We landed at Istanbuls International Atatürk Airport and went straight to the Ciragan Palace Kempinski.
The lovely 5star luxury hotel of the Kempinski Group was formerly the palace of an Ottoman Sultan.
Nowadays it is the grand dame of Istanbuls hotel and it wows guests at every turn, from the sprawling, manicured grounds, to the heated infinity pool right on the Bosphorus, to the refined suites.
Take a look:
Entering the hotel and walking the hotel grounds immediately began to increase my serenity. I enjoyed timeless views of shipping traffic plying the Bosphorus. To the right of the hotel, ferries delivered their fares to appointments on the European side. To the left, is the Örtakoy Mosque, behind the Mosque is the iconic Bosphorus Bridge.
While walking the grounds I loved the allee of palm trees in the East Garden that silently signal prosperity. Each one was manicured with nary a cuticle of palm bark astray and lush with fertile seed pods bursting with demands for a chance at life.
Showing off the long-term outlook of the management, another allee of plantain trees was planted in the West Garden. One of the pleasures of driving up to the hotel is driving through a several block long allee of plantain trees that line the corniche road called Çirağan Caddesi. Currently, this garden allee of plaintains in between the hotel and the Bosphorus was merely at the adolescent stage.
The dining options and especially the restaurant Tugra is exceptional; the spa is lovely.
I went down to the Onacua spa and enjoyed my hammam in the Çirağan Palace-style, an experience which was a incredible Ottoman gift. It’s arguably the city’s top luxury option, but it’s far from the popular tourist sights in Sultanahmet.
You should stroll around an take a look at the fantastic Haghia Sophia.
Our restaurant tip: “Gaja”
Located on the 14th floor of the Swissôtel, the “Gaja” restaurant attracts with great food.
The interior is modern, stylish with soft blue tones that reflect the hues of the river itself.
Michelin-starred Chef de Cuisine, James Wilkins, produces contemporary world cuisine with unique flavors. Wilkins’s best are his desserts, refreshing lemongrass and ginger sorbet to mouthwatering caramelized banana and cinnamon tart with caramel ice cream. Each course of the taster menu is complemented by a selection of fine Turkish wines. They are really good. Surprise.
Finally the place offers stunning views of the Bosphorus.
I will come back.