Shangri-La Bospho­rus Is­tan­bul

Business Traveler (USA) - - TRIED AND TESTED -

BACK­GROUND Shangri-La opened its first ho­tel along the bustling Bospho­rus in 2013 to great ac­claim com­plet­ing a tri­umvi­rate of grand ho­tels on the wa­ter. How­ever, ShangriLa’s up front wa­ter views are among the finest; guests lit­er­ally peer over the shore­line and the ac­tive ferry ter­mi­nal.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? With only 186 rooms and suites, this ho­tel is in­ti­mate yet ameni­tyrich, cater­ing to both the busi­ness and leisure trav­eler with­out mak­ing ei­ther feel over­looked. Guests en­ter the gold-en­sconced lobby to a flurry of wel­comes from the friendly staff that is flu­ent in English. Plush seat­ing abounds al­though you are whisked away to an in-room check-in, se­lect to the ho­tel’s brand. In tra­di­tional Shangri-La fash­ion, the ser­vice is im­pec­ca­ble with Asian pre­ci­sion but Euro­pean warmth. Fur­ther in­side the lobby is a deca­dent, three­story chan­de­lier that dan­gles

down the atrium to the meet­ing floors and restau­rant en­trances.

WHERE IS IT? On the banks of the Bospho­rus, this ho­tel is, in fact, the city’s ab­so­lute best for views since 60 per­cent of rooms hold views of the wa­ter (a feat no other ho­tel on the wa­ter’s edge can claim). It’s also ad­ja­cent to the trendy Or­takoy neigh­bor­hood and next door to the Dolmabahce Palace. Is­tan­bul traf­fic is no­to­ri­ously hor­ren­dous, which is why a cen­tral lo­ca­tion is im­per­a­tive in this his­toric city.

ROOM FA­CIL­I­TIES While most rooms have wa­ter views, even those that don’t sur­vey the ac­tive city front, which is equally en­ter­tain­ing. Only a small sub­set of rooms faces the in­te­rior court­yard; these are the qui­etest rooms, but most guests pre­fer the Bospho­rus scenery. Com­pli­men­tary wire­less and wired In­ter­net is avail­able for busi­ness trav­el­ers from the spa­cious work desks, and rooms also fea­ture easy­ac­cess power out­lets, speaker phones, com­pli­men­tary bot­tled wa­ter, espresso ma­chines, tea mak­ers, and large flat-screen ca­ble TVs. Bath­rooms sport black mar­ble and mas­sive mir­rors, also with their own built-in TVs. Rooms on the fifth floor are no­to­ri­ous for Is­tan­bul’s most up-close and per­sonal Bospho­rus-view bal­conies, and the ho­tel’s suites are known to wel­come royalty and celebrity to their mas­sive bed­room, din­ing room and liv­ing room palaces. RESTAURANTS AND BARS Shangri-La reg­u­lars will feel wel­come at the sig­na­ture Shang Palace restau­rant serv­ing tra­di­tional Chi­nese in an el­e­gant yet un­pre­ten­tious en­vi­ron­ment. More con­ti­nen­tal fare is served buf­fet-style at break­fast and a la carte through­out the day at IST TOO. Staffers are as wel­com­ing as fam­ily, and they of­ten cir­cle at break­fast with trays of steam­ing pide (Turk­ish pizza). My per­sonal fa­vorites from the ex­ten­sive buf­fet were the grilled hal­loumi cheese and Turk­ish Men­e­men (an egg, cheese and pep­per dish). Room ser­vice is al­ways an op­tion, and fresh fruit bowls and Turk­ish De­light plat­ters are won­der­ful in-room wel­comes.

BUSI­NESS AND MEET­ING

FA­CIL­I­TIES The ho­tel has am­ple meet­ing space, split across var­i­ous lev­els be­low the lobby. Two large ball­rooms can host as many 750 people with the lat­est au­dio­vi­sual ca­pa­bil­i­ties, free wire­less In­ter­net and a si­mul­ta­ne­ous trans­la­tion sys­tem.

LEISURE FA­CIL­I­TIES CHI Spa is the pri­mary place for in­dul­gence with an Asian in­spi­ra­tion on mas­sage and beauty treat­ments. The spa has a spe­cial­ized au­then­tic Turk­ish ham­mam treat­ment. A 24-hour gym and in­door swim­ming pool are also on hand to stay fit.

VER­DICT This property is one of Is­tan­bul’s Bospho­rus stars and out­shines its neigh­bors for its ser­vice and top-notch wa­ter­front views.You can­not get any closer to the wa­ter than this ho­tel, and the im­pec­ca­ble Asian-in­spired ser­vice is a lux­ury worth pay­ing for on ei­ther a busi­ness or leisure stay. BT

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