|Rooms in Raffles evoke their Istanbul location|
New hotels open all the time, but few of them change the accommodation landscape of their respective locations. With the opening of Raffles Istanbul in September 2014, Turkey’s largest city gained an enormously impressive new hotel offering a guest experience unlike anything else available in Istanbul, one of the world’s great metropolises. Raffles Istanbul is located not near the tourist centres of Sultanahmet or Taksim but rather in the glamorous Zorlu Center, a self-contained world of luxurious residences, offices, shopping, dining, and entertainment that is a destination unto itself. The forward thinking displayed in the construction of the multi-use complex is carried into the hotel, whose ultracontemporary style sets a new benchmark in modern elegance, noticeable immediately upon seeing the wall-sized photograph of Dolmabahçe Palace and the dervish-inspired chandelier when entering the stunning lobby.
|The debonair Tarek Mourad Raffles Istanbul GM in the beautiful lobby of his hotel|
Rooms and suites at Raffles Istanbul, as at all Raffles properties, are both large and impressive. The suites especially have the air of private apartments rather than hotel accommodation and make it very tempting to cancel any business appointments or touring plans and simply stay home and enjoy the views from the upper-floor Horizon Suites. The views span the entire Bosphorus Strait from the Black Sea to the north to the Sea of Marmara to the south. The famous Raffles butler service adds to the comfort in knowing every detail of a stay is looked after with a discerning eye to ensure perfection at every level.
Naturally, the accommodation is not the only stellar standout in terms of service. Dining experiences in Raffles Istanbul’s restaurants reveal the same excellence in attentive service. Michelin-starred Spanish chef Sergi Arola heads the team of his eponymously named Arola restaurant, where tapas and other Mediterranean delights are served by a team of adept servers intent on making the evening memorable. The restaurant Rocca is similarly enjoyable, providing a buffet of delicious food in a sublime environment.
|A swimming pool that doubles as an art installation|
One of the most impressive hotel spas in the world, Raffles Istanbul’s 3000 square-metre facility is as serenely beautiful as it is huge. The spa lobby is larger than many hotel lobbies, and the welcome there by a team led by the ethereally effervescent Asli Sakizli is typically Turkish in its graciousness. Among the many appealing treatments and therapies available here are those with application of the products of Gazelli, a company that uses a substance called white oil as a base for its products that work wonders on the skin.
For visitors seeing a need to leave the hotel or the Zorlu Center at all, there is easy access to other parts of the city via Istanbul’s extensive metro train network, though of course the hotel can arrange private cars or taxis to go anywhere in the city.