Turkey Travel Guide
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HELLO LOVER. Forgive us for drooling, but how gorgeous does this rooftop terrace look? Good enough to make us want to book a (one-way) ticket to Bodrum, where this arrival deck will welcome you to the just-opened Mandarin Oriental Bodrum and the appropriately named Cennet Koyu, or Paradise Bay.
There are 109 rooms and suites overlooking the Aegean Sea, all with enough room to roam around in, given that they start at over 700 square feet. Outdoor space is something else they have in common, whether it’s a balcony or actual garden with private infinity-edge pool.
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.
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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).
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“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.
Welcome to Funky Friday, a new segment we’re trying out which features one photo that we think singularly expresses a hotel’s inner psyche. We look for – and find a lot of – wacky, wild and wondrous designs that seem to have one thing in common: a Type A personality. So why not have a bit of fun as we all wrap up our week by taking a quick look at some hotels that quite frankly, want our attention.
We kick off Funky Friday in the lobby of Le Méridien Istanbul Etiler. It’s kind of hard not to notice the larger-than-life starburst patterns, created by artist Mustafa Hulusi. While we cannot say for certain what the meaning is behind this stroll down psychedelic lane, one clue may lie in that Hulusi himself couldn’t come up with a name for his work (“Untitled”).
Whatever the artist’s intentions may be, Le Méridien Istanbul Etiler clearly want modern art of be a part of the guest experience. The hotel has partnered with Istanbul Museum of Modern Art in their "UnlockArt" program and offer free entrance to guests who present their room key. (This program is actually in effect at all Le Méridien hotels.)
Now, stare straight into the center of any starburst and repeat to yourself, “I love HotelChatter.com and recommend it to everyone I meet …I love HotelChatter.com and recommend it to everyone I meet.” Feel better?
[Photo: Le Méridien Istanbul/Facebook]
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.
Okay, it won't be too much of a secret now but we just need to spread the word that Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay has released some perfect new spa treatments geared toward men. That's right, us guys finally get to experience the good stuff when it comes to a little pampering and rejuvenation while on vacation.
Nestled on the cliffs overlooking pristine Barbaros Bay, the hotel helps you forget all the dramas at home, regardless of gender. An idyllic spot for the utmost R&R can only be made better with a trip (or two) to the spa that sports the same views of the sun-bleached beaches and sparkling Mediterranean waters.
Men can choose from a three-hour, 40 minute series of treatments that are male-friendly and just "fussy ' enough. First things first, a typical Turkish treatment known as a Hammam cleansing with Kese scrub that is considered the heritage of the Ottoman Empire to open pores and exfoliate the body. From there, the boys will head off into a deep tissue massage, then facial, finishing off with a mani and pedi. (sans polish, of course)
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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).
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A couple of things need to be said here: One, wow -- Turkey is on fire right now, and two – so is this Miami-based hotel brand. Nikki Beach Hotels & Resorts likes a good beach party, and soon you’ll be able to join the revelry and then sleep over in not only Bodrum, Turkey, but in Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Thailand and Lebanon as well.
But back to Turkey, where this boutique hotelier, who also has a host of Beach Clubs that specialize in catering to swanky sophisticates who take their enjoyment of life very seriously, has announced that they’re opening the Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Bodrum in early spring 2014.
Bodrum is about 500 miles south of Istanbul, and people can get downright poetic about the beautiful bays of Torba and Türkbükü and the whitewashed quaintness of the city’s buildings. But don’t be fooled; at night it sheds its innocent demeanor and becomes party-central. The Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Bodrum will open on the shores of Torba, only about four miles from Bodrum’s city center if you should feel the need to ever leave the resort.
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The newest hotel to join Relais & Chateaux isn't actually that new at all—in fact, it's made up of dozens of caves and stone dwellings that date back thousands of years. As you can see from the photo above, Museum Hotel in Cappadocia, Turkey is a modern, luxury five-star property with seriously old roots.
The entire renovation project took four years, and there are even some nifty photos on the hotel's website showing the dramatic transformation from archaeological site (apparently, the Hittites, Persians, Romans and Ottomans all dwelled here at one point) to a 30-room boutique hotel, complete with restaurant, bar and outdoor pool.