Istanbul Travel Guide
Hotel News / Hotel Openings / St. Regis Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Raffles Hotels / Viceroy Hotels / Istanbul Hotels / → All Tags
Every hotel brand out there seems to muscle its way into the Istanbul scene at the moment, with St. Regis and Raffles both opening a brand new hotel just after the summer. While we were ready to include Viceroy on that list, when we checked its website a week ago it still said “early 2014”, but since has completely disappeared. Trouble in paradise?
Starting with confirmed openings, The St. Regis Istanbul (above) will be opening on October 15 in the city’s Nişantaşi neighborhood, on the European side of the Bosphorus strait. The hotel will have 118 rooms and suites, with four suites featuring “custom interiors by world-renowned designers”. All the usual features you’d expect will be here, including a rooftop restaurant, something very quintessentially Istanbul. Reservations aren’t open yet, but expect rates from €400 ($545) a night and up.
Google Glass Hotels / Google Glass / House Hotels / Istanbul Hotels / Killer View / Hotel Views / → All Tags
That view from the Penthouse
Focus on the positive. Focus on the positive. Focus on the positive. Ok… It’s great that a hotel is trying something new. We're all about hotel technology.
Time for the negative. By “trying something new” we mean posting a video of your hotel experience via Google Glass.
House Hotels, possibly our favorite chain in Istanbul, is pimping its newest property, Vault Karaköy, by way of this video. Not sure why they’ve picked on this one to endure the Glass treatment – possibly because Karaköy is Istanbul’s trendiest nabe – but for us, at least, it’s not conquering our Glass misgivings.
On the plus side, the hotel – which opened in March in an old bank facing the Galata Bridge – looks stunning, and the staff look suitably bashful in the face of Google Glass (0:18). So let’s focus on what’s to love: an old-style cage elevator (0:21), a whopping breakfast buffet (0:34), some lovely (original?) tiling (0:39) and a bathroom with a seriously OMG view (1:11).
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Hotel News / Room Mate Hotels / Istanbul Hotels / Beyoglu Hotels / → All Tags
“You have got a new friend in Istanbul” said the email that popped into our inbox yesterday. Good thing we didn’t click the spam button – it was from Room Mate Hotels, announcing their first place in Turkey will open 1 July.
Room Mate Kerem (so new, they have yet to put a face to the name*) will be in Beyoglu, a block up from pedestrianized shopping strip Istiklal Street, right by the British Consulate (a few minutes away from the Pera Palace).
It’s a historic building (of course – it’s Beyoglu) re-envisioned by designer Lázaro Rosa Violán, and the renderings look superb: a modern take on Art Deco, with lofty ceilings and oversized windows, lots of mirrors and glass to flood the lobby with light, and even a library and what looks like an antique display cabinet of glass and pottery. Drool over all the pictures here.
It's Friday. You know what you need to get you through the rest of the day? Cat pictures.
So without further ado, here are our current favorite hotel cats. These two, along with one other, reside at the Empress Zoe hotel in Istanbul: a one-of-a-kind boutique pad in Sultanahmet, just below Hagia Sophia.
All three are former street cats who walked in one day and never left. (Istanbul is all about the street cats.) They aren't BFFs with each other; but, luckily for you, they are with the guests. Cuddling opportunities, should you be so minded, are unlimited.
The answer to our question when Philippe Starck’s yoo Hotels would make its debut is here: January 2014. Just last week, yoo2 Taksim Square opened the doors to its 59 rooms and suites in the heart of Istanbul, across from Gezi Park.
Yoo2 is the more affordable of two yoo Hotel brands, with yoo Collection aimed at the luxury market. While we heard last year that Acqua Boracay in the Philippines would be the first yoo Collection hotel to open (in 2015), it is not listed in the directory of upcoming hotels, though a separate website is very much up and running. Additional projects include will include yoo Collection Lepang, Bali, yoo Collection in the British Cotswolds, and yoo2 Sinapati, Jakarta - all scheduled for 2016.
Hotel Openings / Turkey Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Spas / Shangri-La Hotels / Istanbul Hotels / → All Tags
With plenty of new hotels heating up the scene in Turkey (Fairmont, Nikki Beach Resort, Four Seasons, to name but a few), it's no surprise that Shangri-La's shrewd crew of hotel planners wanted to plant their flag as well.
Over the weekend, the gorgeous Shangri-La Bosphorus officially opened its doors, with 186 guest rooms, a spa, and a three-story dome-shaped atrium capped with a skylight as well as a "massive Bohemian chandelier that rains crystals for two storeys." Oh, those Turks.
Fairmont announced this week that its first location in Istanbul, the Fairmont Quasar, will open in 2016 as part of a mixed development complex in the Sisli District (near the Trump Towers). Two 41-story towers will house the 210-room hotel along with leisure, commercial, and residential units, including four stories of office space and luxury retail at the base of the complex.
Both the hotel and the residences will be managed by Fairmont Hotel and Resorts, and the owners will be awarded VIP status and privileges at Fairmont properties around the world as an extra perk of ownership. For leisure guests, the hotel will feature a Fairmont Gold club level, several restaurants, 2,000 square meters of function space, and a Willow Stream Spa.
The Fairmont Quasar is the most recent project to be announced by the brand in the Black Sea region, joining the recently opened Fairmont Kyiv in Ukraine, the Fairmont Baku in Azerbaijan (opening spring 2013) and the Fairmont Pekin in Moscow (opening 2016).
The bulk of Shangri-La’s proliferating hotel portfolio might be in China (54 locations and counting), but this year will see two major openings in Europe, tripling the group’s presence on the continent, which currently is limited to Paris. A lot of the attention is going to the much-hyped Shangri-La at the Shard, but if all goes as planned, Istanbul will beat London to the punch with the arrival of the Shangri-La Bosphorus in May .
Right on the edge of the Bosphorus strait, on the European side of the city, the hotel is housed in a former tobacco factory and warehouse from the 1930s. How do you fit 186 of the city’s most spacious guest rooms and all the luxury facilities of a Shangri-La hotel into an historic seven-story building while protecting its landmark facade? You go underground, digging a hole seven stories deep (or six, depending on where you look on the hotel’s website; we hope they’re not still figuring that one out).
The new Hilton will be close to this museum
Something’s going on in Turkey these days, with hotels announcing openings every month (or so it seems...). Now, Hilton Worldwide has announced that a new Hilton will be opening in Istanbul in 2013 around the the late summer/early fall period.
The Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel & Conference Center is, right now, set to be the largest hotel in this bustling city with 829 rooms. 829! That’s a lot of heads on beds for a city that’s not Vegas.
Still, Hilton is strategically opening up properties in the area. The Hilton Istanbul Bomonti will be their sixth hotel in Turkey, with the most recent hotel opening being their first ever dual branded property –- the Hilton Bursa Hotel & Convention Center and Hampton by Hilton Bursa.
No, it’s not, and more than that, it’s a treatment that challenges your sense of personal space.
But let’s start at the beginning. During our recent trip to Istanbul this year, it seemed that it would almost be a crime to not have a Turkish hamam in Turkey. So we headed to the Amrita Spa at the five-star Swissotel The Bosphorus hotel.
With a health club and indoor pool attached, we knew that this spa was a good choice because it was filled with locals as well as tourists. There was already a good vibe at the check-in counter, where you could see a dimly-lit pool within the inner sanctum of the spa. With our escort, we walked deeper inside until we reached the changing room with all its many amenities: showers, sauna, private rooms, etc. Once we were wrapped in our towels for modesty’s sake and ushered into the hamam, our coverings were removed and modesty was now forever damned. This was the exact point when the hamam experience became interesting.
There are some pretty swanky hotels found across this great big world, and Swissôtel Living in Istanbul is definitely one of them.
Swissôtel chose to launch their new extended stay concept hotel in cosmopolitan Istanbul, whose vibrant history is engraved in its culture. But as important as its traditions still are, Istanbul is definitely not a city stuck in the past, as evidenced by the makeover of this former residence and office rental building. Before the company took over the management of the property, located right beside its five-star Swissôtel The Bosphorus, the place was badly in need of a reno. After a top-to-bottom gut a la Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, it opened as the über-modern and luxe Swissôtel Living.
Over on Jaunted, you can get our inside looks at some of the world’s best airline lounges, so we thought we’d do something similar here and start talking about some of the hotel lounges we’ve frequented lately for our series on Hotel Club Lounges. Today, HotelChatter contributor Eric Rosen takes us along with him to the Club Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton Istanbul.
Though the regular service at an upscale property like the Ritz-Carlton Istanbul is often impeccable, getting a Club Level room here confers a host of added benefits and perks. The hotel has dedicated Club Level floors on the 11, 12 and 14 stories, but guests staying in rooms on other floors can also obtain club access for a premium fee added onto the room rate (about 65 euros per day, from what we can tell from the online reservations system).