons property is nestled on the banks of the Bosphorus and boasts a range of 170 guest rooms and suites, all light and airy, with a choice of impressive waterfront, garden, and city views. The hotel’s five restaurants include the seasonal pop-up Ocakbasi serving kebabs and mezze on the terrace and Anason 34 a traditional Turkish tavern. Aqua offers seafood dishes in a water-side location; Yali the popular lobby lounge for drinks, tea, and cocktails; Yasemin for delicious breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea.
The serene indoor swimming pool has elegant skylights which invite daylight to bathe the water. Outdoors the swimming pool is heated in cooler weather and offers stylish cabanas for relaxation – and is completed with views over the Bosphorus. Personal training is offered in the state-of-the-art fitness centre with a variety of cardio machines and free weights. Traditional Turkish relaxation is on offer in three Hammams and summer-time outdoor yoga classes take place on the terrace. Tennis courts are available just 15 minutes away and golf under an hour. Luxury Spa treatments from Sodashi and Biologique are complemented by an innovative offering of The Gharieni triple detox therapy “MLX i3Dome”.
Just 45-minutes from Istanbul Airport in the fashionable Nişantaşı district you will find Macka Palas. The hotel boasts a blend of historic architecture and Art Deco design. The hotel is within walking distance of many upscale designer fashion houses, as well as ultra-trendy bars and restaurants The property offers 90 guest rooms and suites and all guests enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi, tea and coffee facilities, ergonomic work areas and Bluetooth speaker controls. Five of the suites are furnished with their own spa to enjoy a traditional Turkish bathing experience in the privacy of your room.
The Lounge at Park Hyatt is swathed in natural daylight beneath a beautiful glass atrium and offers all day dining including specialist Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine. Guest can enjoy fine wines, cocktails and tapas at The Wine Bar or choose Nusr-Et Macka Palas restaurant a world-famous steakhouse overlooking the outdoor swimming pool, for premium meat dishes. For pampering, the Hotel Spa is available exclusively for hotel guests and offers a broad menu of treatments which blends traditions of Istanbul with modern Western techniques to ensure optimal wellness and relaxation. The Spa features two saunas, three luxurious treatment rooms and a relaxation area. Additionally, there is a 24/7 accessible fitness centre including high-tech equipment and a roof-top outdoor swimming pool.
Pera Palace - 9/10
Overlooking the Golden Horn, this historic hotel is located in the Tepebaşı district of Pera once known as the “Little Europe”. The Pera Palace was completed in 1895 and so began its journey. Its purpose was for hosting the passengers of the Orient Express and indeed Room 411 is named after Agatha Christie as it is claimed she wrote “Murder on the Orient Express” here. A unique blend of neo-classical exterior façade and an oriental interior, it has welcomed royalty and famous guests from around the world; notable names include Zsa Zsa Gabor, Greta Garbo, Alfred Hitchcock, and Jacqueline Kennedy; many of whom have suites named after them. There are 115 rooms and suites offering in-room amenities include a comfortable seating area, Wi-Fi, tea-maker, and bathrobes. Choose from sea, or city views.
At the Agatha Restaurant choose from French, Italian and Turkish cuisines. In the stunning Kubbeli Saloon Tea Lounge, a traditional English Afternoon Tea is served accompanied by piano music. Designed as a private lounge, Patisserie de Pera is the place to indulge in handmade chocolates, French cakes, and unique Turkish delicacies. Orient Bar is one of the iconic elements of the hotel with live music performances on Friday nights. The Orient Terrace is open for morning coffee, snacks, lunch, and cocktails – a beautiful location to enjoy the outdoors in Summertime.
Raffles Istanbul - 9/10
Located on the European side of the city in the Beşiktaş district, Raffles is attached to the Zorlu Centre which houses luxury, high fashion stores alongside art installations and performance venues. From its stunning vantage point just 40 kilometres from the international airport and with transport links to the Old Town and the Bosphorus, the property prides itself on being an oasis of calm and cool. The property features 185 rooms and suites and the hotel blends Turkish and contemporary design. Most feature walk-in closets and all have spacious bathrooms with separate bathtub and shows, floor to ceiling windows and a large furnished private terrace. Lighting and air-conditioning are controlled by an in-room tablet.
The extensive spa includes Turkish hammam, saunas, steam rooms, experience showers and ice fountains alongside a Technogym, yoga, and Pilate’s studio. The spa is a sizeable 3000 square metres in area! With seven bars and restaurants to choose from, guests can enjoy world-class Mediterranean gastronomy at Rocca Restaurant. Also, visit the lively Long Bar for drinks and light bites, Lavinia Lounge for afternoon tea, Five O’Clock for patisserie, or head to the Lounge 6 - pool-side balcony - for drinks and cocktails. Isyoko showcases the best of the East with: Japanese, Thai, Korean and Chinese dishes on offer.
