Turkey Travel Guide

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St Regis Istanbul is Finally Open, Taking You Back to the 1920s

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  Site Where: Mim Kemal Oke Cad No 35, Nisantasi Sisli, Istanbul, Turkey, 3436
March 26, 2015 at 9:00 AM | by | Comment (1)

It’s always the way. You wait for one jaw-dropping hotel to open in Istanbul, and then two come along at one.

Hot on the heels of Soho House, which opened the week before last, comes the St Regis, which has finally opened (if not with all its rooms) this month in the swanky Nisantasi neighborhood.

One new announcement – as well as the Brasserie restaurant we were expecting, there’s also a Spago – yes, a Wolfgang Puck Spago.

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Soho House Istanbul Is Open, Here Are the First Pictures

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  Site Where: EVLIYA ÇELEBI MAHALLESI MEŞRUTIYET CAD. NO:56, BEYOĞLU, Istanbul, Turkey, 34430
March 19, 2015 at 8:30 AM | by | Comments (3)

Mezzanine room

The time has come. Soho House Istanbul ever so quietly opened last week! There’s a gorgeous new website, with some incredible photos.

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.)

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The Aegean Sea Will Take Center Stage at Jumeirah's New Bodrum Hotel

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  Site Where: Bodrum, Turkey
March 6, 2015 at 9:16 AM | by | Comments (0)

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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St. Regis Istanbul Is Delayed Until March 1, But Photos Are Here

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  Site Where: Mim Kemal Oke Cad No 35, Nisantasi Sisli, Istanbul, Turkey, 34367
January 9, 2015 at 9:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

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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You Don't Have to Be a Banker to Stay at Istanbul's New Banker Han Hotel

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  Site Where: Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey
January 8, 2015 at 1:06 PM | by | Comments (0)

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.

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Stop Everything and Look at These Mindblowing Videos of Soho House Istanbul

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  Site Where: Beyoglu, Istanbul, Turkey
December 18, 2014 at 9:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

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.

Seriously, we just found footage of the new Soho House Istanbul. And all we can say is, if you thought the existing Soho House properties are good, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

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.)

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Istanbul's Mysterious New Public Hotel Is Not a Public Hotel

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  Site Where: İstiklal Caddesi, Turnacıbaşı Sokak, No 1, Beyoglu, Istanbul, Turkey
November 5, 2014 at 9:42 AM | by | Comments (0)

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.

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Morgans Is Opening Its First of Two Istanbul Hotels Next Month: 10 Karaköy

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  Site Where: Kemeraltı Caddesi No: 10 , Istanbul, Turkey, 34425 Kara
October 10, 2014 at 10:42 AM | by | Comment (1)

Now that Mondrian London at Sea Containers is officially open, Morgans Hotel Group is heading further east, with three out of its five hotels in the pipeline planned for one country: Turkey.

That includes a Delano for the seaside resort of Cesme (you may remember Four Seasons heading there too), and two hotels for Istanbul: another Mondrian and a property called 10 Karaköy, part of the group’s “Originals” collection, which is opening already on November 15.

Taking its name from the district it calls home, the hotel will have 71 rooms and suites inside its historic neoclassical building, ranging from Standard Queen (a rendering above) to Loft Terrace Suites and a Penthouse.

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Raffles Istanbul Is Open And We Demand Photos Immediately

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  Site Where: Zorlu Centre, Istanbul, Turkey
September 11, 2014 at 8:38 AM | by | Comments (2)

It’s been open since September 1, though Raffles Istanbul seems to have been hiding its light under a bushel – no real photos on the website, only coy shots of various details on Facebook, and a promise to a FB fan that they’ll be having a photoshoot later in September.

But we’ve just found this sneak preview article in Turkish, and all we can say is, please hurry up with that photoshoot, because this looks phenomenal.

OK, the lobby and the bar look pretty nice hotel standard, but look past the artfully posed reporter in picture number 5. Marble staircase, columns, chandeliers. Is it one of the “nearly 200 paintings, sculptures, photographs and video installations” mentioned (via Google Translate) in the article? Is it a mirror? A wall of glass? Is it – as is implied in the article – the spa (the largest in Istanbul)? We’re assuming it’s not real, since Raffles is a modern building, but these are questions to which we need answers.

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The Killer Views And Classy Rooms Of Istanbul's Sumahan on the Water

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  Site Where: Kulelí Caddesi No 43, Cengelkoy, Istanbul, Turkey
August 20, 2014 at 9:31 AM | by | Comments (0)


The house launch and the Bosphorus Bridge, from the garden at Sumahan

A converted alcohol factory on the Asian side of Istanbul, right on the bank of the Bosphorus. There’s little not to love about Sumahan on the Water, which we mentioned last week as one of our favorite Bosphorus hotels. Today, we’ll take you through the keyhole.

First impressions are key, of course, and Sumahan does a blinding one: it sends its wooden boat to fetch you at the little dock in Tophane, on the European side. From there, it’s a 15-20 minute chug up and across the Bosphorus to Çengelköy, where you’ll dock just beside the ground floor rooms.

Sumahan was designed by its Turkish-American architect owners, Nedret and Mark Butler (Nedret’s family originally owned the factory, and transforming the abandoned space was the subject of her thesis). You can tell it’s a labor of love: each of the 24 rooms is named after a different village around the Bosphorus, and a huge amount of thought has gone into the design.

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5 Of The Best Hotel Bars In Istanbul

Where: Istanbul, Turkey
August 15, 2014 at 9:34 AM | by | Comments (0)


The Golden Horn and Sultanahmet from Zelda Zonk

Istanbul Week continues! We’ve outlined your must-stay hotels in your major areas – Sultanahmet, or the Beyoglu and the business triangle – as well as where to stay on the Bosphorus. Today, we’ll wind up Istanbul Week with the best hotel bars, from rooftop clubs to posh patisseries. Here’s where to drink in Istanbul:

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5 Hotels With The Best Bosphorus Views in Istanbul

Where: Istanbul, Turkey
August 14, 2014 at 10:30 AM | by | Comment (1)


Kempinski Ciragan Palace

Istanbul Week continues! Your must-stay hotels in your major areas are all well and good, of course, but what if you don’t care about the tourist sites or the nightlife or your bizness connectionswhat if you just want to wake up to the Bosphorus outside your door?

The downside of staying on the Bosphorus – other than the premium prices – is that it’s slightly out of the way, so makes it longer to get to the sites/your meeting/that hot new restaurant everyone is talking about. The upside of staying on the Bosphorus is that it’s so bloody beautiful, you’re unlikely to stray from your hotel. The solution? Work out how many nights you want in the other locations, and then add at least one (ideally two) on the water. You won’t regret it.

Here are some of the best waterfront properties:

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