A SENSORY JOURNEY AT THE WATER’S EDGE: SHANGRI-LA BOSPHORUS, ISTANBUL DAZZLES
Istanbul’s Newest Luxury Hotel Opens May 11
Istanbul welcomes its newest luxury hotel this week with the opening of the Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul on May 11. The opulent 186-room hotel is the second in Europe for Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, which hails from the other city where East famously meets West, Hong Kong. Shangri-La brought its inimitable Asian “hospitality from the heart” to Paris in 2010 to rave reviews and now adds Istanbul to its growing list of international gateway cities.
Set on the European side of the Bosphorus Strait between the Dolmabahce Palace and Naval Museum, Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul overlooks the unfolding panorama of Istanbul’s domes and minarets and the green hills of the city’s Asian shores. It is located on the site of a former tobacco warehouse from the 1930s, whose six-story Neo-Classical façade has been restored. Two carefully preserved 150- and 350-year-old Sycamore trees stand in the courtyard .
Inside, the Shangri-La is a modern oasis. The hotel takes design cues from the glamorous Dolmabahce Palace with swaths of marble, glittering chandeliers and a mix of European, Asian and Turkish design. A grand staircase winds down the hotel’s three-story atrium, transporting guests from the lobby to the elegant ballrooms and other venues below.
Dazzling to behold, the dome-shaped atrium is lit by a natural skylight and massive Bohemian chandelier that rains crystals nearly two stories. Also decorating the atrium is The Garden of Peach Blossoms, a stunning 18-meter-tall (59-feet-tall) silk painting, which was commissioned for the hotel. The hotel showcases more than 1,000 pieces of European and Asian art. Located behind the reception desk is an exquisite southern Chinese lacquered carving depicting a Bosphorus water scene.
The grand lobby flows into the Lobby Lounge, where classic European bespoke furniture and plush sofas are arranged to create intimate seating areas. Guests can relax to the sound of classical or jazz music and enjoy house-made pastries and more than 100 types of Chinese teas poured by the hotel’s tea master. Adjacent to the lounge, Le Bar is a jewel box set off by a stone wall serving traditional cocktails and spirits, plus tapas and mezzes.
In guestrooms, the rich teal and cream color scheme is elegant and soothing. The hotel’s guestrooms are the most spacious in Istanbul (ranging from 42 to 60 square meters, 452 to 646 square feet), and the majority offer dazzling Bosphorus views. The 186 rooms are outfitted with every amenity expected of a five-star hotel and provide Shangri-La’s free high-speed broadband Internet. Artists from the East and West were engaged to create pieces inspired by the Istanbul scenery for the guestrooms, and the bathrooms are decked in dramatic Turkish marble complete with heated floors and Bulgari bath amenities.
Nearly all of the hotel’s 17 suites have private terraces offering beautiful Bosphorus vistas. The ultimate indulgence is the Shangri-La Suite, which has three terraces overlooking the old city of Sultanahmet, Asian shore of Anatolia and the Bosphorus Bridge.
On the same level as the lobby is the hotel’s speciality restaurant, IST TOO. Set against the backdrop of a Bosphorus view, rose gold floor lamps and spherical ceiling pendants light the restaurant’s wide expanse of Turkish marble and custom-made dark chocolate oak furnishings upholstered in hues of taupe, burnt orange and mineral blue. Semi-private dining enclaves are carved out by timber portals, while chestnut-colored leather banquettes stretch along the wall seating those who prefer to be in the mix. Matching the vibrant design is an all-day dining menu of world cuisine, including Japanese, Southeast Asian, Mediterranean and Turkish. IST TOO is a feast for the eyes with a sushi bar; vast wine salon with full-height, glazed wine cabinets; a noodle station with a Chinese chef pulling noodles, and an open kitchen where chefs cook over the 12-meter (39-foot) grill.
One floor down from IST TOO is the hotel’s signature Shang Palace restaurant, where chefs from China prepare delectable Chinese cuisine and carve Peking Duck tableside while the Kung Fu tea master pours tea. Inspired by the sculptural beauty of historical Chinese courtyards, the restaurant unfolds into four contemporary dining chambers. Upon arrival, an inverted “pagoda” structure appears to float overhead. Facing the entrance, a series of curved walls composed of green hand-crafted Chinese roof tiles provides drama and texture.
In the main Amber Chamber, curved banquettes and bespoke glass wall lamps set off by timber shelves and antique gold metallic lattice screens create a sense of intimacy. On the other side of the reception, the Lacquer Chamber’s architectural panels glow with a deep glossy aubergine Chinese lacquer. The intimate setting is offset against a dramatic wall of angled blocks of solid Arabescato Orobico marble.
The hotel also features CHI, a spa with eight of the most indulgent private spa suites in Istanbul offering Asian and Turkish treatments. The hotel’s hammam facilities are extensive, catering to both private groups and individuals. Both the spa and hammam feature Turkish tiles, water features and abundant marble. A health club with sauna, Jacuzzi and steam rooms, and a heated indoor pool are also available to hotel guests.
For more information on Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul, please visit www.shangri-la.com. Rates at the hotel start from €550 (approx.. US$724) excluding breakfast and 18 percent VAT.
Press release from Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts