Located in the central Beşiktaş district and housed within ZORLU a new-built upscale mixed-use complex Zorlu, Raffles Istanbul boasts views of the Bosphorus Strait and is only within 4 km from bustling Taksim Square and 6 km from the iconic Dolmabahçe Palace. Zorlu Centre includes a luxury shopping mall, offices, luxury residences spread over three tower buildings and Zorlu PSM, the largest performing arts center in the country. From opening, the hotel equally attracted an ideal blend of corporate and leisure target guests.
The shopping mall includes over 200 stores, 40 cafés and restaurants It contains stores of luxury brands such as: Moncler, Bulgari, Dolce&Gabbana, Emporio Armani, Pomellato, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Lanvin, Dior, Miu Miu, Burberry, Tory Burch, Michael Kors and Valentino. Luxury department store Beymen covers over 10,000 square metres (110,000 sq ft) featuring many top international luxury brands. Zorlu also contains numerous international restaurants and cafés, such as Eataly, Jamie’s Italian, Tom’s Kitchen and Morini under chef Michael White.
Featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and spacious balconies, Raffles Istanbul boasts some of the largest accommodations in Istanbul, including all-marble bathrooms with abundant natural light, underfloor heating a free-standing bathtub and a high water pressure showers. There are separate vanities for him and her and all accommodations feature generous wardrobe space. Beds are heavenly comfortable, making one sleep at least one hour more, and another hour to lounge in bed.
Butler service is available for all room and suites, with a team which has been excelling at customer service, exceeding expectations of even the most discerning and demanding guests. Throughout the entire hotel, you will be blown away by the incredible hospitality of all the staff, who take genuine pleasure in serving – dedicated, passionate, knowledgeable and humble.
The exceptionally high service standards are most importantly consistent – and most certainly a key motivating factor for returning guests, which account for over 50% of all guests. While the hotel has implemented a most comprehensive array of safety & hygiene measures to fight Covid-10 and protect both staff and guests, the hotel felt extremely safe, with staff showing utmost confidence and firmness, conveying the same feel to the guests.
The hotel is certified with both the #ALLsafe label developed by Accor & Bureau Veritas, and with the Safe Tourism certification implemented by the Turkish Government, which adds a series of very strict measures, including weekly and monthly inspections including mystery inspections.
The interiors have subtle cues of Istanbul and Turkish inspiration as well as decor objects including actual objects or decor elements but also a traditional mix of colours. The lobby is utterly majestic, overtly celebrating the grandeur of Istanbul, one of the largest metropolis of the world. The lobby bar and the Long Bar (an iconic venue of Raffles Hotels) are favourites with locals too, creating an ideal mix of guests. The large bronze sculpture is by Atlanta-based Martin Dawe, and the colourful wall mural depicting the Dolmabahçe Palace is by French artist Jean-François Rauzier.
With the Zorlu Mall directly accessible from the hotel lobby and the extensive wellness offering, guests may effortlessly feel an entire day within the hotel and the complex, in utmost safety. The hotel pays utmost attention to ensure the maximum safety of guests, being very keen to make private arrangements with certified chauffeur driven car – private shopping or sightseeing. Most guest are proactively approached to provide private airport transfers, thus, guest avoiding a random taxi or ride-share car.
The hotel’s wellness includes two swimming pools (one indoor and one outdoor), 3 Turkish hammams, 2 couples’ suites and no less than 7 luxuriously appointed treatment rooms. Facilities also include a yoga and pilates studio, personal training, a gym with Technogym equipment, and a hair and nail salon for ladies. At the time of my stay, the hotel had just launched a men’s dedicated grooming salon.
Beyond the exceptional reputation which Raffles Istanbul has built since the day it opened, the luxury hotel has always impressed luxury hospitality professionals, ranking among the top three luxury hotels in Istanbul’s very crowded and hugely competitive luxury sector. The hotel has been exceeding expectations even during the pandemic, re-opening in August 2020 and already registering an average occupancy of above 60-70%. The guest mix included foreign travellers up to half of the occupancy.
Oliver Petcu in Istanbul
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