Opened almost two decades ago, The Ritz-Carlton was among the first international luxury hotel brands to enter the bustling metropolis of Istanbul, which nowadays boasts an exceptionally competitive luxury hotel sectors, with almost all international luxury hotel brands present in the city.
From the day it opened, The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul set new standards in terms of luxury standards, becoming for many years an ‘incubator’ of talent, many of those today in middle and top management positions having earned their training with The Ritz-Carlton.
Owned by Turkish holding Süzer Group, which is active in energy, banking and real estate, The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul benefited from a long term vision, for years the hotel ranking among the top 5 luxury hotels in Istanbul, equally preferred by leisure and corporate guests but also attracting local patrons, whether for a meal, a drink or an event in the hotel’s expansive ball-room with stunning Bosphorus views.
With growing competition, ownership realised that only a major renovation can ensure a power come-back and almost US$9 million having been spent over the past two years for an in-depth renovation which included a complete overhaul of design, and key improvements such a a much brighter colour scheme and a state-of-the-art AC which is among the most quiet I have experience.
Utmost attention has been paid to comfort, the highlight being the bed, which is undoubtedly the most comfortable among all the luxury hotels in Istanbul. Satin soft linen complements a carefully studied sleep experience, one feeling the round shaped headboard, as the ultimate cocooning. Lighting and flawless soundproofing, as well as UHD SmartTv complement the experience
Portuguese designer Ana Patricia Pina undertook the interior design of the guest-rooms and suites, whilst the meeting spaces were re-imagined by well-known Turkish architect, Hakan Yürüoğlu. Under Pina’s directions, the 243 guestrooms including 23 suites have been renovated to reflect a design concept created around the Ottoman Empire and the rich culture of Istanbul.
Gold and brushed copper hues are combined with layers of colours, whilst wall panels feature intricate works of cobalt blue Anatolian ceramic, luxurious velvet and silk fabrics act as headboards in all renovated rooms, reflecting both air and earth in their design.
Each gues-troom 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. Glazed replicas of ancient coins from the reign of Selim III, the reformed-minded Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, also stand out in the guest-rooms and suites.
In addition to the guestrooms and suites, meeting facilities have also undergone a dramatic transformation to further affirm The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul’s position as a premier hotel for the most prestigious events and wedding celebrations. The most significant change is in The Ballroom. Here, staggered wall panelling reflects a contemporary take on Bosphorus’ waves, whilst a lilac colouring in the flooring and majestic crystal chandeliers are inspired by the indigenous flowers of Istanbul.
Set against the backdrop of stunning Bosphorus shores, the hotel provides a perfect blend of culture, hospitality and sophistication at the heart of the world’s crossroads between Asia and Europe. The hotel is within walking distance of many attractions and the highly experienced Concierge will fulfil all desires and wishes. Despite the shape and design of the tower building which houses the hotel, its key features are undeniable – excellent service standards, spectacular Bosphorus views and a complex dining and banqueting offering.
The hotel also features a wellness centre, featuring a rich menu of facial and total body treatments, an indoor pool and an authentic Turkish Hammam. A rarity in the city, the hotel is the only property to offer an open-air spa with treatments overlooking the Bosphorus – a glass enclosed infinity pool with dramatic views is the new highlight of the rooftop of the hotel.
The lobby Bar has been re-designed too, however, most of the lobby and reception areas are hopefully following suit as part of the extensive renovations. The lobby area is lacklustre and quite dark – probably no works have been undertaken). The present main dining venue Atelier comes in sharp contrast with all the rest of the hotel which has been extensively renovated – it will probably be re-touched.
Nevertheless, this has already been address, with a NOBU Restaurant, Lounge and Bar being under construction, and depending on the pandemic, the NOBU will open Spring 2021 – with no doubt an instant attraction. It is a novel approach for NOBU Hospitality to develop three different spaces, which will cater to a wider guest profile at different times of the day, with a more diverse dining offering.
The property has very firmly and fully implemented all measures and restrictions of local authorities and those of Marriott International to protect both staff and guess from Covid-19. Staff are widely attentive, showing care and support. The Concierge would be careful to also recommend a private airport transfer with a vehicle by a company that is fully certified. Newly appointed General Manager, Serkan Bozkurt, who had already spent over 10 years with the hotel, is perfectly equipped to lead the property through the current challenging.
Oliver Petcu in Istanbul
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