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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.
YOO Hotels / Philippe Starck / Istanbul Hotels / Philippines Hotels / Tuscany Hotels / Cotswolds Hotels / Phuket Hotels / Bali Hotels / Portugal HotelsYOO2 Hotels / → All Tags
Well, that didn’t go as planned. Early last year, we were happy to see that Philippe Starck’s YOO Hotels was making its proper debut in Istanbul (half a decade after we first learned about the brand, mind). That was Yoo2 Taksim Square, with Yoo2 being the more affordable branch of YOO Hotels, as opposed to more luxury-oriented YOO Collection. Debut or not, we’re back to square one: Yoo2 Istanbul is no more (it’s now part of a local group called the Avantgarde Collection), and the line-up of future hotels has gone through a reshuffle as well.
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We’ve not heard a huge amount about Curio Collection since Hilton announced its “collection of originals”, but this month’s news is that the collection is planning its first two European hotels, with Istanbul and Hamburg to make their curious debut.
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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.)
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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.
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.
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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.