Istanbul is an incredible city, and when searching for the best in luxury hotel properties throughout its bustling streets, look no further than the Çiragan Palace Kempinski. A historic Ottoman palace that sits serenely on the Bosporus, this stunning gem of a hotel is unlike anything else in town. Of course you can arrive to the property via road, but why do that when you can arrive by boat? I landed on a balmy February morning and was collected by a chauffeur provided by Turkish Airlines. I was driven to a small port and hopped on a private boat ride to the hotel – which is situated in the vibrant Ortäkoy neighborhood.
The sun was shining and the smiles of the staff, when I floated-up to the hotel’s waterside platform, were equally as bright. A warm cup of salep, warm milk with cinnamon and other spices greeted me. I was checked-in to my Bosporus suite, with sweeping views across the water and the Asian side of the city. The room was impressive, sumptuous and had every creature comfort you could imagine.
The Çiragan Palace is like a museum, but feels like home. I unpacked quickly and explored the hotel. 5 restaurants and bars are scattered throughout the hotel, a spa, stunning pool area and shopping. This is the perfect place to base yourself while in town, and you don’t have to worry about a thing. Not only are the staff absolutely fabulous in their commitment to serve, but you are secure and safe here as well.
The first night I was on property, I dined at Tugra Restaurant which is known for traditional Ottoman cuisine. Course after course of expertly prepared food arrived in silver and on gorgeous, locally made ceramic china. The restaurant is located on the first floor of the historic palace part of the hotel and is an absolute must for anyone staying here or even just for dinner.
I stayed at the Çiragan Palace for two nights and each night I tried to really soak in the feeling of being here. I filled my days taking early morning dips in the pool and exploring this vibrant city with the most amazing local tour company, Locally Istanbul. This company is absolutely incredible and organized a private tour experience in a luxury vehicle. Throughout the day, we visited incredible markets, art galleries, jewelry stores and shopping venues – locations you’d never find in a tour book. They really have their finger on the pulse of what’s happening in town, and they aim to show their guests a side of the city that is undiscovered.
The Çiragan Palace welcomed me back after exploring the city throughout the day. They made arrangements for a massage at night so I could unwind and then recommended a great Italian restaurant nearby for dinner.
Now is the time to visit Istanbul. With plans to open a new airport soon, Turkish Airlines can take you there from more destinations throughout the globe than any other carrier.
Head over to the Çiragan Palace and settle-in. But, one note of caution, once you’re there – you won’t want to leave.