If there is one thing the Shangri-La brand does best, it exudes world class luxury and opulence in any destination they have a presence. Istanbul is no exception. The first thing I always do when looking for accommodations in a new city is a search for “Top Luxury Hotels in X Destination” and by no surprised I was presented with the Shangri-La Bosphorus property for my travels to Istanbul.
Located in the history rich narrows of the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul, this stunning Shangri-La is truly a work of art. Upon entry into the hotel you are immediately astounded by the luxurious design. Draped in chandeliers and sophisticated furnishings, it was an interior designers dream! As we walked up to the check in counter on arrival, we were greeted several times by the lovely staff. Everyone was exceptionally warm and welcoming and made it a point to personally wish us a lovely stay.
After a quick check in, we were escorted to our lovely suite that we would call home for the next few nights. The room was very inviting and brightly lit with the natural sunlight. It was charmingly decorated with a soft neutral palette and the elegance from the lobby certainly carried into the design. I was pleasantly welcomed with a lovely package of La Prairie products (my favourite!) and quickly settled into the pampered stay! (check out a room tour and highlights from my stay here)
The hotel is well located in the financial and entertainment district of Istanbul, right next to the Dolmabahçe Palace. Each of the rooms have views of the Bosphrous, which is the dividing water between Asia and Europe. The area is rich with history and exuding with the vibrant Turkish culture. As soon as you exit the hotel you can see local fisherman catching sardines right outside the door!
It was a quick (relative to the traffic situation) drive to the Sultanahmet area where you will find many of the main attractions of Istanbul including the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Cistern to name a few. I was very happy with the location and we often walked along the strait to enjoy the bustling city atmosphere and dine at the local restaurants.
There are a lot of great amenities on site at the Shangri-La Bospherous all catering to a lovely stay. They have a full Hamam Spa offering traditional Turkish baths (a MUST do while visiting Turkey) along with other amazing treatments. Their lovely indoor pool is welcoming and beautifully painted as if you are staring out into the Aegean sea from the South. Each night after a day of exploring, we would make our way down to the spa and enjoy a nice hot bath to relax after a long day.
In addition to the lovely spa, the gym next to it was very spacious and contained every piece of equipment you can imagine. It even included a private room for reformer pilates and being my workout of choice at home, it was amazing to have access to during my stay.
With several dining options on site, it was great to be able to try a few. The breakfast buffet in the AM offered a full spread of delicious options including both traditional Turkish cuisine and Asian inspired options. We made sure to eat at the signature Asian restaurant, Shang Palace and as expected the meal was top notch.
In addition to the dinners, we also made sure to attend one of their famously themed tea parties. The theme for May was Star Wars (we think because of the coined phrase “May the Fourth be with you”) and it was spectacular. Kudos to the pastry chef for his exceptional creativity when designing the menu. Each snack and desert was created to look like a character from the Star Wars movie and the intricate detail was unbelievably impressive!
The Shangri-La Bosphrous was a memorable experience and truly set the tone for the incredible week spent in Turkey. I was blown away by my time spent in this country and highly recommend that everyone visit Turkey one day. It is a country full of amazing people, rich culture and striking natural beauty. Following Istanbul, my journey carried onto Cappadocia and it summed up to be one of my most unforgettable trips. Stayed turned for more travel to Turkey because I will absolutely be returning in the near future!
Thank you Shangri-La for the most wonderful experience in beautiful Istanbul!