The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul - 9/10
The property offers a choice of 243 rooms and suites - all of which have Turkish-inspired style and décor, feather beds and luxurious 300-thread-count linens. The oversized marble bathrooms are decorated with Iznik tiles and offer separate shower and bathtub as well as premium bath and skin care essentials, fluffy bathrobes, and slippers. If you bring your work with you, there is Wi-Fi and multi-line telephones with voicemail available.
Together the hotel’s restaurants and bars feature Bosphorus views, open-air seating, and winter terrace dining. Guests can chose from local and international wines and cuisine prepared with an emphasis on farm-to-tabledining. Guests can enjoy fine dining at Atelier Real, enjoy a relaxed outdoor lounge experience at the Bleu Lounge featuring a retractable glass roof for incredible views year-round. Choose Vakko L’Atelier for delightful French patisserie or Nobu for its iconic dishes. The Roof Kitchen is an open-air terrace, home to a sleek modern bar and a fantastic and refreshing rooftop pool, complete with sprawling sundecks. Here in the summer, guests enjoy a breath-taking infinity pool, in addition access to an indoor pool under a ceiling of twinkling lights. The Ritz Carlton Istanbul boasts the City’s first outdoor spa, complete with locally-inspired spa treatments, a Turkish hammam and indoor pool, a soaking tub, sauna, steam room and fitness centre.
Soho House - 8/10
The Istanbul House located in the heart of the Beyoğlu district - just over 30-minutes from the international airport - and is the former home of a Genoese merchant. Many original features of this unique home include fresco ceilings and historic wood panelling. The property has 87 bedrooms, including mezzanine rooms and an apartment, all set in a glass building and annex – that sits next to the palazzo. All rooms include complimentary wi-fi, flat screen television, mini bar, tea & coffee facilities, homemade biscuits, and a range of Cowshed products
Relax and enjoy food and beverages in the Main Bar with marble bar-top, leather stools and velvet seating, Dining Room is a cosy setting for evening meals, House Kitchen serves an international menu with local influences, Morning Room is a lounge area for all-day eating and drinking. Naavah Terrace an atmospheric seasonal outdoor dining location beautifully lit to enjoy summer evenings outdoors. For activity and pampering Cowshed Spa offers a range of natural therapies using products from the signature range, while the Neville barbershop provides men's grooming treatments; there's a blow-dry bar and a hammam. Gym users may choose from a selection of workouts including Muay Thai, Pilates, yoga, and circuits. Free weights and machines are by Technogym and include the Climb Excite, Skillmill and Cable stations. There is a boxing ring for sparring and personal training.
Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul is located just under an hour from the international airport in the Besiktas District between the Dolmabahçe Palace and the Maritime Museum. It sits on the European coast of the Bosphorus Strait and the hotel is close to the city’s key leisure and cultural attractions. The Dolmabahçe Palace was built for Ottoman sultans – and is definitely worth visiting and guests can also shop for contemporary luxuries at the upscale boutiques of Nisantasi. The hotel comprises of 186 elegantly designed guestrooms & suites which are characterised by contemporary décor with Asian highlights and many offer breath-taking views of the Bosphorus. All rooms include complimentary Wi-Fi, coffee / tea making facilities, pillow menu with hypoallergenic options, bathrobe and other luxury bathroom amenities. An arrival highlight is the Shangri-La Welcome Tea.
CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La incorporates Turkish Hammams, a fully equipped health club, heated indoor swimming pool and a children’s pool. There is also a jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. Dining options include Shang Palace – the culinary pride of Shangri-La - offering an array of traditional Cantonese delicacies both sweet and savoury and IST TOO – offering a menu of Turkish, Mediterranean, and Asian delights. The Lobby Lounge and Le Bar are both great places to stop for a quick snack or relax with a drink.
St. Regis Istanbul - 9/10
The St. Regis Istanbul can be found nestled in the cosmopolitan Nişantaşı district, surrounded by designer boutiques, luxury fashion brands and local eateries. Each of the 128 rooms and suites is complemented by Demsa Art Collection masterpieces; home-entertainment touches include a large television and iPod docking station; complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the property. The marble bathrooms boast separate bathtub and shower, double vanity, robe, and slippers. Signature St. Regis Butler Services are available for all rooms and suites; no request is too small or unattainable no matter the hour of the day.
Experience an exquisite rooftop dinner at Wolfgang Puck's acclaimed Spago which offers fine dining with a fresh Californian flair, this open-air patio offers superb views of the surrounding Art Nouveau architecture. A further outdoor dining experience can be found on the verdant terrace of St. Regis Brasserie. This is an all-occasion dining destination with Art Deco-inspired design, serving contemporary world and Turkish inspired cuisine. Iridium Spa hosts the state-of-art Exercise Room, lined with cardio and weight-lifting equipment, here a team of certified personal trainers is hand to give tips, motivation, and advice. Iridium Spa offers a tranquil setting, enhanced by soft candlelight, with expert therapists, and modern facilities including treatment rooms, three pools, hammams, a tea bar. The spa’s treatment menu comprises facials, body treatments, massages; performed with premier Ligne St. Barth and Elemis spa amenities and carefully tailored to meet personal needs.
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