How has the hotel performed since the late spring lockdown was lifted? What are your expectations for the rest of the year?
First of all, as The Ritz Carlton Istanbul, we have attached great importance to effective communication in a way that keeps hopes alive by establishing the trust of our guests, stakeholders, including our employees, throughout the pandemic period.
I think that, 2021 will be a year in which the demand for luxury hotels in both the local and international markets will increase, in line with the new normal in our country and all over the world.
I believe that our guests will prefer us more because they will feel much more safe and special in our hotel, knowing the existence of hygiene standards combined with the experience of The Ritz Carlton.
We prepared this new normal with all our hotel management team and employees by enriching our service culture and trainings in a way that will make the sense of trust.
Beyond the pandemic, Istanbul’s luxury hotel sector had been facing several challenges which led to a drop in rates. What is your view once vaccination is widely available?
We as The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul, have never been in despair. We believe that we can start making travel plans again in a short time within the framework of the medical developments.
We think that we will continue to be “Inspired by Life’s Most Meaningful Journeys” which is our vision; we want to convey the legendary The Ritz-Carlton service concept, blended with our Turkish hospitality, presented with sincere care.
Travels in the new normal will be made in a more planned way, and one of the most important conditions for travelers will be how attentive the facilities are. We, as The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul, firmly believe that we will take the place we deserve with our service and quality difference.
With the most diverse offering of luxury hotels (brands, locations, type of guests), what are the competitive advantage of The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul?
We combine our luxury services with the magnificent view of the Bosphorus.
We would like to ensure that our guests who prefer The Ritz Carlton Istanbul, experience all the facilities and delicacies of our hotel as much as possible during their stay. In doing so, our aim was to encourage our guests to stay longer with the feeling of home comfort, while developing their hotel experience with rich accommodation packages.
We also provide The Ritz-Carlton services to people’s own places. Our new business and service model is “Destination Dining”. Our guests can receive the delicacies prepared carefully and hygienically by the kitchen of The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul, in their own venues with the privilege of the service of our hotel. In this way, our Outside Catering service was revived.
Presentation options have been expanded with new packages. For our guests who do not want to go outside, we aim to provide the same comfort of the Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul and luxury in their own home.
Your property has undergone an extensive renovation including adding new spaces such as the rooftop pool. Tell us more.
The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul has completed a multi-million hotel renewal project. The updates to the iconic Istanbul hotel include guest rooms and suites, The Ritz-Carlton Club® Lounge, and meeting and event space.
Rooms feature gold and copper hues combined with layers of colors, while wall panels feature intricate works of cobalt blue Anatolian ceramic. Luxurious velvet and silk fabrics serve as headboards in all rooms, reflecting both the air and earth in their design.
Every room is beautifully decorated with contemporary pieces from Turkish artists, including a famed artwork “At Nağme” by Süleyman Saim Tekcan, a precious representative of Turkish Gravure Art, as well as glazed replicas of ancient coins from the reign of Selim III, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
Meeting spaces were re-imagined by well-known Turkish architect, Hakan Yürüoğlu. The most dramatic redesign can be found in The Ritz-Carlton Ballroom. Here a staggered wall panelling reflects a contemporary take on Bosphorus’ waves, while a lilac colouring in the flooring and majestic crystal chandeliers take inspiration from the indigenous flowers of Istanbul.
In the summer, The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul offers an open air terrace with treatments overlooking the Bosphorus. Along with an open air spa, guests also enjoy a breathtaking infinity pool, in addition access to an indoor pool under a ceiling of twinkling lights, a soaking tub (28°C), sauna, steam room and fitness center.
During the pandemic, new properties and renovated properties seem to have an edge in terms of perception for guests – cleaners, easier to clean etc. What is your view?
It has the potential to have a huge impact. New and renovated properties is not easier to clean only, it’s also have privilege to implement social distancing and contact-free systems easily as well as the Technology.
What are the Covid safety and hygiene measures you have been implementing? How do you ensure consistency?
We did not hesitate to implement whatever it takes to make our guests feel safe. The HVAC system (heating ventilation and air conditioning) of the entire hotel has been changed, a thermal camera was installed at the hotel entrance and an X-RAY UVC system for all luggage’s and bags. 100% clean air is supplied to the HVAC units (heating ventilation and air conditioning).
All common surfaces and guest rooms are cleaning up every day with “Nano Silver Ion” technology sterilization and air disinfection system.
Ritz Carlton Hygiene Kits which including hand sanitizer, mask and gloves have been placed in all rooms. Besides there are several hygiene points throughout the Hotel.
We also have had new digital initiatives that have taken luxury to the next level. Our reception area has re-designed to provide contactless service according to the social distance rules.
Bank POS devices and WEB-based Ritz Carlton payment systems are in use so that our guests to make contactless payments. With the Ritz Carlton Mobile Check-in application, our guests were offered the opportunity to access their rooms without a key (Keyless System). Our restaurants offer QR-code menu options that can easily view on their own phones. In addition, for our guests who want to take advantage of the room service, we have the option to order via the mobile application.
Your property was among the first international luxury hotel brands to open in Istanbul. Can we speak of loyal guest or returning guests in today’s hugely competitive market?
The most important source of the outstanding service we promise to our guests at The Ritz-Carlton is the ladies and gentlemen we work with every day. The number one reason why our guests come back to our hotel is the unique personal and unforgettable experiences.
We believe that loyal employees make loyal guests. During this pandemic process, we have seen once again how much our strong corporate culture connects each other.
How has the perception of luxury changed (if in any way) when it comes to hospitality?
Luxury travel trends and the luxury traveler is changing so quickly. Their needs, their demands evolve so fast that by the time you read this, they may well have changed again. Travelers want to step out into luxury experiences now, rather than luxury itself.
We anticipate that these changes we make by combining the luxury experience with freedom, with our innovations that will add value to Turkish tourism, using smart technology, monitoring the changing needs of those who travel luxury today, will remain in our lives for a long time.
You have been welcoming a certain target segment this year – with some traditional feed markets being unable to travel to Istanbul? To what extent you have seen this as a challenge?
The Ritz Carlton Istanbul has obtained “Safe Hotel” certification issued and inspected by Turkey Government very strictly. It can be stated that Turkey is one of the strongest Country at where Safe Hotel and Safe Tourism certification process and regulative acts have been deployed and regularly inspected in great care since the beginning of pandemic.
I strongly believe on that, if Turkey Government will continue to encourage enliven of safe tourism measures seamlessly throughout Turkey and integrate this advantage with establishing safe travel corridors especially via Europe, Middle east destinations, all challenges and hesitations about travel are going to be disappeared in short run for 2021.
Nobu Restaurants are expected to open at your property February 2021. Tell us more.
Nobu will open on May 2021 and constructions in the hotel have already been started. Some brands in the world are causing people to change continents just to go to that restaurant. Therefore, it is very important for tourism cities to attract such big brands to their own regions. One of those brands is Nobu. Stepping into Istanbul in such a difficult time really excites us. It is very valuable to have two strong brands such as The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul and Nobu under the same roof, in Süzer Plaza.
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