Turkey Travel Guide
A suite at the Peninsula Paris
Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, owner of the Peninsula hotels, will spend €150 million to develop a hotel in Istanbul with two Turkish partners, the company said in an announcement to the stock exchange on Tuesday.
The project, subject to approval, will entail an estimated total investment of €300 million and will be equally owned by Peninsula Istanbul Holdings and SLI, a joint venture between Turkish group Dogus Holding and private equity fund BLG.
The hotel will be built in the Salıpazarı Port located in the historic Karaköy area overlooking the Bosphorus strait between Europe and Asia, according to the announcement.
It was three years ago that we told you about the unlikely existence of a Japanese resort the size of Monaco that is modeled after a 17th century Dutch town. Built in honor of the shared history between Nagasaki and the Netherlands, it houses an Okura Hotel that is a (liberal) recreation of the central railway station in Amsterdam, which in turn is the only European city that is home to an Okura Hotel.
Not for long though, with the announcement this week that Okura will open another European resort in 2017, if on the bridge with Asia: Okura Spa & Resort Cappadocia, in Turkey. Cappadocia is a region with a rich past (read more about it here) and UNESCO World Heritage Site, “best known for its unique moon-like landscape, underground cities, cave churches and houses carved from stone”.
The 130-room resort will be built near Mustafapaşa, an historic town, and will not be the only presence in Turkey: Okura is planning hotels in Ankara and Istanbul as well, as part of an overall ambition to grow to 100 hotels worldwide (we included a property on our list for Manila just yesterday).
Now that your application is under review for one great job why not focus your attention on another? After all, it never hurts to have a couple different options from which to choose. This time it’s the title of Chief Instagram Officer, so if you think you have what it takes to be a solid CIO—if only for a week—better spend some time thinking about how to impress the decision makers over at Hillside Beach Club on Turkey's Dalaman coast.
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Another day, another smashing hotel opening. Today it’s the turn of the Murat Reis in Ayvalik, Turkey - a project so new that the website is still under construction.
The hotel has opened with 91 rooms for a look that it describes as “modern with a Mediterranean accent”. And it’s pretty lush and beach-ready – look at those Travertine floors and matching headboards, the striped linen (why do we never see striped linen in hotels?) and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the beach.
The JW Marriott Bodrum, which opens May 15, will be just outside Bodrum proper (no real sacrifice), in Yalikavak. It has 107 rooms, all with views of the Aegean Sea, as well as seven villas, most of which have their own pools.
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It’s always the way. You wait for one jaw-dropping hotel to open in Istanbul, and then two come along at one.
One new announcement – as well as the Brasserie restaurant we were expecting, there’s also a Spago – yes, a Wolfgang Puck Spago.
The rooms are booking up fast - though there's been no official announcement yet, we called yesterday to be told that this weekend was fully sold out. The first date they had available was Sunday – 22 March. For non-members, the starting rate is €200 + 8% tax. That’s a March special offer, for one of the small rooms – they won’t guarantee a room type until check in, but it could be a Tiny, Small or Small Plus room. (Rates for members are lower – they start at €150.)
Bodrum is one of Turkey’s best loved beach resorts. As such, it’s full of hotels – sleek hotels. Remember the Mandarin Oriental that opened last summer? Those dreamy pics are burned on the back of our eyeballs. And now Jumeirah is jumping into the mix.
The hotel that’s currently the Golden Savoy will become the Jumeirah Bodrum Palace Hotel on May 1 this year. There will be 135 rooms – or, rather, suites and villas rather than rooms. All have views over the Aegean Sea – the resort is laid out in a semicircle around headland 10 minutes from Bodrum proper. (Probably not a bad thing, since Bodrum proper is a busy place.) No pictures yet, but this is going to be a place that’s all about the views. Oh, and the pools – all 57 of them. Though “the majority” are private ones for the villas.
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We optimistically wrote in June last year that both Raffles and St. Regis would be opening an Istanbul hotel before the year was out (and questioned what was happening with Viceroy as well). Raffles may have made good on that promise, but St. Regis Istanbul certainly didn’t: the hotel is now delayed until March 1 (at least).
As a consolation prize, we do have some actual photos from inside the hotel, which will have 118 rooms and suites in the Nisantasi neighborhood. Above a Superior Room, starting at 450+ sq ft. While the overall style is fairly inoffensive luxury, there is some interesting art on the walls, and bathrooms strike a bit bolder note – check it out below.
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Let’s not let the sad news from yesterday put us off. Istanbul is one of the most wonderful cities in the world, and one of the best for the independent hotel scene. And when it comes to independent hotels, Karaköy is swiftly becoming the place to be.
The latest to hit the Bosphorus is the Banker Han, opening in April. It’s a new sibling for the Sofa Hotel, a boutique joint in Nisantasi, and it’s taking over a rundown street art centre, so it has cred on two counts, even without a website.
Sometimes a property comes along that is so mindblowingly different, superlatively amazing and completely unique that all you can do is let that mouth of yours fall unattractively open. This is one of those times.
It’s going to be the biggest property so far, with a whopping 87 bedrooms, Cecconi’s restaurant with “courtyard garden”, two – yes, two – rooftop pools (of which one at least is overlooking the Bosphorus, according to the video) and a nightclub, as well as the screening room, gym and Cowshed spa you’d expect.
But by far the best bit is the building itself: Palazzo Corpi in Beyoğlu, built in 1882 for a Genoese family, and then taken over (uh, quelle surprise?) by the US consulate 25 years later – the first US-owned diplomatic premises in the world (more on the US links here #history). Look at this video we stumbled on (ok, we didn't stumble, we were doing a pretty thorough stalking job on the property) – and be prepared to be wowed. (Sorry, privacy settings mean it's viewable but not embeddable.)
The email came from a tipster. “Public Hotel Istanbul”, it said. A five star hotel opening on Istiklal Caddesi in Beyoglu. We squealed with delight – Public comes to Istanbul! A quick google shows it’s not, but Schrager or no Schrager, this is still a fascinating project.
There's infuriatingly little info about the hotel, but our tipster told us it was about to open when he went past, and that it was a $20m renovation project. The website seems to be in Turkish only, but Google Translate (which is really hard to decipher here) makes it a 19th-century building, originally owned by a woman related to Egyptian Ottoman statesman, Abbas Halim Pasha. It describes it as a blend of neoclassical and Ottoman architecture.
Istanbul is, of course, one of the world's best cities for boutique hotels, so the old building has been meticulously brought up to date. The website describes it as a "HIP most exclusive hotel" - we're wondering whether this means a forthcoming partnership with HIP Hotels, though there's no mention of it on their website yet. There will be 51 high-ceilinged rooms and seven suites, decorated in a neoclassical meets art nouveau style (some of them have stucco ceilings), although they've been kitted out with retro touches, like Smeg fridges, and modern fixtures like a tech hub. Bathrooms have L'Occitane smells, Seljuk tiles and Philippe Starck fittings. No photos yet, other than these background ones from the website.