Istanbul is alive again with American Tourists and many new hotels are plotted on the banks of the Bosporus.
An impromptu invitation propelled me back to Istanbul in June, the city still dazzles. Istanbul is one of the most ancient cities in the world and the only city on the globe to be situated on two continents, straddling the Bosporus Strait in northwestern Turkey between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. A magical destination, Istanbul has a wealth of attractions from architecture, shopping, and delicious healthy dining. An ancient city with an unparalleled cultural heritage, truly a timeless charm. Since my last visit, many new five-star hotels have opened in Istanbul. Six Senses is plopped on the upper Bosporus, Raffles and the Fairmont have planted roots and The Mandarin has established a water side location.
The most dramatic arrival to the Four Seasons Hotel Bosporus is by yacht!! There are two Four Seasons Hotels in Istanbul, and the smaller property has just been refurbished. Two completely different properties in style and location. Four Seasons Hotel Sultanahmet, is a smaller property, but equally stunning.
Once a 19th Century Ottoman Palace, the Four Seasons on the Bosporus is a beautiful hotel with 141 rooms and 25 suites. Rooms are elegant and have been caringly preserved, leisure facilities are very luxurious, and the fantastic terrace at the front of the hotel is on the water’s edge with a docking berth. Relax here during the day and return to Aqua Terrace for cocktails and dinner. Watch the boats ply down the strait from the riverside infinity pool which is heated year around.
Only 20 mins from the center of the town, if you want to escape the city frenzy, this property is for you. The hotel is located just a few waterfronts up from the famous Dolmabahçe Palace, home of the last Ottoman sultans. It’s ideally situated for exploring both the opulent palace and other nearby sites, which include the superb Naval Museum, National Palaces, and the Painting Museum.
Staff are as attentive and efficient as you’d expect from a Four Seasons. The 24-hour concierge service is very convenient too. The indoor pool is delightful; its inventive geometric mosaic design and subtle lighting make for an atmospheric swim. There’s a large fitness complex complete with all the latest machines, and a restful wellness center with massage rooms, a beautiful Turkish bath and a sauna.
In the day, all our clients stayed in the elegant bedrooms. If you want authentic Ottoman style we will reserve a room in the Palace building – those looking onto the Bosporus have large, keyhole shaped floor-to-ceiling windows, high ceilings, soaking tubs in the luminous marble bathrooms. About a third of the hotel’s rooms have drop dead Bosporus views.
Four Seasons Hotel Sultanahmet is also a client favorite. Traditionally, our clients would arrive stay at the Four Seasons Bosporus, depart for a yacht Journey, and return to stay a few more days for last minute site seeing and check into the FS Sultanahmet in the heart of the old city. This luxurious hotel is created from a late-Ottoman era prison once used to incarcerate writers, artists, and other dissidents, though it has been so dazzlingly transformed you’d never guess.
Tucked into the maze of Istanbul’s old town, this petite jewel has only 64 rooms. The historic architecture fashions a variety of unique rooms nestled around a beautifully landscaped courtyard. The roof terrace offers sublime 360-degree panorama north and east over the Bosporus Strait to the hills of Asia, and south across the Sea of Marmara to the lovely Princes’ Islands. Despite its central location, to all the key sites, it is a wonderful place to unwind. Built in Turkish Neoclassical style in 1919, the hotel is all pointed arched windows, heavily overhanging eaves, and decorative tile panels. The focal point of the hotel is very much the courtyard, once the exercise yard for inmates, today a beautifully landscaped garden area centered on a polygonal pavilion that functions as the hotel’s breakfast room cum main restaurant. The gardens are heavy with the scent of jasmine, bougainvillea add a splash of vibrant color, and an herb garden provides fresh ingredients for the restaurant and delightful fragrances for guests. A tranquil sanctuary mere steps from the historic old city.
So hard to choose, why not stay in both! Highly Recommend!