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Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Istanbul Hotels / St Regis Hotels / Starwood Hotels / St. Regis Hotels / → All Tags
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.)
Hotel Delays / Istanbul Hotels / St. Regis Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / Raffles Hotels / Vicery Hotels / → All Tags
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.
Hotel Openings / Istanbul Hotels / Karakoy Hotels / Beyoglu Hotels / Boutique Hotels / Affordable Hotels / → All Tags
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.
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.
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.
Istanbul Hotels / Bosphorus Hotels / Waterfront Hotels / Hotel Architecture / Hotel Boats / Killer View / → All Tags
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.
Istanbul Week / Istanbul Hotels / Bosphorus Hotels / Sultanahmet Hotels / Beyoglu Hotels / Hotel Bars / → All Tags
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:
Istanbul Week / Istanbul Hotels / Bosphorus Hotels / Four Seasons Hotels / Kempinski Hotels / House Hotels / Radisson Blu Hotels / → All Tags
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 connections – what 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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View of the Bosphorus from Le Meridien in Levent
Introducing our newest hotel guide--HotelChatter's Must Stay Hotels--where we pick four hotels for four different types of travelers in a particular neighborhood of one major city. This is also a seasonal guide so the options may change depending on when you're going. Got a question about where to stay and when? Email us.
Looking for a hotel in Istanbul? You can troll online review sites, crowdsource on Facebook and comb through endless Best Hotels” lists but why do all that when we’ve done all the work for you already?
Istanbul is famously enormous – if spanning two continents wasn't enough, it also enjoys the largest urban sprawl in Europe – so location is key for getting the most out of your stay. If you’re going for work, you’re probably going to be spending most of your time well away from Beyoglu and Sultanahmet - you’ll be in the ‘business triangle’ north and east of Beyoglu that encompasses Levent, Besiktas and Sisli. Obviously these are all suitable for business, but some business hotels are more ‘business’ than others.