Shangri-La Bosphorus Istanbul
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